A recent report (Co-operative Streets report) reveals the UK is less than half as neighbourly as it was three decades ago with 49% of Brits saying people know more about their favourite celebrity than they do about their neighbour. But neighbours can make for good business; Emma Jones suggests we get to know them and offers five business ideas that are plain perfect for the folks next door.
Know you, like you
In releasing the report ‘Co-operative Streets’ Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, the organisation behind the research, said: ‘We see our neighbours much less but we like them more!’ If you faintly know, and like your neighbours, why not start a business that serves your local market. Here are five suggestions.
Community supported baking – form a baker’s dozen with neighbours to form a bread company that is owned by the community, to service local needs. This model of community bread making is being championed by The Real Bread campaign which offers helpful information on how to get started.
Parcel collection – in the report mentioned above, one figure stood out. Over 30 million of us collect parcels on behalf of our neighbours. That’s a lot of parcels! With online retailers such as Asos.com wanting to be sure their customers receive deliveries (that are currently being missed on account of people being away at work during the day) why not create a local collection point and ask neighbours to pay a small holding fee.
Dog-walking – make canine friends by starting a business walking neighbours’ dogs when they’re away from home. That way, you earn money and stay fit and healthy.
Raring to Go! magazine franchise – if you’d rather buy in to someone else’s idea, there are a host of franchise opportunities based on selling to family, friends and neighbours. One of them is Raring to Go! (www.raringtogo.co.uk) a magazine that acts as a guide on where to go and what to do for families and parents in your area.
Telecoms – this one may seem a little extreme but it’s just what the residents of Rutland did when they couldn’t get the broadband speeds they wanted so decided to take matters in to their own hands, find the funds, start a company, and deploy their own broadband. Rutland Telecom (http://www.relay-rutlandtelecom.co.uk) was the result and the village of Lyddington can now boast having the fastest fibre-optic broadband in the UK for a rural village. Proof of what neighbours can do when they get together!
Emma Jones is founder of Enterprise Nation, a business expert, and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up’ and ‘Working 5 to 9’