Well, here we are. Another new year and the chance to reset, get our heads back on straight and get ready for whatever 2024 holds in store for us all. But what does it have in store for us?
Most of us would agree that 2023 was a tough year for the trade and most of us probably accept that 2024 is picking up exactly where the last 12 months left off. None of the key challenges have gone away: issues like the cost-of-living crisis, higher interest rates, bumper inflation, fierce competition and ever-rising costs aren’t going anywhere any time soon.
So it looks like we need to buckle up and get ready for another bumpy ride in 2024, fighting for every sale and trying to cut every penny of cost. But here’s some welcome good news: there is something you can do right now about tackling those rising costs – and that’s why we’ve chosen to start 2024 with a cover story on Business Energy Scotland (BES).
Unlike the cold-calling shady brokers that have been calling you for the last year, BES is a Scottish Government-funded body and it has already helped many retailers save thousands of pounds on their energy bills.
Just ask yourself how many tins of beans you’d need to sell to make £3k or £4k in extra profit.
BES don’t take commission, they don’t have preferred suppliers and they don’t charge for their services. They can often arrange sizeable non-repayable grants as well as interest-free loans from the Government. It all sounds too good to be true.
Why would BES do all of this? To help the Scottish Government move towards its Net Zero commitments. It’s that simple. As an industry, retail is a huge consumer of energy, as we all know only too well. Helping retailers cut energy usage and carbon (as well as cost) is a major plank of BES’s Net Zero strategy.
So whether you just want to replace some tired old chillers or you want to go full-on heat source pumps and solar panels, BES can help. It’s minimum admin, it’s quick and it’s as easy as a process like that can made. That’s why so many retailers in Scotland have already taken advantage of the help available.
Slashing your energy bills certainly won’t do you any harm through the tough times and when the good times return and energy bills return to something approaching normal, as we all hope they will, you’ll be in a position to take maximum advantage, as well as reducing your own carbon footprint.
This is one gift horse that you don’t want to look in the mouth.
Antony Begley, Publishing Director, SLR