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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

The Friendliest Shops On The High Street


Brits consider hairdressers to be the friendliest small businesses on the high street, along with coffee shops, corner shops and newsagents.


A survey of 2,000 UK adults also found 35 per cent consider at least one independent shop owner as a pal. The local pub, fish and chip shop, restaurant and butcher also made it into the top 10.


Half of respondents claim to be able to speak to people who work on the high street about something personal, with hairdressers, beauty salons and bar staff topping the list of employees people feel able to trust.


And 23 per cent of those who trust these people would confide in them more than their neighbours and 21 per cent more than their partner.


But conversations with high street businesses have changed a lot over the past year, with 36 per cent talking more about energy prices than before the recent crisis. And 22 per cent have these discussions with local firms at least once a week.


Rising Costs Occupy Majority Of Current Conversations

Rising costs (40 per cent) and soaring energy prices (40 per cent) come up in conversation more frequently than holiday plans (37 per cent), nights out (nine per cent) and relationship woes (seven per cent).


A further 30 per cent said they had never discussed energy with local business owners before the cost-of-living crisis, but now it’s the topic they discuss the most.


Victoria Bacon, director of Smart Energy GB, which commissioned the research, said: “We know how important local businesses are to communities up and down the country, and that the energy crisis is affecting them, as well as households.


“Even small things can save a company money in the long run, whether it’s turning off appliances at the wall when they’re not in use, or getting a smart meter installed for your business."


And when it comes to advice, 55 per cent say that they’ve been offered helpful tips on at least one area of life when talking to people who work in local businesses.


With 12 per cent saying it’s their hairdresser who has been the most useful with their wise words.


In a separate survey of 500 SMEs, more than 89 per cent feel they have done as much as they can to reduce their energy costs. While 76 per cent said they would welcome more advice and support on how to reduce their bills.


But, of those who regularly interact with their customers, 75 per cent have seen them become increasingly anxious about their budgets when spending with their business and 28 per cent think they are visiting less as a result, according to the stats by OnePoll.


The data from smart meters has helped to manage energy usage and bills

However, while half of local business owners were aware of smart meters as a useful tool for monitoring how much power they use at home, 58 per cent are know they could also be used by small businesses to help keep on top of energy costs at work.


And 41 per cent of those who have a smart meter at home and work said the data they get from it has helped them to better control their energy usage and bills, while 35 per cent said it was useful for planning their future cashflow.


Smart Energy GB has produced a new Smart Meters for Small Businesses guide which is available today.


Victoria Bacon added: “Small business owners are working really hard to manage energy costs. Something they can also do both at home and at work, for many at no extra cost, is get a smart meter installed, which can give them visibility and control over their energy use. This means they know what they are spending on their energy before they receive their bill, which can help with financial planning and cashflow."


“To find out if your business is eligible for a smart meter, contact your energy supplier.”

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