Home and Hybrid Working Is Here To Stay

Home and hybrid working both present opportunity and challenge in equal measure, especially if they form part of a longer-term vision for how your business will operate.

Whether it’s because of Delta, Omicron or because they’ve found that the sky didn’t fall in when staff were working away from the office, more and more businesses are having to find practical and sustainable ways to enable their staff to continue to work at home for some or all of the working week.

Although many companies quickly introduced practical, bottom-up solutions to allow home and hybrid working during the first wave, making this model the default way of working requires a top-down, policy-driven managerial approach, one that identifies all the relevant factors that will make or break the operation of the model.

To help forward thinking businesses, our Home Working Policy sets out clearly and straightforwardly the considerations that must be addressed to ensure that not only is managerial risk minimised but also that those working from home are not left feeling isolated or exploited. To find out more go to https://www.crimsoncrab.co.uk/our-solutions/ 

Book a free consultation

Crab Insight – January 2022

Red Tape Busters Volume 9, Issue 04, `The Triple Bottom Line’

 

Welcome to the January edition of Crab Insight

The measurement of a company’s value is so much more than just profit and loss.  Businesses who might be considered industry leaders – for example BTShell and Virgin – have been steadily supplementing their annual financial assessments with reports on their environmental and social impacts, creating a so-called ‘Triple Bottom Line’.  Along with highlighting wider governance matters (collectively these are known as Environmental, Social and Governance or, simply, ESG) those at the top of business recognise that using the organisation to do right – as well as make money – is actually good for business.
 

Claudia Crab’s January Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“ESG: Environmental, Social, Governance”

“Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm. It’s about doing more good.” — Jochen Zeitz, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson.

The concept of sustainability in business has been around for many years but things like the COP26 climate conference have given it rocket boosters. Historically, short-termism has driven commercial decision-making, putting financial profit above all other considerations, but even the briefest of pauses to consider a longer-term view will quickly bring about a more considered and holistic approach to doing business.

Incorporating environmental and social considerations into the heart of a commercial operation may appear at first to be counter-intuitive and self-defeating but what, for example, could be a bigger threat to an organisation’s income than the effects of climate change? Similarly, assuring the wellbeing of your staff, not to mention not meeting your customers’ ethical expectations, aren’t optional fripperies because if they’re done incorrectly they’ll have a negative impact on your financial bottom line (through increased expenditure on high staff turnover or lower income from a diminishing customer base).

ESG and sustainability for many businesses will not be a radical departure and, indeed, many may have been embracing aspects of it without knowing of the concept. Covid 19 and the climate emergency however have changed things up – look at the increase in electric vehicle sales and the numbers of people wanting to work in ways that provide a better work / life balance – and we can see that in order to stay in business we’ll need to demonstrate that we’re taking account of what people expect of those to whom they give their money.

Our question of the month for January is

What does sustainability mean to my business?

 

 

Top tip: Business sustainability is about investment not expense –  small changes can make a big difference to the way that your business is perceived.

 


F2 Business Huddle Online

Friday 14 January 2022, 12 noon to 2 pm

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.

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.

 

What happens when someone changes their mind about something they’ve brought?

Changed your mind about something you’ve bought? It’s not as simple as getting your money back, regardless of how expensive an item may be.

Offering a refund on something you’ve purchased from a company is the choice of the seller; it’s up to them whether they offer you anything.

If there’s nothing wrong with what you have bought, it doesn’t need to be refunded.

However, if you think there’s a problem with your purchase, there are steps you can follow to get a refund, but this depends on where you bought the item.

Buying online?

Anything purchased online will automatically come with a 14-day cooling-off period.

Ultimately, this is when you buy something you haven’t seen in person, the cooling-off period allows you to get a refund on the item if it’s not for you. That includes purchases which may have nothing wrong with them too!

The period starts from the day you receive the item, but does exclude bespoke and made-to-measure items.

The cooling-off period doesn’t apply to items that:

  • Can deteriorate quickly, such as flowers or food
  • Is personalised or custom-made, such as printed material
  • Is from a private individual rather than a business
  • A CD, DVD, or software whereby the seal is broken

The above also includes over-the-phone and mail order purchases.

How to use your cooling-off period:

The following steps will help you with how to use your cooling-off period.

Step 1: Tell the seller you don’t want the item within the first 14 days of selling it. Citizens Advice has a templated letter to help you with informing the seller of your decision here.

You may also inform the seller of your decision via phone, but always make a note of the person you speak to with a reference number to the call.

Step 2: Once you’ve informed the seller of your decision to cancel, you then have 14 days to return the item. If you don’t return it within the 14-day period, you may lose your right to return.

Step 3: Keep a document of any correspondence between you and the company until a full return has been made.

What about postage and packaging?

Most items bought online come with standard delivery – it all depends on what memberships you may have and what delivery options you choose.

So, if you request a refund and need to return the item, the seller has to refund the money spent on postage and packaging but only at the standard price.

If you’ve selected express delivery, which is more than standard delivery, you’ll need to pay the difference.

Buying an item from a shop?

We’d recommend you check the shop’s policy on returns before purchasing the item.

Most shops say you can return an item within 14, 30, and occasionally more days for as long as they haven’t been used. It’s not a legal requirement, but it’s always good to check.

Even if you couldn’t check or try an item before purchasing, your rights remain the same on returns.

Always get a receipt for any items you buy within a shop too. There is a higher likelihood you’ll get a refund on items with the original receipt. You may find the return’s policy for the company is written in the receipt too.

Bought something from a business based outside of the UK?

If you’ve bought something from abroad, your rights may be different. Always check the terms and conditions of the seller before purchasing anything from them.

It’s worthwhile exploring whether you’ll receive a refund on the delivery cost, too, as the rules around this may be different to Great Britain.

For more information about where you and your clients stand when it comes to returning something, they’ve bought, get in touch with us today.

November 2021 Crab Insight

Red Tape Busters Volume 9, Issue 02, `Dealing with complaints’

 

Welcome to the November edition of Crab Insight

With the pre-Christmas rush coming up, might the increase in trade for you business also mean that there will be more complaints? We’ll be talking about how to handle them at our Online F2 Business Huddle is on Friday 12 November. 
 
 

Claudia Crab’s November Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“Dealing with complaints”

“Thank your customer for complaining and mean it. Most will never bother to complain, they’ll just walk away.” – Marilyn Suttle (CVP-CEO, Suttle Enterprises LLC)

Put in place policies to deal with cancellations, returns and complaints before they happen, then you won’t be side tracked or have to firefight things when they do happen.

You need to know when a purchaser has cancellation rights and provide the necessary information and correct documentation at the right time.  This is particularly the case when the purchaser is a ‘consumer’ as they have clear rights and there are legal sanctions if you get it wrong.

Your guarantee or returns policy should meet legal requirements and you should make sure that it’s not open to abuse.

Your policy, procedures and process for dealing with complaints should support your long-term business goals and, most importantly, provide for continuous business improvement.

You can find out more information about these and other solutions Crimson Crab can help with by following the link below.

 

Top tip – Understanding your compliance obligations and responsibilities when dealing with complaints is crucial, our Business MOT can help

 


F2 Business Huddle Online

Friday 12 November 2021

12 noon to 2 pm Future F2 Business Huddle dates for your diary 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.

What are the benefits of outsourcing HR for my business?

Effective Human Resources is important for everyone, whatever the size of your business.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to know where to start, especially if you’re looking at managing your HR in-house.

But managing HR internally can be complex and arduous – particularly when issues arise with people in the business – so outsourcing this key function of your company is often a favourable move.

But where does one begin when outsourcing their HR? What are the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing HR? How can you protect your company’s reputation while outsourcing HR?

Human Resources covers many separate components, from recruitment and giving legal advice to managers, to payroll, conducting disciplinaries and more. There’s plenty to think about.

Outsourcing is all about entrusting a HR expert to cover the key areas of this business function to ensure you’re doing everything fairly, legally and responsibly.

Nonetheless, outsourcing does present its advantages and disadvantages, so let’s explore the positives first:

Outsourcing HR will give you access to skills and knowledge: Using an experienced HR specialist will provide you with much more than you may already know.

You’ll have peace of mind the relevant processes and procedures for any HR matter is being adhered to.

Outsourcing HR will help make your business more efficient: An HR service professional will know what they’re talking about, so you’ll be able to identify and rectify issues more swiftly.

Instead of worrying about the HR for your business, someone else can focus on any matter allowing you more time to focus on the growth of your company.

Outsourcing HR will help reduce costs: Instead of employing an HR expert which will cost your business more, outsourcing the service may have a substantial impact on how much less you spend on HR.

There are plenty of positives for outsourcing HR for your business, although you should beware of the potential disadvantages. Here are a few:

Outsourcing HR can be impersonal: Effectively, you’re asking a stranger to deal with your people issues.

This impersonal experience may have an effect on the reputation you have with employees.

Dealing with HR issues from a distance may limit its effectiveness: As the HR professional you’re using is likely to be working away from your business, their work may be less effective compared to if they were working within the business.

Protect your reputation with having clear HR processes. Whether you achieve this by outsourcing HR, or you’re looking to manage it yourself, speak to us for advice on doing what’s right for you and your team.  

Nothing’s broken yet, but it may be too early to tell…

It has been a month since David Lowe took over Crimson Crab as Director after Rob and Wendy Briggs announced their retirement, so here’s what he has to say now he’s feeling a little more settled.

I’m delighted with how the first month has gone at Crimson Crab, and I don’t think that I’ve broken anything yet, but it might be too early to tell.

Over the last several weeks, Rob has been distilling his 10 years of accumulated knowledge into the squidgy object that passes for my brain.

It’s been a steep learning curve and my mind is spinning. This isn’t because Crimson Crab’s operations are complex (they’re not, they’re commendably simple, even though the subject matter that we deal with sometimes can be), it’s because there’s just so much of it.

As an example, the F2 Business Huddle doesn’t just happen by itself and I’m beginning to appreciate just what a slick operation Wendy and Rob have built up.

The last thirty or so days have then been an odd mixture of relishing the challenge of taking Crimson Crab forward, tempered with the knowledge that I’ve got a tough act to follow.

I’m getting a sense of what the company is about and also how we might in future be able to offer our clients more of the things that they need.

A couple of new ideas are presenting themselves and over the next few months I’ll be exploring whether they’ll resonate… I’m excited to share these with you.

On a personal note, it’s probably fair to say that I’ve been a little distracted during September.

A group of us made an attempt to get my friend who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease (and his purpose-built wheelchair) to the top of Mount Snowdon.

It wasn’t a total success, as the wheels on the chair buckled about ¾ of the way up, but we managed to get 43 of the 47 participants to the summit.

If you’d like to see in 8 minutes what was for most people 7 or 8 hours’ worth of effort, please follow the link at The Ascent – YouTube

Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to Wendy and Rob for entrusting me with their baby.

I’ll always give my best efforts to maintain the standards and expectations that you’ve set for Crimson Crab and I’m confident we’ll continue to give the community that’s been built up around it the ongoing high levels of service and attention they deserve.

 

It’s time for positive change: A joint statement by Wendy and Robert Briggs

We are approaching a season of our lives that will provide us with ample opportunity to reflect on an amazing ten years of Crimson Crab.

It’s time for us to retire… but Crimson Crab is still going places!

Words cannot express the journey we have been through, since launching the company on 15 August 2011, but we leave with our heads held high with the knowledge we’ve supported thousands of people with doing business ethically, legally, and responsibly.

When Wendy set up the company, we welcomed Trading Standards South East Ltd as our first client. This led to an impressive portfolio whereby others wanted to take advantage of the services we provide.

The year 2012 saw Rob join as Compliance Director, and Wendy became the Managing Director of the business.

People started talking about us – and how Crimson Crab are the experts to support with all-things business compliance. It was an exciting season for the business.

 

So, it was time to invest in building a brand, which was when Claudia Crab was designed by the talented Ric Robinson.

 

 

 

 

A few years later, in 2015, it was time to update our logo and branding, so we could appeal to even more businesses. This was completed by Graham Martin, from Red Pixel Creative, and remains the logo you see today.

 

 

The first Crab Insight was published in October 2013 – it was all about updates on changes in the law that affect business owners. There are some avid subscribers who have read every one of the updates since.

We launched the Reputation Advocates early on in our journey. It was always our desire to engage with businesses to align with our values of ethical, legal and responsible trading, and by being a Reputation Advocate a business owner demonstrates that they operate to a certain level when doing business and allow Crimson Crab to carry out a level of diligence on them. Also if anything went wrong, we’d step in to help. Accredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate LogoIt has been truly humbling to work with companies from across different industries. We’ve supported local authorities, charities, volunteers, hotels, small traders, solicitors, solopreneurs, start-ups, sailing schools, public schools, health and care providers, and many more.

Many of these companies took advantage of our Business MOT, one of the first services we developed and still popular today.

And for those companies, the F2 Business Huddle – which launched in March 2016 – has provided a superb opportunity to keep companies connected both in-person and, most recently, online.

For us, there have been huge lessons learnt. Yes, they came during the good times, but more often than not the best learning experiences were during the not-quite-so good moments, but this has played a major part in making us who we are today.

So, what of those lessons:

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Always maintain multiple income streams and look to developing new ones at every opportunity.

Be sure to collaborate with others. Be open to appropriate opportunities, build fresh and exciting ideas, and continually add value (in different ways) to both clients and prospective clients.

Get an agreement settled and in writing. Verbal agreements are never okay, as written agreements cannot be misconstrued. Have everything you agree set out in writing to avoid heartache if anything should go wrong.

Always, without fail, do yearly business planning, set targets, and measure against them. It takes time to do this, but it’s incredibly rewarding, especially when you track your achievements.

Think about your long-term five-to-10-year goals – and move towards them relentlessly with a laser focus. Don’t let anything get in your way. We’ve learnt to understand exactly what we want, and we’ve got to where we desired to be, in good time.

It wouldn’t be right to close this chapter of our lives without shining the spotlight on some key people who have been absolutely brilliant throughout our Crimson Crab journey.

Some have been with us since the beginning, while others have only been a real delight in recent years, but nonetheless, they are people we both are grateful to have in our lives.

Malcolm Ward. He gave us intensive support when we started Crimson Crab. Malcolm taught us about the foundations of business building allowing us to continue to construct and grow Crimson Crab.

John Simmons. John is a man of integrity, honesty and compassion, at the moment he is on the National Three Peaks Challenge raising money for The Rowans Hospice.

Jo Burfitt. Whilst living her own busy life with JMB Virtual Assistant, Jo has been continuous in helping us in many different ways. She’s good fun, too.

CJ Driscoll Chartered Accountants. Chis Driscoll himself was a great help when we started. Colin, Simon and Lorraine continue this tradition of supporting the business with accountancy.

Chris Jay, Jo Brooks, Jo Burfitt, Sam Poole and Will Chalmers. For helping us raise an impressive £439 for our NHS Hero’s during the lockdown, with our Great Virtual Quiz events. Sam has also supported us with some of the social media publicity for these events and continues to support Crimson Crab marketing with themes, word of the month, “question of the month”, and more.

There are many many people we appreciate here’s our shoutout to a few of them:

Steven Ashfar, Andreas Nest, Peter Clarke, Steve Thomson, Nikki Forster, Gethin Jones, Kelvin Uchemefune, Guy Woodcock at EL Direct, Guy Robinson, Ricki Scott, Roy Goring and Gayle Tong. All of whom have helped and inspired us in ways that they may not even realise. All people, dear to our hearts.

There’s plenty more new and exciting things happening within the business, such as our Reputation Academy online training courses, so we’d welcome you to explore them for yourself.

But, now, it’s time for us to enjoy retirement and spend time exploring the outdoors and making memories with our family and friends.

We leave Crimson Crab in the capable hands of Dave Lowe – we welcome him as a Director of Crimson Crab, with specialist knowledge in data protection, and this marks the start of the next chapter in Crimson Crab’s incredible journey.

We’re not disappearing, you’ll still see us about! But, as we will never ever stop saying, thanks for everything and until next time look after your reputation.

Crab Insight June 2021

Red Tape Busters Volume 8, Issue 09, `Data Protection’

 

Welcome to the June edition of Crab Insight

“That’s life (that’s life), that’s what all the people say. You’re ridin’ high in April, shot down in May. But I know I’m gonna change that tune. When I’m back on top, back on top in June.” Frank Sinatra

If as a business owner you need assistance getting back on top this month especially with Covid Secure Workplaces please take a look at:

Grounded Safety

Our focus in June falls on Data Protection. If you need practical help please do take a look at our solutions:

 

For fuss-free HR Management you can’t go wrong with:

 

 

 

Claudia Crab’s June Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“Data Protection”

“We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.” Alan Turing OBE FRS computer scientist.

“There’s plenty there that needs to be done. Lets get on with doing it.” Elizabeth Denham, CBE UK Information Commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

Data protection law, at first sight, is complex and ambiguous full of unfamiliar terms and legal phrases. The ICO do their best to try to demystify this but like all regulators, they have to cover themselves when interpreting complex areas of law. They do not have the resources to give detailed bespoke guidance to all UK businesses.

If you process personal data, our top tip is that you will most likely have to pay the data protection fee, there are exemptions to this but they do not relieve you of complying with the law.

Essentially the law gives a number of data protection principles that must be followed:

  • You must identify valid grounds (known as a ‘lawful basis’) for collecting and using personal data.
  • You mustn’t do anything with personal data in breach of any other laws.
  • You must use personal data in a way that is fair. This means you must not process it in a way that is unduly detrimental, unexpected, or misleading to the individuals concerned.
  • You must be clear, open, and honest with people from the start about how you will use their personal data.
  • You must limit the purposes for which you collect data and not use it for unspecified purposes.
  • The personal data must be accurate, adequate, relevant, and limited to what is necessary.
  • It shouldn’t be kept longer than is necessary (retention periods should be determined based on reasonableness/law).
  • It should be protected by appropriate security measures to keep it secure and confidential
  • You should take responsibility for what you do with personal data and for compliance with the principles

The big question this month is:

Why should my business be transparent in handling personal data? 

Look out for our social media posts and our blog later in the month as we endeavour to answer this.

 

Top tip – To understand your compliance obligations and responsibilities you need to know what you need to comply with our Business MOT can help with this

 


F2 Business Huddle Online

Friday 11 June 2021

12 noon to 2 pm

Get your ticket on Eventbrite


Reputation Advocates

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


Renewing Reputation Advocates

 
 
JMB VA Logo

 

Your personal assistant … Virtually

 

 


Xebra Accounting Logo

 

Putting you in control of your finances

 

 

 


 
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.