Crab Insight – March 2022

Red Tape Busters Volume 9, Issue 06, `Building trust with your customers’

 

Welcome to the March edition of Crab Insight

As successful business people know, building a brand is more than logos and straplines. It’s about a company’s ethos and values; backing up customer commitments; and going the extra mile.

Fitting strongly into what makes a brand work is using straight-forward language in all your documentation. Your clients need to know that their contract with you is fair and honest; how to exercise their rights; and how to go about putting things right if they go wrong.

 

Claudia Crab’s March Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“Customers need to know what it is they’re buying and the terms on which it’s being sold.”

“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.” – Bob Burg, author, Endless Referrals. 

Using Plain English – in things like terms and conditions, warranties, privacy notices, or how to complain – isn’t just a nice to have, it makes great business sense too.

A brilliant starting point for checking how straight-forward it is to do business with your company is to get a member of your family or a friend to read the documentation that you give to customers. If the people who already know and like what you do can’t understand what’s there, the chances are that your clients won’t either.

 

 

Top tip: Providing your clients with all the right information, in an easily digestible form, will make it more straightforward for them to do business with you.

 


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crabAccredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo


Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.

 

Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2022 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

What does my approach to cashflow say about the way I do business?

Cashflow is one of the most important elements of finance; it’s a key indicator of how much money is entering and leaving a business and can sometimes show how you deal with your money, which ultimately has an impact on the way you do business.

What is cashflow?

Cashflow is the net amount of cash, as well as cash equivalents, being transferred into and withdrawn from a company’s bank account. The money received is known as inflows, while the money spent is known as the outflow.

There are positive and negative examples of cashflow – all very important for those with interests in your business. Bad cashflow doesn’t necessarily reflect poorly on how you do business, as it may only be temporary, because good cashflow will balance out the occasions when the bank may not be looking too vibrant.

Positive cashflow is when the cash assets of your business are increasing, it’s when there’s plenty of money in the bank and you are able to operate comfortably.

Negative cashflow means your business is losing money – but it also shows that you may be poor at predicting when your income and expenses will occur.

Why is positive cashflow important?

Being comfortable allows you to settle debts promptly, reinvest in the business, pay outstanding expenses, provide your shareholders with money, and provide a buffer against any unexpected financial challenges, such as the recent coronavirus pandemic.

With positive cashflow, you can commit to doing more as you have the ability to invest and explore options to grow and develop your company.

Positive cashflow is critical for showing people how you do business – it indicates you can manage money well and pay promptly when monies are due.

But beware of having too much money; it may also indicate you aren’t prepared to invest in your business, as you are more worried about what’s in the bank, so don’t let positive cashflow impact your investments negatively.

Why is negative cashflow bad?

It’s still possible to have net profit and negative cashflow, although negative cash flow can make it difficult to grow your business; you have less disposable income to invest in its growth and development.

This may reflect negatively on how you do business – especially to those whose services you may be using – for example a freelance marketing expert.

If you have consistent negative cashflow, and ultimately build a reputation for not paying your invoices on time, because you do not have the cash to do so, this may prevent the best talent from helping your business.

Nobody wishes to work with anybody who is poor with how they manage their money, so it’s worth ensuring your cashflow is in the positive a majority of the time.

Why does a company’s approach to cashflow tell people about how it does business?

People will perceive how a business manages its cashflow in different ways – and that’s okay!

You may also find that cashflow may differ from one industry to the next, especially where greater investment may be concerned for the benefit of long-term profit.

For as long as a business isn’t consistently in the red, there shouldn’t be a major concern to those who are interested in your business.

Interested in learning more about cashflow and why it’s important to your business?

Get in touch with one of our experts today – we’d be happy to help.

 

We’ve had a data breach – what do we do and who’s going to do it?

Having in place a policy and procedures will make it absolutely clear who is responsible for sorting things out when they go wrong.

We’ve recently provided advice to an organisation that’s had a data breach. They hadn’t done anything wrong but they were the target of a web hack.

A number of people – including us – were involved in rapidly sorting out the response but as the dust began to settle it was clear that there was (and is) a gap at the top of the organisation where the responsibility for data protection and information security should have been.

Policies aren’t necessary in every organisation or in every case but if there are more than a handful of people in your company then the chances are that it will benefit from documentation that makes it clear to everybody (no matter the topic):

  • What is to be done (the required outcome)
  • How the required outcome will be achieved
  • Who is responsible for achieving the required outcome (hint – responsibility should be very closely matched to the authority to make things happen)
  • The roles that others in the organisation must play to help it achieve its required outcomes

Policies bring structure to an organisation and can be very brief and high level documents. They should however mostly be supplemented by procedures which set out the specific actions to be taken in any given circumstance. In the case of the data breach, there was no policy in place setting the required outcomes for the handling of personal data, nor was there a procedure for the action to be taken in the event of a data breach. Had they been in place then it would have been clearly understood who was to be doing what and to what end. The breach might even have been avoided in the first place.

It’s not quite the Story of Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and Everybody but a policy framework can help bring calm when things go wrong.

If you need to find out more about how we can help develop policies for your organisation, not only for keeping data secure, book a free 15-minute initial consultation.

Book a free consultation

How can I maintain my business reputation when outsourcing services?

The reputation of your business matters. It matters most to your growth and development; if you have a poor reputation in the eyes of clients and prospective customers, you’ll struggle to progress from where you’re currently at.  

But while juggling the busy life of running a business, along with all the other things which may be on your plate, you may look at using the services of an expert to support you with some key business functions.

We’re talking about outsourcing the likes of HR, marketing, accountancy, sales and more.

So, when you find yourself outsourcing key functions of your business, how can you maintain your reputation when it’s somebody else doing the work on your behalf?

In a nutshell, it’s down to ensuring that you carry out ‘due diligence’ – the process of getting hold of all the material information you need in order to make an informed decision.

We’ve listed five questions to ask yourself to help ensure that your outsourcing partner service is not going to damage YOUR business’s reputation.

Do the people behind the company you’re outsourcing to understand you?

Before agreeing to outsource a key service, it’s important that your provider knows about your business’s short, medium, and long-term goals.

With this knowledge, they can ensure that every action they complete is aligned to your business strategy and, if it isn’t, they shouldn’t be doing it.

Sometimes, involving your team (that’s if you have one) in this process can be hugely valuable as their opinion may help your decision making.

Do you understand them?

We’re not talking about knowing everything about them, such as the names of their family or what their favourite food may be, but about whether you understand why they do the job that they do.

Outsourcing is, ultimately, trusting someone to do something for your business that you would be unable to do for yourself and / or do it in a better way. Be sure to understand why the person you’re outsourcing to does what they do, and always check they know what they’re talking about.

Are they experienced in doing what they’re going to do for you?

While we’re touching on ensuring someone knows what they’re talking about, ask for a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates the person you’re outsourcing to has already done what you are asking of them.

It’s no good outsourcing your marketing to someone who has zero experience in this area. Their success stories, and the testimonials off the back of this, will help inform your decision on whether they’re a good match for you.

Beware – people are very good about talking about themselves when they are selling their services to you. Don’t be taken in by them telling you what you want to hear, and ensure you get your questions answered in a comprehensive way.

A demonstratable knowledge of a particular subject, which comes with experience, should be evident in a company selling a quality outsourced service.

How do they compare to their competitors?

Many companies fail to conduct competitor analysis. When looking to outsource a key function of your business, it’s important to compare the market. You need to find the partner that works best for you.

For example, if you’re looking to outsource your company’s HR with an HR expert, take time to look at what their competitors may say too. This will not only help you to identify key elements of their services, but also provide you with the confidence that you’ve chosen the right partner.

Are they trusted by others?

Testimonials and case studies are everything. Without these, you’re leading into an outsourcing partnership blind.

Before agreeing to outsource, ensure that your provider is trusted by others and, even better, trusted by others in the same sector as you.

For more information and support about outsourcing – and to ensure you’re continually protecting your reputation – get in touch with our team today.

Crab Insight September 21

Red Tape Busters Volume 8, Issue 12, `Outsourcing’

 

Welcome to the September edition of Crab Insight

Now we are into September and the kids are back at school the weather has finally improved and we are all sweltering behind the desk again and it’s time to get back to business.
 
The Online F2 Business Huddle is back this coming Friday 10 September and we’re looking forward to catching up.
 
Crimson Crab celebrated ten years in business last month.  Over the last ten years, we’ve helped loads of businesses with their compliance conundrums and data protection difficulties. and look forward to helping more in the future.
 

Claudia Crab’s September Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“Outsourcing”

“If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you’re putting yourself out of business.” Ryan Khan – Founder of The Hired Group, author of Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad, and star of Hired on MTV Networks.

Outsourcing is the business practice of hiring a party outside a company to perform services and create goods that traditionally were performed in-house by the company’s own employees and staff. Outsourcing is a practice usually undertaken by companies as a cost-cutting measure. As such, it can affect a wide range of jobs, ranging from customer support to manufacturing to the back office. Key Points

  • Outsourcing can be used to reduce labour costs, together with the cost of overheads, equipment, and technology.
  • Skill and knowledge gaps can be filled using third party experts.
  • Outsourcing is also used by companies to focus on the core aspects of the business, trusting the less critical operations to outside organisations.
  • On the downside, communication between the company and outside providers can be hard, and security threats can escalate when multiple parties access sensitive and personal data.

To make sure you do everything possible not to get let down by someone else, do your diligence before selecting an outsourcing partner. Our focus is to provide easy ways of carrying out diligence. If you need practical help please do take a look at our solutions:

 

 

The big question this month is:

How can I maintain my business reputation when outsourcing services? 

Look out for our social media posts and our blog later in the month as we help you explore this in more detail.
 
Top tip – Understanding your compliance obligations and responsibilities when outsourcing is crucial, our Business MOT can help

 


F2 Business Huddle Online

Friday 10 September 2021

12 noon to 2 pm

Future F2 Business Huddle dates for your diary

Friday 8 October 2021

Friday 12 November 2021

Friday 10 December 2021

Get your ticket on Eventbrite


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crabAccredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo


Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.

 

Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk  

Copyright (c) 2021 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Why should I bother with Terms and Conditions for my business?

It’s fair to say that most consumers would be wrong to claim that they always read the Terms and Conditions before agreeing to use a product or service.

Millions of people across the UK are guilty of failing to read the Terms and Conditions, otherwise known as the boring bits or the small print, and that’s a pretty big deal. But why?

Terms and Conditions act as a legally binding contract between a company and its clients.

The agreement doesn’t only set out the rules and guidelines that must be followed, but it clearly sets out expectations from all sides of the party too.

There can be serious ramifications for companies who trade without Terms and Conditions. This can lead to unwelcomed headaches for customers too.

Within this blog, our spotlight is on some of the top issues Crimson Crab have encountered as a result of companies not having clear Terms and Conditions.

 

  1. Lack of ability to limit liability. As a business, if you don’t bother having Terms and Conditions, there are all sorts of liability that you may have to accept when you don’t need to.

 

  1. Difficulties if your client fails to make payment. Without Terms and Conditions, you may find yourself in a costly situation if court action needs to be made due to a client failing to make a payment on the work you have completed. By ensuring they agree to your payment terms within your Terms and Conditions, you’re protecting yourself from unwanted surprises and difficulties in Court.

 

  1. Unrealistic expectations. Without Terms and Conditions, clients may claim the work you are doing isn’t sufficient and fails to meet their expectations. By drawing up clear and easy-to-understand Terms and Conditions, you’re making it clear what work you will complete for the price agreed.

 

  1. Misunderstanding about compliance with legislation. Many businesses struggle to understand that Terms and Conditions play an important role in ensuring you are complying with the law including for example Trading Standards legislation. Having a set of Terms and Conditions allows companies to publish essential details, such as its name and address or consumer cancellation rights as required.

 

  1. Limited ability to protect intellectual property. This is all about protecting the creations of the mind, like inventions, literacy, and artistic work. Without highlighting in your Terms and Conditions the use to which your client may put your intellectual property, people may steal your ideas which could have otherwise been making you money. Setting out your stance on Intellectual Property will reduce the likelihood of this happening and will make it easier to deal with if it does.

 

There is so much to think about when you are trying to manage your own business, so it’s easy to prioritise another matter over Terms and Conditions.

But by having these you will establish an essential legal binding contract, on your terms as long as they are fair, which can protect you and your clients for years to come.

It’s good practice to regularly review your Terms and Conditions as circumstances can change as can the law, but also how your business operates may change over time.

Whether you are a start-up or an established business, Terms and Conditions are crucially important today more than ever.

At Crimson Crab, we can help with anything related to the Terms and Conditions belonging to your business. From reviewing to drafting your Terms and Conditions, a great starting point is our Business MOT get in touch to take it today.

Crab Insight April 2021

Red Tape Busters Volume 8, Issue 07, `Deal with risk’

 

Welcome to the April edition of Crab Insight

As lockdown eases we need to move forward with our businesses and identify opportunities for growth or at least to get back to where we were before lockdown.

Beware though every opportunity carries with it some degree of risk.

So, Claudia Crabs focus this month is dealing with risk. It’s important not to lose perspective, don’t sweat the small stuff and ignore the real show stoppers.

HR management,  health and safety management and data protection can all be problematical in their own ways. If you need some practical help please do take a look at some of our solutions:

 
 
 

Claudia Crab’s April Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“Deal with risk”

““Opportunities pass by frequently, but people don’t always see them. Taking risks grants you an invisible set of glasses that reveal the many opportunities which surround you.” ― Anas Hamshari, Businessma n With An Affliction

A good starting point is a SWAT. Strengths, weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats analysis In this way, both internal and external factors are identified, remember weaknesses are best thought of as areas for improvement. If you find your self struggling with external factors try using the acronym PESTEL.  This will help you think about the opportunities and threats likely to develop. PESTEL, polictical, economic, social, technological, environmental and legalThe use of a SWAT Matrix helps you identify where:

strengths play to opportunities or reduce threats

weaknesses hold you back or exacerbate threats

SWOT Matrix Once the major areas are identified you can carry out a risk assessment in a systematic way. risk assessment The key is to unpick how you can reduce the likelihood of a high-risk occurrence happening and, or reduce the damage done to the business if it does happen. That way you will be taking responsibility for your businesses strategy by proactively managing risks. You will also be in a better position to deal with issues that crop up as they should not come as a surprise.  This follows Crimson Crabs strapline:

Ethical  |  legal  |  Responsible

So this month we are asking the question:

Does your strategy take account of business risks? 

Look out for our social media posts and our blog later in the month as we will hopefully be able to flesh out your thinking.
Top tip – A great starting point is to understand some of the risks that your business faces and our Business MOT can help with this

F2 Business Huddle Online

Friday 14 May 2021

12 noon to 2 pm

WE ARE LIMITED TO 100 PLACES

TO AVOID DISSAPOINTMENT 

Get your ticket on Eventbrite


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crabAccredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo


 
Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.

Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2021 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

How are you following the rules and regulations that affect your business?

The rules and regulations your business is required to follow may differ from one industry to the next.We're open

It’s your responsibility to ensure you are following what’s right for your type of business and that your team are copying your good example too.

Certain organisations are regulated differently. For example, financial services providers, investment firms and consumer credit firms alike are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, while care homes and hospitals are monitored by the Care Quality Commission. Food businesses are regulated by the Food Standards Agency and have to be registered with the local authority.

Even though they are three different sectors, they are accountable to a regulatory body that will ensure everything the business does is ethical, responsible and aligned with the law.

So, who are you regulated by and why is this important? Well, it depends. Ultimately, most businesses are regulated by an industry-specific regulator – but other sectors have less regulation.

The industries which aren’t heavily regulated in the UK include cleaning services, plumbing and recruitment.

That doesn’t mean to say that there is a free for all, everyone must follow the various and continually-changing UK rules and regulations set by Parliament, regardless of whether they have an industry-specific regulator or not.

Rules and regulations can be complicated and maybe a challenge to follow, especially if you’re not an expert on this matter.

But there’s a simple way to build on your understanding of how it works – and we call it the Onion Analogy.

There are several layers to rules and regulations and, aligning our explanation to the Onion Analogy, we’re going to uncover three layers.

Layer one of the onion – The regulatory bodies you must follow

These include, but aren’t limited to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and more.

Generally, these bodies give guidance on the area they cover but they also have enforcement powers when it comes to breaches of the law.

Every company – including yours – must follow various authorities if it is to adhere to UK law.

Layer two of the onion – The industry-specific regulatory bodies you are accountable to

Similar to the earlier examples for the financial, health-sector and food sectors, industry-specific regulatory bodies are the organisations that specialise within the area your business works.

Other examples include the Environment Agency (EA), the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Ofcom, the Gambling Commission and more.

Layer three of the onion – The industry norms. What are others doing which is right? 

The final layer within the Onion Analogy is your industry norms – what are others within your sector doing which is right for your consumers.

It’s impossible for us to give you a definitive answer on whether you are following the rules and regulations for your sector. However, if you’re looking for some expert insight and guidance into whether what you are doing is right or requires improvement, our Business MOT is a great place to start.

Business MOT

Crab Insight March 2021

Red Tape Busters Volume 8, Issue 06, `Regulatory Regimes’

 

Welcome to the March edition of Crab Insight

So the evenings are drawing out and the clocks spring forward soon. Spring is definitely in the air with crocuses and daffodils in bloom.

Despite this, our focus at Crimson Crab HQ is on regulatory regimes, as they affect all businesses to varying degrees.

HR management, data protection and health and safety management can be problematical so please do take a look at some of our solutions:

 
 
 

Claudia Crab’s March Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

Regulatory Regimes

“Many people who try to do big bold things in the world find out it’s not about the money or the technology: It’s about the regulatory hurdles that will try and stop you.“ – Peter Diamandis, US Businessman founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation

There are a vast array of regulators in the UK many of whom have varying impacts on business depending on the industry, from the Care Quality Commission and the Law Society to the Charity Commission and Ofqual.

However, there is a significant number such as the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which are universal. 

The regulators’ purpose is to ensure there is a level playing field and protect the weaker party in any transaction (which is usually the client or customer).

If a regulator has cause to investigate a business, they will try to demonstrate insufficient control over business processes and procedures.

It makes sense to be in a position to show that you have done everything possible to comply and that you carry out checks to make sure that your procedures work.

That way the regulator will be more likely to help resolve compliance failures, rather than take enforcement action which can prove costly for a business and damaging to its reputation.

This follows Crimson Crabs strapline:

Ethical  |  legal  |  Responsible

How are you following all the rules and regulations that affect your business? 

Look out for our social media posts and our blog later in the month as we will hopefully be able to flesh out your thinking.

Top tip – A great starting point is to understand the regulatory regimes that apply to your business and our Business MOT can help


F2 Business Huddle Online

Friday 12 March 2021

12 noon to 2 pm

WE ARE LIMITED TO 100 PLACES

FOUR PLACES ARE LEFT

TO AVOID DISSAPOINTMENT 

Get your ticket on Eventbrite


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crabAccredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo


 
Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.

Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2021 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Secure your cash flow: Disclose your legal trading entity

Your clients have the legal right to understand exactly who they are dealing with. If they don’t, you could find yourself with agreements being void and not getting paid for the work you do…

Imagine it – business is booming and you have just had one of the strongest quarters to date.

Then suddenly, your customers stop paying and you have no legal way to get your money as a result of not abiding by trading laws and disclosing your legal trading entity.

But what is the legal trading entity?

In a nutshell, it’s the name of the business used for tax purposes. It’s the ‘legal’ name of the person or entity that owns it.

If you’re a sole trader, a plasterer for example, then the legal trading entity of your business is your name with or without your initials or forenames.

So, if your name is Richard James Smith, the legal name for your business could be Richard James Smith, Richard J Smith, Richard Smith R. J. Smith, R Smith or simply Smith.

If you trade under a name which does not include your surname, for example, Phoenix Plastering Services you would have to give your surname to every current or potential client.

For example Smiths Phoenix Plastering Services or Richard Smith trading as Phoenix Plastering Services together with an address at which you can be contacted. In legal parlance an address at which you will accept the service of documents.

For unincorporated partnership in gets a little more complicated as the legal trading name is the last names (with or without initials or forenames) of all of the partners.

For limited liability companies, partnerships and corporations, the business’ legal name is the one that was registered with Companies House including Ltd, LLP, PLC etc. In addition, there are specific disclosure requirements for these types of business including full corporate name, registered office address, registered number and place of registration.

The trade or business name is the name a company uses for advertising and sales purposes. It’s imperative you understand that this is different from the legal trading names previously described.

It’s a legal requirement that your legal trading entity is included on all business documents and their electronic equivalents which include invoices, letters, emails and websites.

If you’re a business that may trade under a different name to your legal trading entity and may be unsure of the rules, get in touch with the Crimson Crab team today.