Network referrals

When seeking referrals off people in my networking group, what information is safe to gather? So, let’s say, for example, I ask Bob for referrals of our ideal client. Bob knows somebody who may be interested in our service – so passes us their contact details. Is this safe?

Samuel Poole Marketing Communications Manager Syn-Star Complete I.T. Solutions

Great question, actually in Data Protection terms it is not safe to do this unless certain things are in place.

Essentially when dealing with personal information such as contact details the person who decides what to do with the information is a data controller, in this case, Bob.

The data controller has to “process” personal data fairly (processing includes passing it to a third party i.e. you). They also have to have one of six lawful reasons to be able to “process” the data. The most appropriate one of which is the consent of the data subject. This has to be GDPR compliant consent i.e. given freely, not under duress and in full knowledge of what they are consenting to.

The data controller also has to give “privacy information” explaining how the subjects data will be used. There are specific requirements for the content of “privacy information”.

It is incumbent on you to check that the necessary consent is in place for the use you wish to make of the data before acting on it.

Of course, once the information comes into your hands for marketing purposes you become a data controller, in addition, you will need to comply with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regs in relation to electronic marketing messages (phone, fax, email or text).

Trading Disclosure and Business Names

Your clients have a legal right to know who they are dealing with (i.e the legal entity that they are trading with).

If you use a name to trade under other than that of the legal entity, then you need to disclose the full details of the legal entity including an address where you will accept service of documents.

For corporate bodies, there are specific disclosure requirements.

All of this needs to go on business documents including letters and emails and websites amongst other things.

Legal Entity

An association, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, trust, or individual that has legal standing in the eyes of law. A legal entity has the legal capacity to enter into agreements or contracts, assume obligations, incur and pay debts, sue and be sued in its own right, and to be held responsible for its actions.

Business Names

There are specific requirements relating to the name a business wishes to trade under and rules to prevent the use of misleading names. Business names must not:

  • be the same as an existing trademark
  • include ‘limited’, ‘Ltd’, ‘limited liability partnership, ‘LLP’, ‘public limited company’ or ‘plc’
  • contain a ‘sensitive’ word or expression unless you get permission

There are requirements about the details business have to disclose to their customers:

  • An individual trading under a name which is not their surname, with or without initials, has to give their name and an address at which the service of documents will be accepted;
  • Partnerships that use a name other than the surnames, with or without initials, of the individual partners, have to give the names of all the partners and an address at which the service of documents will be accepted; and
  • Incorporated bodies such as limited liability companies or partnerships (Ltd and LLP) have to make Trading Disclosures.

What are Trading Disclosures?

This is the term used in the Companies Act 2006 to cover the rules about the information companies must provide.

The Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008

These Regulations deal with trading disclosures to be made by companies registered in any part of the United Kingdom.

The disclosures have to be made at certain locations (the registered office and other places of business), in company documentation e.g. letters (including electronic equivalents e.g. emails) and on company websites.

The Regulations also require companies to respond to enquiries about where their company records are kept available for inspection.

Reputation Advocates Top Tips for 2019 Steve Thomson, Profile Training

My top tip for presentations or pitches:

Feelings Beat Facts.

How people feel after you’ve presented is much more important than any details or data. No one will remember your graph when they leave, but they’ll all remember how you made them feel.

<center><a class=”button” href=”https://www.crimsoncrab.co.uk/reputation-advocate/profile-training/”>Profile Training</a></center><br>

Reputation Advocates Top Tips for 2019 Robert Brown, XMac

Do your very best, then check again and make sure everything you have said or done is fully compliant, correct with your working practices and within the law, before you send, publish or leave your client.

Do your absolute best, then you will not have to return to it and sort it out another time.

<center><a class=”button” href=”https://www.crimsoncrab.co.uk/reputation-advocate/xmac/”>XMac</a></center><br>

Reputation Advocates Top Tips for 2019 Peter Clarke, PPG Proofreading

Protecting your reputation
If you care about your reputation, then you should care about the written material you produce especially if it is intended for other people to read.

If they expect to read error-free content that comes from your business, then you must make sure that it is error-free otherwise your reputation will take a hit.

If you are going to proofread your own writing, then here are a few tips:

  • Print it out and put it to one side for a couple of hours or, even better, overnight. Your eyes will have had an opportunity to focus on something else.
  • If you can’t do that, then read it out loud.
  • Read it backwards. You will be focussed on each word making sure they are all spelt correctly. Then read it forwards to ensure it makes sense.
  • If all else fails, then call in the professional. Ask Wendy / Rob to let you have my contact details.

PPG Proofreading

Reputation Advocates Top Tips for 2019 Martin Harris, MH Photography

Business Headshots Profile Photos
Business headshots for your business are one of your best selling tools. Likewise, people that view your business headshot images form their first impression of you on what they see. A business headshot that displays you clearly and shows you as approachable will give a good first impression.

In other words, a business headshot that confuses viewers will result in the viewer moving on quickly. That’s not just what they are viewing but also your website/social media. This will not be good for your business.

In the first place, your professional headshot image is your ambassador. As a result, when someone meets you in person they will expect to see the person they viewed. The impression that they then form of you may not be a good one. For one thing, the lifespan of a headshot is 2-3 yrs.

It’s not as simple as standing in front of a camera and taking a picture. Consequently, you have to consider the background, lighting, wardrobe, hairstyle, smile and look. Specifically, the wardrobe and styling are to complement the subject not overwhelm them.

Equally important is the framing of the subject with a background that is either plain or out of focus. Accordingly, the background should not stand out, the viewer’s eyes should concentrate on the subject.

Most templates for websites etc are white or off-white for profile images. For this reason, a professional headshot can integrate fairly seamlessly directly onto most websites and social media platforms.

Speak to Martin for further information.

MH Photography

Reputation Advocates Top Tips for 2019 Lyn Heywood, DataWizardAdmin

Networking increases relationships in the community that is local to where you run your company.

Track when your business and brand are mentioned online.

Respond to negative reviews and highlight and use positive feedback.

Take the time to thank positive reviews and address negative reviews by responding sincerely. Explain, offer to address the issues and prompt the customer to contact you directly on a dedicated email address.

DataWizardAdmin

Reputation Advocates Top Tips for 2019 John Simmons, Sim Compliance

Think Simple!
Being baffled by H&S talk or the fear of having to commit huge resource into getting Health & Safety right in your workplace is often the biggest barrier in getting anything done at all. The HSE have a general rule of thumb – the bigger the company and the more risk exposure to the safety of employees, then the higher the expectation is in doing more.

So, for smaller companies with little risk, the expectation or requirement to cover the basics is often quite minimal and can often be achieved simply by considering the “what would happen if..” scenario:
“Have I considered how we will evacuate our premises in the event of a fire?”
“Is that individual capable of carrying that load?”
“Do I need to get those items of electrical equipment tested?”

A common-sense approach, supported by simple documented evidence when needed, goes an awfully long way in demonstrating compliance.

Don’t be put off by the ghost in the cupboard that is workplace safety. DO SOMETHING, even a little goes a long way in keeping your employees and business safe.

Empower your employees.
It has become a legal requirement for all employees to think and act safely in the workplace. Gone are the days when it was a given that the employer is culpable for any workplace accident or incident.

Empower your employees to get them thinking about how they need to keep themselves safe at work. A sense of ownership brings a sense of pride and with this a drive to raise and deal with any H&S concerns.

It’s a win-win situation so don’t hesitate, get your employees involved!

Sim Compliance