I heard a story about a young couple who decided to open a new newsagency in an area already well served. After they sorted out a lease they next met with a rep from a major supplier to our channel. This rep signed them up to take on their products and offered to help them get the business up and running.
The rep connected these green newsagents with some service providers who had no experience with newsagency businesses. The service providers delivered sub-standard products and services for a price considerably higher than originally promised.
The rep failed to provide advice essential to the opening of the new business. The business did not have some core newsagency basics right from the outset.
A while back I heard a story of someone planning to open a newsagency in a country town already served with a newsagency. The local newsagent offered all sorts of help to their prospective new competitor – genuine help with suppliers and other trusted industry connections. The prospective new newsagent ignored much of the advice and is doing it tough as a result.
Two very different stories. One about a young couple who needed better advice and connections they could trust and another about a new newsagent who was offered excellent advice and ignored it.
Back in the days of regulation (pre 1999) it was easier to ensure the right help was given to new newsagents thanks to the firm control exerted by newspaper publishers. In today’s unregulated and more competitive marketplace support for an of new newsagents is rarer.
The first story suggests that there is a role to play, maybe by associations, where a new newsagent not affiliated with any of the groups is provided start up assistance services they can trust. Suppliers with a vested interest in successful start ups could financial support such a service. The challenge is that in a free and competitive marketplace, newsagents like in the second story could reject a good offer of help.