From the top · 3 August 2016

Tiger’s UK MD urges small business owners to trust people more

TCR_Philip_portrait_2Despite acknowledging that there will always be people who abuse trust, Philip Bier thinks not putting faith in people both staff and consumers ultimately holds small business back from possible growth.

The business leader is at the helm of growth in London and the South East of England of Tiger, a Danish retailer which is looking to fill a gap on the high street left by Woolworth’s when it finally pulled the plug in 2008.

Located in areas of high footfall, Tiger sells products raining from those for the kitchen to those for the garden. It was named on Alix Partners? 2016 growth retailer report of the ten fastest-growing retailers in Britain, joining the likes of Whistles and Space NK, and UK sales jumped 69 per cent to 62m last year.

As such, Bier has developed a pretty decent understanding of what a typical UK customer looks like and where new Tiger stores arebest located. Based in areas with lots of passing possible consumers, areaswhich are also urban, trendy and populated by those with disposable income, the retailer plans to open 16 new stores before the end of 2016 creating 160 new jobs.

Using an example of a particular new opening, Bier had some interesting insight into thinking specifically about how a brand expresses itself in a given area. When we opened on Kings Road I was aware we had a shop in an area with perhaps the highest disposable income, and I wondered how that would express itself in a Tiger shop.

I was there for the opening day, watching what has going on, and noticed a young girl, perhaps 17, buying our 7 headphones. This is a good sale for us, but she also bought them in every colour and I realised that is how Tiger expresses itself [on Kings road].

another woman came in and bought one of our record players and some LPs. That was definitely an impulse buy, as there is no way she went out intending to buy that.

He described the Tiger brand as very versatile, with stores in less affluent areas doing just as well because it comes down to convenience. Many of the items stocked in Tiger would previously only have been available by getting in a car and driving to a big shopping destination, like IKEA, but are now available on the high street.

Bier compared Tiger to well-known airlines easyJet and Ryanair. They get you there cheaply and safely. If you want a free sandwich then go with British Airways, but itll be the most expensive sandwich you’ve ever had. But the British also won’t accept cheap and nasty.

Tiger Oxford Street Ad

Business Advice wanted to know what advice he had for small business owners in the retail space who perhaps only have one or two locations. What should they be doing to streamline operations, attract new customers and ultimately grow?

trust people, don’t be afraid of trusting, he urged. You will get some who abuse that occasionally, but if you don’t trust people youll struggle over time.



Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.