Last Thursday we welcomed an eager bunch of earlybird £B business members to City Hall for our latest Breakfast Forum. Greeted by hot coffee, croissants and the boundless energy of our Managing Director Diana Finch, we spent 90 minutes talking, listening and getting inspired.
“Bristol Pound is *for* independents – that’s why we exist” – Ian Madle, £B Membership Manager
With 650 business members and rising, Bristol Pound is *for* independents, Membership Manager Ian said in his welcome to the room. He encouraged people to seek ways to benefit from the network that’s grown up around the scheme, and Communications Manager Laura invited everyone to make use of £B’s substantial online following by emailing in any offers, photos, stories or news for consideration.
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Diana talked about creating a closed loop economy with money circulating around the city, reminding people that customers asking to use Bristol Pounds should be treated as VIPs – they’re telling openly you that they specifically want to support independent businesses like yours!
We want new signups, of course, but the most important thing is that Bristol Pounds move, she said. Business to business trade is a massive part of that, and guest speaker Nigel Dyke, Director of Alec French Architects, happily explained how a business with 30 employees and £2 million turnover was able to run using £B.
“You can run a business using Bristol Pound relatively easily. It’s a mistake to think £B is a niche thing…scaling is possible” – Nigel Dyke, Director – Alec French Architects
Seeing participation in the scheme as a commitment to the city, Alec French decided to be innovative rather than conventional with their approach, going through their list of suppliers and insisting they accept £B or be replaced. They use Bristol Pounds to pay for their office space, cleaners, business rates, stationery, fruit and vegetables…the list goes on. Taking on a new supplier takes a little more effort, Nigel said, but isn’t difficult – they simply use the Bristol Pound directory to find independent businesses already in the network, or request those who aren’t join up to the scheme.
Now the big BCC project is finished, Alec French maintain their commitment to Bristol independence by actively converting sterling into Bristol Pounds to pay their suppliers. Nigel closed by saying they’re always looking for opportunities to spend £B with local businesses to supply services. Why not get in touch if you have something to offer?
It was great to hear how other business owners are integrating Bristol Pound into their daily lives, and some helpful suggestions were made. Have you thought about adding “We accept Bristol Pounds” to the bottom of your invoices, or your email signature?
Thank you to everyone who came along! If you’d like to receive information about the next Breakfast Forum, please email us at [email protected]