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.

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.

Accelerate your business with an effective annual plan

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If you fail to prepare then prepare to fail. A phrase we’ve all heard and will continue to hear for many years to come because it’s true.

Business owners who are enthusiastic about accelerating their company, whether that’s from the expansion of services to growth in profit, need a thorough and effective plan to achieve the results they desire.

But where does one begin when approaching the annual plan?

We’ve listed some core areas to consider when producing an annual plan which will be effective in helping you accelerate your business.

It’s worth noting if you’re not a business owner then the following points can still be transferable into other roles and possibly your personal life.

1. What do you want to achieve with your business?

Everything you do should play a part in your long-term ambition for the company.

From major projects to minor decisions, if what you set out to achieve isn’t aligned with your long-term goal it should be left out of your annual plan.

Be mindful of what you, as a business owner, wish to achieve within the next three, five or even ten years. Keep your annual plan focused on these goals.

2. Set realistic goals which won’t guarantee failure

Many plans can be too ambitious to the point they are destined to fail before they have been implemented.

If you have a goal to achieve within three years, such as generating £500,000 worth of business, split that goal up into three realistic checkpoints and work towards them each year.

Perhaps you have a plan to sell your business within five years, then include five core actions to achieve over the forthcoming five years to make that intention a reality.

Being realistic with the goals you set has a huge effect on your attitude and enthusiasm to see positive results.

3. Understand what’s happening in your market

If you’re selling oranges when the orange industry is declining, you must be prepared to adapt and start selling apples instead.

The reality of economics is it isn’t just about what you wish to achieve but what your target audience is investing in and wish to have.

If you fail to understand what your market is, and who your target audience is, your annual plan will certainly not accelerate your company.

4. Detail is important…

…and it’s essential to keep you on track. Without specifics in your annual plan, you are leaving yourself susceptible to going off on tangents and becoming distracted from your real long-term goal.

Be mindful that too much detail can also distract you from reacting to what’s happening in the world – so always allow room to analyse what’s going on in the present day and how your business can be a part of that.

Single-mindedly following everything you planned at the beginning of the year, some of which may have become irrelevant part-way through the twelve-month period, also prevents you from being resilient. This can be a threat to any business.

5. Ask the opinion of someone who isn’t a part of your business

Get a second pair of eyes to take a look at your annual plan. But do choose wisely, perhaps a business partner, colleague, or even a coach.

6. Embrace new tools to help you keep on track

There are numerous tools available to support people with bringing their annual plan to life.

Software such as Trello, Asana and Monday can be useful systems to use as you look towards the next twelve months, although we make no recommendations in respect of any of the software mentioned.

7. Change your attitude towards your annual planning forever

Your annual plan has the power to reinvigorate the journey your business is on – as well as your professional journey too – so take the time out to invest in bringing everything together to produce something that will help you accelerate your long-term aims and objectives.

In summary, however, you choose to approach your annual plan it’s important that those affected by it are enthusiastic about helping you achieve it. Make sure that they understand the Golden Thread linking goals and targets to the long term business aspirations and crucially involve them in the development of the plan.

Crab Insight July 2020

Red Tape Busters Volume 7, Issue 10, Profile

Welcome to the July edition of Crab Insight

What has been your biggest learning in recent weeks, and how will this change the way you present yourself to people?

Our word of the month for July is PROFILE, it’s all about how you will present yourself so as to stand out from the crowd in a digital-focused world?

Crimson Crab is on your side and ready to help you meet the challenges ahead.

Stay safe.

Claudia Crab’s July Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“A website is a shop window to the world – it is also a great way to showcase breaches of the law”

If you have a website you need to make sure that you comply with the law in the following areas:

Disclosure

You should identify yourself correctly and give an address at which you can be contacted, there are specific requirements for a registered business, (e.g. Ltd, PLC, LLP).

Copyright

It’s imperative that you protect your copyright effectively and make sure that you do not breach other peoples copyright. It makes sense to also have a document setting out the terms of use of the website.

Disability Discrimination

Businesses have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to help disabled individuals access their goods, facilities and services. The Equalities Act 2010 requires that websites are accessible to disabled people including Blind people. One way of meeting this responsibility is for website owners to comply with the WCAG 2.0 standard at Level AA the UK Governments recommended best practice for accessibility. 

Data Protection

You need to make sure that you comply with the Data Protection laws (including the GDPR) for all contact forms and any personal data collection. You also need to make sure that you have an appropriate Cookies policy detailing the cookies used and their purpose (and for example use a pop-up or other means to obtain ‘consent’).

Provision of Services

If you provide any services on or offline you have to make sure you comply with the Provision of Service Regulations. They require service providers to make available contact details where information requests and complaints can be sent, together with other specified information.  One way of complying is to include the required information on a web page and proactively provide the link to clients when discussing your services.

E-commerce

When using a website for e-commerce purposes then you still need to comply with the law that relates to a bricks and mortar outlet along with some special rules for an online business.

So there must be for example no unfair commercial practices and suitable control of sales of age-sensitive products (e.g. alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, knives, solvents, videos & games). If any products are sold to which safety legislation applies, for example, toys, bicycles, electrical goods the rules have to be followed, as they do when food of any type is sold. 

The Consumer Contracts Regulations require that you provide certain information when selling online, and also require you to tell the customer about their right to cancel the purchase within 14 days (not 7 any more). Failure in this respect can mean that the customer can enjoy a much longer cancellation period (up to 12 months)!

You also have to be careful to comply with the requirements of Card Providers and you cannot make additional charges for using such payment methods.

There are also rules around the way that complaints are dealt with and the provision of access to Alternative Dispute Resolution and the European Commissions Online Dispute Resolution Platform.

Top tip – We can check out your website

 

F2 Business Huddle Online

 

 

The next online F2 Business Huddle is FREE

It’s on Friday 10 July 2020

12 noon to 2 pm

It is going to be the biggest F2 Business Huddle ever – so far

All the favourite features that you have come to know and love at the F2 Business Huddle – online


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crab

Accredited 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) 2020 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Things to think about before Brexit

If you haven’t already thought about it there are some things that you will need to do to prepare your business for Brexit.

Especially if you:

  • import or export goods or services to the EU,
  • exchange personal data (including customers’ addresses, staff working hours or information you give to a delivery company) with an organisation in Europe (this includes using websites or services hosted in Europe & processing personal data from Europe), or
  • you use or rely on intellectual property (IP) protection (this includes copyright, trademarks and patents).

There is a useful step by step guide at https://www.gov.uk/get-ready-brexit-check

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.

What do I need in my business letterheads?

From a compliance perspective your clients are entitled to know the details of the legal entity that they are dealing with, especially if a business or trading name is being used. If the legal trading entity is a registered body there are some very specific disclosure requirements.

The information must appear in business letters and electronic equivalents including emails. To give you peace of mind we can check out your letterheads for compliance read more…

The fit and proper persons test for charity managers

HMRC has updated its model declaration and help sheet on the fit and proper persons test for individuals who manage charities, etc entitled to UK charity tax reliefs. which is concerned with ensuring that charities are not managed or controlled by individuals who present a risk to the charity’s tax position. The guidance now includes a detailed description of the circumstances in which a charity manager who has used or been involved in the design or promotion of tax avoidance schemes may be deemed not to be fit and proper person.