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12 Dec 2019

The UK general election is happening today on the 12th December 2019.

5 Dec 2019

The ActSmart office will be open as usual (9am-5:15pm) for the majority of the Christmas period

5 Dec 2019

A christmas advert made by an independent hardware shop has become exceedingly popular across the UK within a matter of days

25 Nov 2019

IRC member ACS is calling on convenience store retailers to share their experiences of retail crime over the last 12 months in their 2020 Crime Survey.

20 Nov 2019

Indie Retail UK has launched a new campaign that celebrates all the hard work and creativity that independent retailers put into creating their shop window displays.

18 Nov 2019

The Conservative Party proposes to provide a business rates discount for retailers

15 Nov 2019

ACS has briefed all prospective parliamentary candidates on the policy issues that affect local shops

13 Nov 2019

The 5 main asks for the next government to encourage walking and cycling

12 Nov 2019

Sarah Graham, owner of Arragon's Cycles has spoken out about how the competition has affected their business and how they continuously strive for greatness.

12 Nov 2019

A recent story published on BBC news shows how a popular finance provider misled a 21-year-old student which ended in her...

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GoFundMy Business: The Cash-Strapped Small Business solution?

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News

GoFundMe is a crowdfunding website that aims to harness the power of social networking platforms and the internet to give people the means to raise funds, help others overcome hardship, and meet aspirational goals. It is generally known as a way to raise money for high medical bills, funeral costs or natural disaster relief.

However, according to the GoFundMe Chief Executive Rob Solomon, the crowdfunding website has recently been used as a method for small businesses to raise funds that are cash-strapped and struggling. So far campaigns for small businesses have opened across 19 countries, ranging from comic-book shops to drive-in movie theatres.

The crowdfunding website was a great success for Nicky Perry, a small business owner who owns the restaurant Tea & Sympathy and the fish-and-chip shop A Salt & Battery in Greenwich Village. She started the funding because of high rent costs "We just couldn't pay the rent," Ms. Perry said. "The rent is so astronomical."

Ms. Perry said that she had previously tried extensive ways to cut costs, including changing payroll companies, reducing head count and redesigning its menu. The reaction to her fundraiser has been overwhelmingly positive, with loyal customers stopping by the shop more often and neighbours offering to help out by working for free.

Her campaign has so far raised nearly $52,000 toward its $100,000 goal. She has said that she would consider turning to GoFundMe again in the future should the need arise again.

While there have been multiple case studies of this being an effective method for businesses to raise money and has even kept many businesses alive, not all reactions have been positive. 

One comment on The Wall Street Journal said "I don't believe that businesses seeking charity are operating as legitimate businesses.", while another explained their beliefs by saying "The contradiction between feel good funding and feel good regulatory burden is inadequately elucidated."

Similar campaigns have been used for struggling businesses that need help but don't feel comfortable asking customers for donations. Chris Doeblin, owner of an independent bookshop in Manhattan, has recently started a community lending program after competition from Amazon, rising rents, the increasing minimum wage and an inability to borrow money pushed him to the brink of closing.

Mr. Doeblin has raised $600,000, which he plans to repay within five years at 4% interest, which is a far lower rate than he could get elsewhere. The support he has received from loyal customers will help him stock up for the busy Christmas season.

"People are recognizing that there's a big downside to Amazon and buying things online," he said. "I hope it's not too late."

Initiatives such as the Indie Retail Best Small Shops competition help to bring more attention to independent retailers and highlight the central role that they play in building local communities. As this awareness increases more positive articles have begun to emerge, such as recent evidence showing that the 'death of the high street' may be overstated.

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