1:23 PMManningham Council not helping small business at Warrandyte
Manningham council has tried to convince businesses in Warrandyte that they have the business 'savvy' to bring them together and assist them promote their businesses. They promise that business turnover will improve as a result of Manningham Council's involvement.
Manningham Council runs programs similar in most shopping centers. Basically Manningham Council puts forward the idea that the shops pay the council an amount of money and the council hires a marketing manager who will spend his time promoting and advertising the businesses in the shopping center. The council calls this money a 'Special Charge Scheme'.
It sounds like a good idea, but it is hotly resisted by many business owners. Many owners think they they are best able to promote and advertise their own businesses themselves.
The assumption behind Manningham Council's program is that they know how to promote small business and increase business opportunity. In fact, they require businesses to prepare a plan, a budget and so on and the Council approves these. Also the businesses are not able to spend any of their OWN money collected by the special charge scheme unless the Council approves of the expenditure.
Manningham Council tightly controls the money and the strategy for the promotion of business activity and opportunity.
The question is, has Manningham Council demonstrated they have the 'business savvy' to support what they are doing and promote and grow businesses.
The answer is no, not really.
It is no because, as they have clearly stated in their minutes of meetings, that only part of the money collected by these special charge schemes is actually spent on promoting the businesses. The balance of the money goes toward paying for infrastructure, repairs and developments at the shopping centers that otherwise the council would normally pay for.
Essentially a portion of the money collected under these special charge schemes is a 'tax' that the council uses to pay for things that the council would otherwise pay for. This can be clearly seen (and quotes from council minutes are provided) in the articles on this website about the renewal of the special charge scheme at Templestowe Village.
This is, off course, something that really annoys many small business owners who operate in these shopping centers. The council really appears to have another motive behind what they are proposing and many people can see it.
The answer to this question is no because the council doesn't really have the business savvy to promote small businesses.
This can be seen in the decisions they make.
For example, look at this article taken from the Manningham Leader dated 27 Feb 2017. It had the title "Parking Spot Woe Hits Traders". (I was unable to fit in all the title and pictures but all the text is shown below.)
We see here, just after Manningham council tried to renew the Special Charge Scheme for shops in Warrandyte, that Manningham Council does not understand one the main drivers of small business at Warrandyte.
It comes down to parking places. Simply put, if people cannot park their cars along the main street in Warrandyte, they drive on and take their business to the next set of shops down the road or even to the next town.
Manningham Council actually REDUCED the number of parking places right in front of these businesses and thought little or nothing of it. The shop owners knew what it meant – a reduction in trade.
Manningham Council appears to be driven by ideology and at times can be said to be removed from the real world. The council has this strong dislike for cars because they think cars are destroying the environment. In other parts of Manningham, the council deliberately reduce the number of parking spaces in the hope that this will drive people to use public transport.
It can be said that at times Manningham Council lives in an alternate reality. The way they see things is not the way things are. The former president of the USA, Ronald Reagan said of ideologically driven people like this 'They know so much that isn't so.'
Public transport has it's place but it cannot substitute for private transport. May I demonstrate with a few examples.
When I go to buy a new lawn mower, do I bring it home on public transport?
When I need to get my chainsaw fixed, do I carry it onto the bus?
Manningham Council believe they know how to promote business but have demonstrated they are unaware of essential ingredients in what makes a business work.
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