The FSB believes the Post Office Network must to be remodelled into small business hubs to respond to the needs of some key customers and to ensure the network is financially sustainable for years to come. The establishment of business hubs, with business banking on offer, is the best chance the Network has of becoming financially viable.
The FSB proposal to turn post offices into small business hubs includes:
• Establishing a business desk at each post office with specially trained staff, able to advise businesses on banking, Government services, insurance and sending and receiving parcels;
• Establish a regular Business Link service in each post office to give one-to-one advice to small businesses – similar to mortgage advisors in bank branches;
• Offer dedicated advertising facilities within the post office, to help small businesses reach other local businesses and potential customers;
• Establish a full range of financial services, including business banking; and
• Offer meeting room facilities to start-ups and micro businesses in as many post offices as is possible.
The Post Office is not just a place for small firms to send and receive mail, but is somewhere to meet other small firms and potential customers. It is essential to invest in post offices now to ensure they survive in the long term and are able to help communities continue to grow and thrive.
John Wright, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:
"Post Offices are at the heart of many communities and act not only as a place to send invoices or to collect parcels, but as somewhere for small firms to network, and meet like-minded business men and women as well as potential customers.
"However, small firms are not being given a fully operational service and are severely let down by the lack of business services available. Making post offices into small business hubs –including dedicated business desks and a full range of financial services – will not only ensure the survival of the country’s post offices, but also the communities that they serve.
"The Government has committed to the importance of sustaining local communities and must now step up and support the Post Office to become a small business hub. The sooner this happens, the sooner the Post Office can become financially viable in its own right and small firms will be able to access the service that they deserve."
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