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Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Is shopper hypocrisy costing small firms business?

10 December 2019

New research has found that many UK shoppers don't put their money where their mouth is when it comes to supporting small firms and independent shops.

Despite demonstrating clear support for small businesses, the research proves that when it comes to the crunch consumers will buy from a big chain if a product is cheaper.

The study, conducted by Iwoca, saw 600 people being given a collection of news stories to read in which local businesses were reported to be struggling or succeeding. However, half the time they were national chains, while the other half were small firms. In all other respects the stories were identical.

The results showed that there was clear consumer preference for small businesses over multi-nationals. People showed 21% more sympathy towards struggling small businesses and felt 19% more positivity when reading about their successes.

However, when Iwoca "stress tested" people's support of small businesses, with a like-for-like purchasing decision, most were willing to turn their backs on them if they could save as little as £1 by buying from a large company instead.

The results suggest that small businesses could risk losing almost half (48%) of their customers if their prices are just 10% higher than larger competitors.

The fictitious stories shown to shoppers included negative scenarios where businesses were closing down as well as good news stories. Those taking the test were not aware that they had been randomly shown the small or big business version of the stories.

Test subjects were asked to imagine that the stories related to their local community and to rate how each one made them feel. Across seven news stories, they reported their levels of sympathy, positivity, disappointment and respect.

People showed significantly more emotional support for small businesses in six of the seven news scenarios tested. They felt more positive when small businesses did well and were more sympathetic and disappointed when they struggled.

When given the choice of buying the same product from a small local business or a large national retailer, with both stores equally easy to buy from, 72% chose the small business. However, when the product was just £1 more expensive at the small business, the majority (68%) chose the large retailer instead. And when the price was £5 higher at the small business, only one in six people chose the independent retailer.

Written by Rachel Miller.