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Keeping Business Local. But is that realistic?

"Shop in your High Street" says the Town Council, the Melksham Independent Traders, the Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Melksham Independent News, and many more.

"Shop Online" say Wiltshire Council (via Wiltshire Online), and many more including some of those very same businesses that are members of the FSB, the Chamber of Commerce, and even the Melksham Independent Traders.

Are the two statements pulling people in different directions? To some extent they are, but both are pulling people away from driving to some town across the county to do their shopping, with all the time and energy that may take. At the same time, we could be considered a little hypocritical by encouraging people to come here to our town rather than shop in their local high street.

Of course, the two soundbites I started with are simplistic. Much can be bought locally, but for more specialised products (not available in every High Street, but sprinkled across the country) there's much merit in online. Some of our Melksham Independent Traders fall into that specialist category - did you know you can buy handpainted glasses and Comics in Melksham, whereas you'll be hard pushed to find them on the High Street of Devizes, Chippenham, Trowbridge or Corsham. And, yes, there are things you'll find in Trowbrigde that are missing from Melksham.

Keep Business LocalThe typical business's customer base is shaped like a pile of sand - the white line on my graph. A shop at "*" attracts local shoppers, and as people get further away, the number of them that come to the shop reduces. For example, we have excellent Indian restaurants in the town. Customers from Melksham account for the majority. Some will come from Calne, Bradford-on-Avon, Westbury. But the customer from Solihull, Axminster, Chichester or Hereford will be rare unless he's in town for some other reason.

So - what's that mauve line?

Well House Consultants runs two linked businesses and at first they appear to have nothing in common. Firstly, we provide niche training courses in computer programming - see [here]. And secondly we provide hotel rooms for visitors to the Melksham area - see [here]. But it turns out they do have a great deal in common - the shape of the customer profile, which is dramatically different to the norm.

There aren't very many local delegates on our courses. That's because we're so specialised that people come to us from far and wide. And anyone who's local and looking for IT training is likely to be looking for a far more general course than we can offer. You'll note that I'm not saying "never". We have trained people who live within walking distance, and we have trained people who work in Bowerhill. And my very earliest memories of Melksham are of visiting Avon Tyres (as it then was) to talk about specialist computer graphic systems for the design of Tyre treads with their R&D department.

And there aren't many local guests at our hotel. That's because they have their own homes in Melksham, so why would they want to stay with us? Yes, there are exceptions - people buying into the area or moving out. People who are having major works done on their homes, etc.

So - we try and place our business locally when we need something that's easy to get close by. And we order online where it's a bit more specialised. But the flip side of the coin - in our case - is a business which brings people into Melksham. We're not actually competing with other centres - they don't offer courses like ours. And we're not actually competing with online suppliers, as certain courses (and programming course are notable amongst them) are not as effective online.

(written 2012-02-13, updated 2012-02-18)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G502 - Well House Consultants - Business Practice
  [4520] No cold sales calls please - but delighted to hear from others! - (2015-09-29)
  [4415] Buffet review - taking the price into account - (2015-02-05)
  [4293] Certification - (2014-09-15)
  [4107] Snog, Marry, Avoid - (2013-05-31)
  [3755] Cruising on the Mersey Ferry? - (2012-06-07)
  [3750] Matching opening hours to when customers can come in and buy - (2012-06-04)
  [3665] Will will smile? - (2012-03-22)
  [3506] Cold call contacts - preference services and turning off spam sales approaches - (2011-11-03)
  [3333] Honesty and a friendly welcome goes a long way - (2011-06-25)
  [3157] A new monopoly on the ferry to Northern Ireland - (2011-02-04)
  [3073] Customer Service - the boundary - (2010-11-27)
  [2966] Cheap Country Hotel in Melksham, Wiltshire? - (2010-09-21)
  [2936] The service that customers should receive - (2010-08-27)
  [2821] Chancellor George Osborne inspires Perl Program - (2010-06-22)
  [2788] Cost of Sales - (2010-06-01)
  [2598] An excuse for making a sales call - (2010-01-26)
  [2465] Melksham Town - asleep or awake? - (2009-10-21)
  [2331] Certification Revisted - Lua - (2009-08-09)
  [2283] Everyone is in the customer relations business - (2009-07-12)
  [2190] How you are (re)presented at an exhibition - (2009-05-19)
  [2187] Are we IITT (Institute of IT Training) members? - (2009-05-17)
  [2161] Get it right ... if it goes wrong, it takes so much effort to sort out! - (2009-05-08)
  [2126] Weeding out old phone numbers - (2009-04-11)
  [2122] Commission Creep - (2009-04-08)
  [2044] Please Trouble me - (2009-02-16)
  [1913] Alastair Darling helps make paperwork and confusion - (2008-11-30)
  [1855] Volunteer v Employee - a skewed balance? (FSB) - (2008-10-25)
  [1713] Ways to accept credit cards - or not! - (2008-07-19)
  [1626] Early May - a short chance to regroup and improve - (2008-05-01)
  [1485] Copyright and theft of images, bandwidth and members. - (2007-12-26)
  [1453] What makes our courses special? - (2007-12-02)
  [1394] Business to Business Networking - North and West Wilts / Melksham - (2007-10-17)
  [1373] New Month, New Quarter, New Laws - (2007-10-01)
  [1342] Google, wwmdirectory, Freshwater, ATP - new scam? - (2007-09-09)
  [1319] Customer feedback - lifeblood of a business - (2007-08-25)
  [1263] 0800 043 8225 - a new phone number for Well House - (2007-07-10)
  [1260] An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06)
  [1243] Heavy duty hole punch - (2007-06-24)
  [1165] Extended Credit request - train in June and be paid in September - (2007-04-27)
  [1157] Speed Networking - a great evening and how we arranged it - (2007-04-21)
  [1133] B-2-B Networking, 20th April. Useful for YOUR business? - (2007-04-03)
  [1084] Writing terms and conditions for conferences and other events - (2007-02-17)
  [1057] Selling by phone and Skype - our policy - (2007-01-30)
  [906] A commitment we won't be making - (2006-10-27)
  [883] Age discrimination law - (2006-10-01)
  [869] UNABLE TO ATTEND - (2006-09-16)
  [849] Staff Meeting - (2006-08-30)
  [808] Sales call - (2006-07-19)
  [766] Discounts and approved supplier lists - (2006-06-17)
  [664] Ruby course - oops - it's not happening - (2006-04-01)
  [652] Morning Post - (2006-03-20)
  [626] Not just a pretty face to answer the phone. - (2006-02-26)
  [536] Cancellations and penalties - (2005-12-21)
  [491] Being atypical is typical - (2005-11-10)
  [487] On line course booking - credit card protection - (2005-11-06)
  [467] Tell them three times - (2005-10-17)
  [457] Do the work and take the risk - a PHP contract to avoid - (2005-10-06)
  [438] Fair system for travel and accommodation expenses - (2005-09-07)
  [399] simplicity hides real size - (2005-07-31)
  [321] Sales - the alternative close - (2005-05-23)
  [297] A reminder that the customer is King - (2005-05-01)
  [226] Growing our systems - (2005-02-24)
  [217] Use of time - (2005-02-16)
  [211] Look after your staff and they'll look after you. AOL. - (2005-02-12)
  [200] Tips for the top - (2005-02-03)
  [188] Pink elephant and appreciation - (2005-01-24)
  [180] Skunk works - (2005-01-17)
  [157] Automatic service upgrades - (2004-12-19)
  [137] Certification schemes - (2004-12-02)
  [129] Trawling our site to prevent student copying - (2004-11-24)
  [125] Staff theft - (2004-11-21)
  [121] Fair and Simple - (2004-11-17)
  [108] A typical morning - (2004-11-03)
  [95] Five red flags - (2004-10-21)
  [88] Getting the right level of trainer - (2004-10-14)
  [77] Telephone systems - (2004-10-07)
  [68] Get the strategy worked out and the tactics just fall into place. - (2004-09-30)
  [27] Sales technique - (2004-08-25)
  [15] 90 to 10 or 80 to 20 rule - (2004-08-15)


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Tcl - dicts - a tutorial and examples
Some other Articles
The fileutil package and a list of file system commands in Tcl
Bus top - colours of London
Historic documents for Wiltshire
Tcl - dicts - a tutorial and examples
Keeping Business Local. But is that realistic?
Help to get online in Melksham
A customer thanks Well House Manor
Training to do a job, or training to pass an exam?
How do classes relate to each other? Associated Classes
Design Patterns - what are they? Why use them?
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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