Gentrification is a reality for any business located in an urban area, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Before discussing the effects of gentrification, let’s clarify what the controversial term actually means. Renovations are crucial for the survival of any community but gentrification refers to renovations that are more like transformations. Neighborhoods where the average household could support a family are upgraded so significantly that nearly all expenses, from rent to food, are raised to the point where that household might have to consider relocating.
A study conducted by a student of New York’s Milano School of International Affairs, however, found that most small businesses in New York neighborhoods were able to remain in their locations throughout years of gentrification. This isn’t too hard to believe considering it’s entirely feasible for a small business to use gentrification to its advantage.
Here’s how you can do the same:
OLD SCHOOL MEETS NEW SCHOOL
Upscale customers don’t just look for the most expensive products they can find and base their shopping decisions exclusively on price. They have a distinct taste, for sure, but it’s more about authenticity and originality than cost. With the help of an alternative business financing company like United Capital Source, you can evoke all three elements through your products as well as your space. As for products, research has shown that affluent shoppers (mainly of the younger variety) are attracted to what are known as “analog” items. These are products that were once considered “outdated” compared to digital alternatives but are now making a comeback because of their “old-school” vibe. Examples include vinyl records, moleskin notebooks, and stationery.
Making analog items even more rare is how expensive they are to order, especially during increases in rent or slow periods. UCS offers unsecured business loans geared towards ordering several seasons’ worth of inventory and keeping prices down in order to offset a shortage in available capital. A merchant cash advance is a type of working capital loan that is paid back via a percentage of future credit card sales. This is ideal when you are preparing for a wave of high-income customers to enter your store for the first time. You would receive a lump sum to order the items and pay it back as your store increases sales volume.
ORIGINAL AND UNCOMPROMISING
Your environment might be more important than your items because many brick-and-mortar stores that thrived during gentrification did so because of their uncompromising “charm.” They constantly updated their appearance to maintain the decor that makes then uniquely nostalgic. If your business has been in the neighborhood for a long time, you don’t have to change your appearance to seem more affluent. You just have to make sure you never cross the thin line between “old-school” and “dirty,” which is difficult without a reliable source of funding at your disposal.
At United Capital Source, we know how quickly customers notice faded appearances, particularly in beauty spas or restaurants. This is why we offer restaurant business loans and other kinds of working capital loans to companies that cannot afford to wait weeks or months to order new furniture or begin renovations. Just a few business days is all we need to approve and distribute funding, which may also help you cover regular business expenses since these additions must be made when customer activity is on the low side.
Yes, we are aware that we aren’t the only business funding company that doesn’t require mountains of paperwork or a perfect credit score but unlike our equally-speedy competitors, we offer more than one product, and our terms are almost always negotiable. We can design your unsecured business loan to work around the terms of the company handling the renovations, and accept lower payments until customer activity returns to usual.
SHOULD YOU RAISE PRICES?
Another essential tool you can only find at UCS is unrivaled customer service, which is extremely useful when you are carrying out investments during rent spikes. The instinctual reaction to rent increases is an increase in your prices, but you can only take this strategy so far. You have to know whether or not you can raise prices on certain items and how high you can raise them without damaging profit margins or dismissing customers. When you work with UCS, you form a partnership with a business financing expert who is more than happy to crunch some numbers with you and keep an eye on what happens to your profits as gentrification sets in. This partnership will continue throughout your entire career, even if you aren’t in the midst of paying off debt!
NOT JUST SCRAPING BY
Many UCS clients take out working capital loans when covering rent becomes difficult, typically due to circumstances beyond their control. But they aren’t just asking for money to pay their bills without knowing how they’ll pay them once the funding runs out. They are making investments that are directly related to increasing revenue, constantly putting themselves in the position to attract more customers. So, when your rent goes up, UCS is here to help if you have a solid plan for offsetting your need for additional operational funding. You’d be surprised how just a few investments carried out at the right times can ensure you never have to leave a newly-gentrified community.