Partnering with 36 Business Improvement Districts across the UK
In 2019 in partnership with multiple UK Business Improvement Districts, Meercat Associates ran a business engagement and support project across the UK.
Focussed on engaging with BID member businesses, sign posting them to support initiatives, including our cost reduction and business support services. In total throughout 2019, we partnered with 36 Business Improvement Districts across the UK. This required skilled project management and delivery across a diverse geographic spectrum, encompassing all business sectors and ranging from micro businesses to multinationals. We fully understand the complex challenges that these types of projects bring, having carried out similar outreach and engagement projects of this type repeatedly and successfully over our 14 year history.
BID members are comprised of businesses within the dedicated area, and range from a few hundred to a few thousand business in each geographic area. Businesses vary greatly from very small retailers to large multisite corporations, although SME’s generally make up a large percentage of the demographic.
BID’s themselves range from town centres, city centres, market towns, coastal, night time economy and industrial sites, each with their own diverse culture, needs and challenges. Our flexibility of approach while continually achieving project outcomes, has enabled us to become market leaders in delivering these types of complex projects within these challenging environments.
For 2019, we were given details of 6472 BID members, successfully contacting every members and actively engaging with 4011 businesses, and as part of the outreach element of the project we met face to face with 788 of these businesses spanning the UK. In addition we identified business cost savings of £1,542,925.
As part of our service. Each individual BID received a data gathering and sanitation service to ensure that the data provided was as up to date and as complete as possible. We have found that this exercise is invaluable for our clients to maintain and enrich their own records.
The project set up process also involved the design, production and printing of leaflets and/or brochures to be presented to businesses. Along with digital marketing material for use by the client in publications and marketing campaigns. All marketing material was managed by the Meercat team as part of the project objectives.
Complete business support is vital to the success of this project, with BID presence being optimised and feedback from BIDs to their members, and members to the BID also utilising this engagement function.
Our support team would begin by calling every business to highlight the partnership and support project.
Over the last 14 years, we as a company, have developed the best routes to business decision makers and messaging to cut straight to the heart of the message we are delivering on behalf of the BID. Face to face meetings are always and without doubt the most effective way of delivering an out reach project. Our support team would brief each business on the services, and arrange a meeting for our consultants to attend their business and provide further information and/or answer questions.
The primary function of the BID engagement projects is to offer cost reduction, through our procurement team. We have developed our buying group over the last 14 years to streamline contract quoting, pricing and management of business commodity costs. Areas we focus on are; Telecoms, Energy, Merchant Services, Pest Control, Insurance, Water and Training.
Our consultants would gather data from the businesses, this data would be filtered back through our procurement team for either internal analysis, or sending to our supply partners to analyse. Cost reduction reports would be generated with like for like savings on the chosen commodity, and/or recommendations for upgrade or infrastructure changes. These comparison reports would then be presented to the business owner/managers, with any questions or queries being addressed.
If a business wanted to progress with a quote, we would manage the process of application, termination and placement of the contract. Contract management will follow, with the renewal process fully managed.
The purpose of this initiative, is not only to save businesses money on their critical services, but also ensure their infrastructure is relevant for their specific business, as well as take the time and effort away, allowing them to concentrate on running their business.
Each business will start with a single point of contact that will remain with them throughout the process, and follow up afterwards, ensuring the relationships are maintained, and success is measurable.
A crucial element of any project we run, is the reporting and quantifiable and qualitative benefit we can add and present to a BID. We provided monthly reports to each and every BID, with a full breakdown on which businesses we have engaged with, met with, identified savings for and realised savings for, combined with full project lifetime data. This element allows BIDs to present to their boards and members the cost benefit of running a project with Meercat Associates, as well as helping and supporting their member businesses. Monthly meetings with BID managers and presentations at board meetings are all part of the ongoing transparency and reporting.
Our projects are all very flexible, and if business needs vary or demands increase or decrease, we can, and do, quickly amend our message and utilise the vitally important route to market that we offer our partners.
It has often been the case that whilst we are providing a cost reduction service to the BID the relationships built with its members are invaluable in promoting other events (such as Christmas lights attendance) and also promoting other projects which require further uptake to be successful (an example being creating awareness amongst members of online services the BID offers).