I’m using this month’s Rockhoppers not to promote the wonderful South West, nor to update you on the shop or our product lines. No – nothing that upbeat. I’m using it to RANT*. Hope that’s OK? If you’re not up for a RANT today, no worries – come back and read the entry another day… Maybe when you’re feeling a little bit RANTY yourself.
Now, I know banks are an easy target for RANTS from, well, pretty much everyone these days, and far be it from me to jump on an easy bandwagon, but I’ve got my own particular gripe with banks and that is: their approach to businesses and how they treat their business customers. I think my bugbear is best summed up by the following scenario. I’m contemplating changing our business account (for long and boring reasons, but mainly because I’m fed up with paying oodles of fees for, y’know, just using the actual account. Apparently, doing anything other than leaving your cash in the account to snooze for years on end attracts some sort of fee…); anyhoo, I was browsing a few websites, and I came across the website of a large high street lender, let’s call them Cat Best. On Cat Best’s business banking home page there is a drop down menu titled “Choose type of business”, and the options are as follows:
- Start Up
- Turnover Up to £2 million
- Turnover £2 million or over
Now, my message to Cat Best and every other frigging bank in this country is as follows:
Isn’t categorising businesses into EITHER start ups OR turnover up to £2 million OR over a little… well… broad?!?! I appreciate “Up to £2 million” covers a whole host of turnovers – £2000 per year, £20,000 per year or £200,000 per year, but it’s the insinuation that you are either a start up (and are therefore titchy tiny small at the moment but with the right nurturing from a wizzy jolly bank you’ll be well on your way to your first million before you can say “fee free banking”…) or you are already aiming towards that Holy Grail of £2 million. Well done you.
Now, I don’t think I’m giving away too much about our business finances when I say that Rockpool will not be cracking open the champagne to celebrate hitting the £2 million mark any time soon (or, indeed, ever). We are, in the most literal sense, a small business. We’ve grown since we began but we are still small and shall probably remain relatively small for the majority of our business life. That’s not negative or unambitious – it’s simply the truth. Lumping us in with the “approaching-£2-million” brigade is frustrating as we seldom seem to get deals with cater for us, and we suffer being compared to businesses so fundamentally different from ourselves. We deal with local suppliers and sell handmade pieces – nothing we sell is mass produced, so we do not benefit from economies of scale. We are a tiny fish in the very big ocean of retail.
BUT WE LOVE THAT!! We love that we’re personal, individual and unusual – we don’t deal in large numbers or big volumes. We are, in all respects, small, and we celebrate our littlness! It would just be nice if the banks realised that we’re not all start ups or millionnaires – somewhere in the middle are thousands of small independent businesses like us who are pootling along, providing great choice and service for our customers and giving the market a bit of personality.
But unfortunately you never see that in a drop down menu do you?
Anyway, RANT over. As you were.
*The word RANT should always be in capitals. It looks too quiet and wimpey in lower case. rant…. meh….