Christmas sales across the UK seem to have been better than feared though the doom merchants were quick to respond with dire predictions for 2012.
We all chew over these headline figures while being fully aware that there’s not a lot we can do about them.
But at the other end of the spectrum, in our own back yards, we can make a difference. Supporting our local business communities is ultimately in our own interest.
Most people I know are delighted to ‘put their business locally’ – wherever possible. But where do they draw the line? Charity may start at home but businesses aren’t charities and must get the best deals they possibly can if they are to remain competitive themselves.
In practice, using local suppliers can require a lot of negotiating to get a deal that works for both parties. And people only have so much time.
Networking plays a key role here and organisations such as Caerphilly Business Forum often provide the introductions and recommendations that lead to successful business partnerships.
But when it comes to major projects, the communities themselves often miss out as big businesses, enjoying great economy of scale, win the contracts and bring in their own workforces, leaving perhaps a few crumbs for local contractors.
These are often government funded projects, of course, so it was a problem we brought to the attention of our elected representatives and other decision makers last year after our members identified the issue.
While I’m sure businesses in Caerphilly will continue to support each other wherever possible and CBF will continue to play its part, we’ll also be looking to our governments to find the solutions we need to ensure local businesses benefit to the full from larger projects.
Yes, charity may begin at home but so too does good business sense.
Chairman, Caerphilly Business Forum
For more information about Caerphilly Business Forum and its events call 029 2125 1395 or email Natalie@cbforum.co.uk