Archive for How to start a Business

10 Reasons why you need legal advice even if you cannot afford it.

Too many businesses put off looking at legal issues until something goes wrong. You then have the cost and worry of sorting the problem out. Why not put things in order so you miss that stage. Why do this :

  1. You need to know the laws and rules that apply to your particular business.
  2. Any medium or large business will have full legal advice and have documents and processes that act in their favour
  3. You need to know the Legal Risks of your business as otherwise how do you minimize those risks? Legal Risks are different from financial risks. A small business can have a higher legal risk than a large business depending on what it does and who its customers are.
  4. Realise you don’t know what you don’t know and this could break your business.
  5. Terms and Conditions should be a map through your business. They should be specific to your business not lifted from your competitor . They should be readable and you should understand them. Your Clients should understand them. They are the basis of your agreement with your Clients.
  6. Legally you will need various policies eg Health and Safety, Data Protection. These again should be in clear language not something you get out when something goes wrong.
  7. Do not be tempted by templates off the Internet. They will be very generic and usually miss the thing that your business needs. Remember also that language in legal documents has a special legal meaning that may be different from normal English. It may be specifying which part of a legal statute applies but will you know that?
  8. Arguments can lead to expensive court cases. Many cases are caused by DIY Contracts and Terms and conditions or if none of these exist. It is false economy to cut corners here.
  9. Legal Documents should be readable and capable of being understood by the average person. Lots of jargon and nonsense are not necessary just put there to look good. Do not accept this and have documents properly drafted.
  10. Realize that legal advice and documentation is there to avoid problems . It is like driving a car . When driving you spend as much time avoiding other cars that are badly driven as manoeuvring your own car straight down the road. Legal Advice and documents are there to avoid bumps and crashes- they are not there to get out after the problem has been created.

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Do not take more Risks than are necessary

Risk for your business

Most are aware of the financial risk of a business, You earn to sell £X to keep afloat then make a profit. That bit is easy. Everyone looks at the finacial risk of a business. Few look at the legal risk. The two are rarely the same.

Some businesses have a low turnover but are far greater legal risk than a large manufacturer of goods that coul dnot harm anyone. I find when this in pointed out to the owners of such businesses they are amazed.

To minimise risk every business owner should create defences to minimise the level of that risk to a business. Legal protection is one thing. The ability to enforce that legal right is a totally different matter. You may have a contract but do you have thousands of pounds to take legal action to enforce that contract.

Steps you need to take:

  1. Have robust and detailed contracts with everyone
  2. Have good terms and conditions for your business that cover every eventuality and are drafted for your specific business.
  3. Protect all your IP including your name and logo as Trademarks
  4. Understand the difference between the rights of a consumer in B2C contracts and of another business in B2B contracts. ensure your documents reflect this.
  5. Make sure you understand the laws relating to your particular business and that you comply with these.

In short make sure your business is as well set up and protected as possible and best established to stand up to any problems that may come along.

Secondly make sure you understand where the risks are in your business. You can then take essential steps to reduce these to the minimum. The risks will vary from business to business and relate to what you do rather than the size of the enterprize.

Make sure you understand these risks so you can put in place steps to prevent any problems.

Do not find yourself trying to sort out forseeable problems after the event.Be prepared. Do not find yourself lie averyone else- in a mess.

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3 Tips on Starting a Business

Few people know what they are doing when they start a business. Many only look back on it and realize how little they knew afterwards. Most business owners muddle through and learn quickly . However there are a few points of advice :

  1. Make Sure Your Business Idea is Profitable
  • It may seem obvious but is often overlooked.
  • If you make something how many hours will it take to obtain the finished product? How much will the materials cost?
  • Take the price deduct the material costs then divide the balance by the hours you will have worked to give you the gross return per hour
  • . If that says you are being paid £6 per hour and that is before all your other expenses you need to reconsider. Making a beautiful object that takes a day for which you can charge £25 is not going to run. I have seen many think otherwise unfortunately.
  • Do not rush to be the cheapest as this will just reduce any profitability.

2. Keep Costs Down

You will be entering fields you have never been into before. Lots of people will want to tell you that buying their product is essential to the success of your new venture.

You should work out yourself what your business cannot do without as opposed to what would be good. Then you should source those items for value . If you need quality items get them at the best price. Do not be afraid to query what you are told . Remember The Apprentice task where the aim is to buy all items as cheaply as possible

3. Is a Website Essential?

In most cases yes as no one will take you seriously without one. There are however exceptions to begin with.

If you have visible premises it is clear where you are and what you do say with a shop or salon.

If your customers are ardent social media users you may be fine with a Facebook Page especially for health and beauty and tradesmen. You will however only be visible to people who use Facebook. For this it is important to know who your customer is.

For most other businesses you need a website as a badge of your existence and credibility. It gives your address, contact details and exactly what you do . It makes a potential feel safe dealing with the business.

There is no need to spend a lot of money on a website to start with. A page will do if necessary although more is better. Pay per month options are available but make sure you own the domain name and it is on say Word Press so you can move it if needed.

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