ADJUSTING FOR BETTER BUSINESSFriday, 13th Oct 2006
By making your business accessible to disabled people you could also improve its customer service. Adjustments needn’t cost a fortune and could create improvements that benefit all customers, as well as staff. As the Adjusting for Better Business campaign has shown, it’s about making reasonable changes that will make your business better.
Many businesses in Scotland are already realising the benefits of making reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of disabled customers, thanks to the support of the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders' Association and our members.
Over 200 trade bodies and business organisations all over the country are supporting the Adjusting for Better Business campaign and getting the message out that even small changes can make a big difference to disabled people. Over 150,000 campaign booklets have been distributed to small businesses showing how adjustments can be made.
The campaign has also worked directly with 80 small businesses that have made adjustments to meet the needs of disabled customers and clients.
One shop has fitted a ramp and widened the front door to help people who use a wheelchair access the shop and the aisles have been widened to enable people who use a wheelchair to browse the range of goods on offer. As the most commonly purchased items are placed at eye level they can easily be reached.
One shop owner, Tracey Pender, discovered there was a number of disabled people in the area who were unable to visit the shop she started a home delivery service. According to Tracey, business has increased since starting this service. As Tracey explains, “My customers who are already using the home delivery service have recommended us to other disabled people which has helped to expand our customer base.”
Although some small businesses are taking steps to make adjustments, too many businesses are still not making themselves accessible to disabled people. No matter what size your business is, it is important to provide a service that is accessible to a disabled person or consider an alternative way of providing an equivalent service, such as home deliveries.
Anne McGuire, Minister for Disabled People, said, “Many small businesses have already woken up to the economic and ethical arguments in making themselves accessible to disabled staff, customers, their families and friends. I urge all businesses to think about what they can do to open up to disabled people, and make sure they are not inadvertently excluding a world of potential customers.”
To find out how you can open up to disabled customers and staff why not visit www.dwp.gov.uk/dda. Here you will find examples of the different adjustments other small businesses have made as well as practical tips and advice you might want to consider for your own business.