Small businesses

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There is a general decline in small businesses in St. Ives and throughout the country, this is due to things like the power of branding, improved transport, modern shopping habits and cheaper prices due to economies of scale (See explanation later on). Bonnets the Bakers has continued to survive but why? Is it because customers have other reasons to visit each shop, for example better customer service other than price? Could it be because larger businesses suffer from diseconomies of scale (See later explanation) more then we assume? I will try to find evidence to prove or disprove these questions or alternatively find another explanation.

It is difficult to define what a small business is, it can be measured by a lot of things such as number of workers, size of premise and number of customers. Bonnets the Bakers is a SME (Small to Medium Enterprise). This means they have less than 200 workers. They produce bakery goods such as sausage rolls and loaves of bread they also have a takeaway facility and a restaurant aswell as the retailing facility, this means they are in the secondary and tertiary industry, the secondary industry is manufacturing, using raw materials to manufacture bakery goods.

Tertiary sector is services such as its restaurant and its take away facilities. Bonnets is situated in the centre of St. Ives, about 20 metres from Bakers Oven. Bonnets is situated near a Butchers, another traditional shop. Could this be an important factor for customers who shop at more traditional shops? Bonnets is a private limited company, its shareholders are family and friends of the company. There are about 8 branches around the Huntingdon area this could classify as a small business.

Bonnets the Bakers were first set up in 1803 the business has passed through many generations, so it is very familiar to the people of St Ives. Baker’s Oven also produces bakery product and has restaurant and take away facilities. It is a part of a business called Gregg’s plc. A public limited company allows its shares to be traded freely on the stock market. There is hundreds of outlets nation wide and Bakers Oven has been set up for 30 years. I am trying to find out why Bonnet the Bakers still manages to survive when there is a Bakers oven located near the outlet.

Methodology I used primary data in my investigation, which included observations of the two shops, questionnaires for the customers of the shops and interviews with Mr Bonnet and a manager from The Bakers Oven. This was a good way of collecting data because I would not have found out this information about these outlets in textbooks because it’s specific to the business. Questionnaire I used a questionnaire to collect the views of the customers whether they think prices are cheaper in a particular shop and whether they are might be two different things.

I could also find out what type of customer’s use the shops. We know that for any business to survive they must have customers so we need to find out what they think. Here is my questionnaire I used. 1. Gender? Male Female I didn’t really need to ask this question because I could fill this in myself and it might not have an impact on my results. 2. Age range? 0-20 21-45 46+ This question was important. It would show what type of people use each shop, each age group preference and which shops are exploiting each market. 3. Which shop do you use?

Bonnets Bakers Oven This shows how many customers each shop has, this is important because for example if half the people where over 46 and half the people used Bonnets this could suggest that older people use Bonnets rather than Bakers Oven. 4. Which one do you prefer, why? I should have just asked why they use the shop, this would show what the customers like about the shop or shops they use. 5. What do you like about them/it? There was no need to ask this question because people have already answered it in question number 4.

Observation of the shops I would do this to see the layout of the shops, the image of the shop and if they present their goods effectively. We could observe they way they serve customers for example how friendly they are towards there customers. Interview with Mr. Bonnet This would give me some valuable information that I wouldn’t be able to find out any other way, for example staff turn over or average customer exspenditure. I asked Mr. Bonnet several questions and they fitted into these categories. His employees involved with the business

The history and the future of the business The products and services available at Bonnets The market and competition effecting bonnet the Bakers Interview with Miss Miles We sent off a letter to Miss Miles, as we would have not been able to ask her questions in person. Again this is a good way of finding out particular information, but we could not find out some information about our particular branch such as profits and costs. These are the general topics we asked her about. The Bakers Oven customer expenditure The legal identity of the business

Products and services the business has available Taste testing I am going to taste the same type of product from each shop, and judge them on factors such as warmth, moistness, amount of meat and pastry and the texture of the product. This would show me which outlets had the higher quality of produce. Price comparison I will take five similar products from each shop and compare their prices. I could use this information with my results to my questionnaire to find out if customers think the price is higher in a certain shop, but in fact it actually could be lower.

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