The Trials and Tribulations of Business Rates

Having a shop is lots of fun, and every day is exciting. I think about the shop just about every second of every day, and most nights I dream about it in some form. I even had a biblical vision about the shop. I bloody love it so much.
But…it is also quite frustrating! Due to the nature of our business, and the fact that we are still in the very early stages, there are so many issues that constantly need to be fought or sorted out. Every day brings a new obstacle or mini battle. So for your enjoyment pleasure, here is a list of some of our current woes:

1 – The main frustration of all is bloody business rates – a frustration I imagine most business owners will relate to. Of course its not that I resent paying the rates at all, its just that a) I resent the amount we supposedly have to pay and b) I resent the fact that I have been trying to get my business rates sorted out since October 2014 and it has still not happened. There are weird issues with our unit as it was temporarily doubled in size by some furniture selling cowboys (who didn’t even pay their business rates or utility bills). When we moved in, the entrance to the other unit was blocked off and the one unit became 2 again. This is a fact that it seems the MCC business rates team just can’t seem to handle. To make the situation even more frustrating is that, due to all the cuts to MCC’s budget I would imagine, you can’t actually phone someone in the business rates team – you have to send an email and wait 14 working days for a reponse. I look forward to that court summons so that I can show them the list of unreplied to emails that I have sent.

2 – There are currently 72 traders selling their wares in the CAMhub which is a lot of people to deal with and a lot of characters to keep happy! This not easy at times. My primary goal with the shop is for it to benefit everyone, but I know that these things don’t happen instantly. As I have had to point out to people recently, if it was really easy to put your work in a shop and make a grand overnight, then everyone in the world would be doing it. Nothing good ever comes easy and patience and perserverence does pay off. In my recent experience, it does seem that a lot of people are very quick to give up on things without giving it a proper chance (my Luddite soul attributes this to the rapid pace of social media etc which makes everyone think that everything should happen instantly).

3 – Money is an issue. A very big issue. Sometimes it worries me a lot. And sometimes I feel just about ok about it. I guess this makes me exactly the same as everyone else. But to make this shop work, we need to generate a HUGE amount of money just to cover the essentials, before we can even think about money for ourselves. And there are so many things to think of! The sleepless nights are exacerbated by the fact that the business rates still aren’t sorted and I just want, as I have done for the past 5 months, to get it all straight. All I have ever wanted to do is to just get everything sorted and ‘proper’ but it is made very hard for you to do things the right way.

Anyway…despite my little rant here and my variying levels of daily stress, I am truly happy to have a shop. If I’m being totally honest, I’m beyond happy about it for it is my biggest dream come true. It is a pleasure to go to the CAMhub every day and be surrounded by such beautiful things. And I don’t want it to be easy and straightforward, because, as I have said, nothing worth having ever comes without the hard work. I want to make the inevitable mistakes so that I know not to repeat them and I want to continue learning new things every day to make the shop the very best it can be. And, as I have always said, I know this shop will work out long term and will benefit a huge amount of local people – it will just take a lot more work, which I am very excited about. So many exciting plans on the horizon for the CAMhub!