MILLIONS of Britons have mourned the passing of their local post office.
However, the radical changes that have led to the closure of many post offices, have also created opportunities for entrepreneurs who believe that the flame of grassroots enterprise still burns brightly.
Amjad Siddiqui was encouraged by his father to leave behind an IT career in Pakistan and move to the UK to buy a business. Sure enough, he flew to Yorkshire, where he was determined to work hard and create jobs in his adopted home.
Initially, he was interested in operating a petrol station under a recognised brand. However, after chatting to Paul Williamson of business transfer agents, Ernest Wilsons, he decided to investigate the sub post office market.
The Post Office is going through a transformation programme, which, according to Ernest Wilsons, is opening up some attractive opportunities, as sub post offices come on the market.
Mr Siddiqui looked around at the ones for sale, and was attracted to the Stairfoot Post Office in Barnsley. However, he needed help in overcoming a number of obstacles. He had to undergo a rigorous selection process and faced the prospect of raising finance in a tough market.
Ernest Wilsons specialises in the sale and acquisition of post offices. Mr Siddiqui received support from the company’s ‘Buying a Sub Post Office Support Service’, which provided step-by-step guidance.
Ernest Wilsons helped him to prepare a business plan, and prepare for his interview as part of the selection process. Ernest Wilsons also introduced Mr Siddiqui to Lloyds TSB Commercial, who provided a loan to help Mr Siddiqui buy the property and the business.
Wendy Hallas, who is based at Lloyds TSB Commercial’s Huddersfield centre, said: “We are always looking for opportunities to support business customers to buy and develop viable businesses.
“I was delighted to meet Amjad and was impressed not only by his business plan, but also by his energy and passion to succeed, and we quickly put in place the facilities required to fulfill his plans.”
After succeeding in the selection process, Mr Siddiqui has big ideas about how to develop his business. According to Mr Siddiqui, the enterprise is run around a simple philosophy – he treats every customer as its most important asset.