Finding collaborators and supporters for success.

I was having a cup of tea with my teenage daughter this week, chewing the cud and chatting all things work, life, love and the universe. She mentioned that she was feeling a bit of a confidence crisis coming on – a few things were making her feel overwhelmed by the tasks ahead and the challenges she needs to overcome.

She wonders if she will make it… she needs some collaborators and supporters.

Much ‘Yorkshire’ (other brands are available…editor) later, and we have talked about how she will be brilliant, of course, but she needs the positive messages and confidence building that we all need from time to time.

Does this resonate?

When I mentioned impostor syndrome, she looked blankly at me. Never heard of it – yet that’s exactly what she is feeling.

Do you ever catch yourself in the mirror and think – “Good grief, how am I pulling this off? Why has no one noticed that I’ve no idea what I’m doing?”

I listened to the fabulous Victoria Knowles-Lacks last week talking about her amazing ups and downs in business and the lessons she learned about resilience, personal goals and planning, and the day to day challenges of running a business. Even the most competent looking of us, can feel vulnerable.

And how interesting that its so often the stuff that you don’t know when you start a business, that can take the greatest toll on our time and resources. Not the obvious, easy to access advice, but the tough stuff, the complex stuff, the stuff that we rarely talk about, the stuff that’s hard and difficult and often needs expert help. Like money advice, technical and strategic advice, and – dare I say it – legal advice.

So often, it’s the team you pull in around you: the supporters, the collaborators, the freelancers, the network, the fans and champions of your business that get you through. Working collaboratively – whether formally or informally, through service providers, professional services, networking contacts or just mates who are ‘in the trenches’ of small business work with you, taking each other’s experience and support and skills and knitting them into something positive and helpful  – can be powerful.

For the next few weeks, in our FB group Your Legal Fairy Godmother we are chatting about collaborations – so come and join us? Membership of the group is only open for a short while longer. Check us out?

Legal Advice for Wedding Suppliers: Thinking of putting up your prices in the New Year?

A new decade requires a new slogan. We’ve had the Nineties, the Noughties, the Twenty Tens …

What are we to call this decade? The Twenty Twenties (worse slogan ever: editor) the Roaring Twenties? (I think that may have been done already: editor) Boring Twenties? (Let’s hope not: editor) Soaring Twenties – (that’s more like it…..! )

So, to soar, you need to create more business, and more profits, so you need some strategy and some planning. A review. It’s not going to just happen without some graft, is it? Do you expect a slow start to the new decade or will the phone ring off the hook? I sincerely hope it’s closer to the latter than the former, but either way this is the time to get your administrative and operational ‘ducks in a row’ for this season : and there’s no shortage of blogs and articles and podcasts telling you why this is important. Here’s one of my favs at the min.

One strategic option: putting up your prices is a common thought for businesses at this time of year – especially out of season and before the flurry of activity that this post-Christmas engagement season brings. You need to put up your prices BEFORE that flood of enquiries (and conversions hopefully) really starts. Once you have quoted and hooked the client in on a price – there’s little room for manoeuvre.

You can only put up your prices for existing clients if your current T and C’s allow for it – or the customer agrees (you really want to ask that question?)

New clients need your revised T and C’s with your new price structure NOW – and you must include it in their proposal for your services. Here’s a handy video from me on the timing of using your client contract and when you need to provide it.

You don’t have any???

Get yourself over here for the options for template T and Cs we have… and for bespoke solutions you can check us out here.

If your T and Cs need a general spruce up or a proper legal look over to ensure that you are good to go for the new decade we have a fixed fee service to help you and lots of tricks and tips for legal questions and conundrums on our FB page Your Legal Fairy Godmother – free membership at the moment, but the doors are closing before the wedding season kicks in proper, so join now to access great advice and our usual display of selfies and pics for our events, products and general travels through the wedding suppliers world.

Bring it on 2020.

My Blog’s mic drop 2019

I’ve spent my afternoon planning next year.

Looking at who is important, what is important and where we are going in the next 12 months.

Its been exciting to see the progress of the last year – SGOL’s new and improved template offer is, in no short measure, responsible for some of that! And the fabulous Chrissie of Black Hare Marketing – without whom, none of this is possible.

THANK YOU X

Its also exciting to see what’s already in the pipeline for next year…

We have training lined up with wedding suppliers, commercial network groups, GCSE students and creatives in Nottingham – it’s a diverse bunch! And there’s new products and collaborations coming soon too, to help with your risk management, a review of GDPR and a membership offer I think will be too good to miss.

If, like me , you are yearning for Friday 20th December (What? part timer…….editor) and the rest and recuperation that Christmas brings – gird your loins and lets do this for another working week, people. If you need some inspiration…..click here.

Then let’s rest and add ‘the undone’ to the ‘to do’ pile and raise a glass to the next 12 months.

Thank you for joining us on the SGOL blog, and a very Merry Christmas to you all

With love

Heather xx

…OUT

The Business Proposal Podcast – Bring out the dancing lobsters: as sponsored by Heather Stanford Gould

The Business Proposal Podcast – Bring out the dancing lobsters: as sponsored by me.

Looking to fill your ears with helpful brilliance as a wedding creative?

Want to hear how wedding creatives can support and help your business?

Get your lug ‘oles round The Business Proposal Podcast: New Season by Ellie Kime and Rachel Waring

Here’s their brand new episode –

Why it feels like your marketing efforts are failing….Join us as we toboggan down the slope of self awareness together, and discuss why your marketing efforts might be failing (despite you working really hard on them). It sounds like the most depressing episode ever, but actually we think it’s rather uplifting, and we hope you do too. Special guest stars include Adele, Cecilia the cat, and Ellie’s allergies.

And once you have absorbed and LOVED this, there’s so much fantastic material from seasons one and two as well – covering everything from Building Hype around your Brand, How to Set Up your Workspace, and Diversity and Inclusion in the wedding sector. So, there’s absolutely something for everyone.

Check Ellie and Rachel out at https://www.thebusinessproposalpodcast.com/

And you can find all the past episodes of this podcast  here.

Ellie says “The Business Proposal Podcast is a podcast for wedding creatives, by wedding creatives. We’re demystifying the wedding industry one episode at a time, providing support and advice for the industry as it’s a very unique one with its own set of challenges. This season we’re covering everything from trends to wedding fairs to marketing failures to the importance of community, and so much more. All with a giggle and a cuppa…hopefully!

Subscribe today to have something actually worth listening to on your daily commute or over a Sunday morning cuppa?

I am absolutely delighted to be partnering with this brilliant programme and hope you enjoy the content.

Virtual Assistant – top legal tips for your contracts.

Virtual Assistant – Stopping and starting work when you are not paid

That’s simple, right?

You would think so, wouldn’t you?

Not paying for a service must surely entitle you to stop providing it?

Of course, there’s a lawyer’s answer to that and its not that simple, I’m afraid.

It is possible (and a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, as a dispute resolution solicitor,  I had a case that was based on this point…) that if you simply down tools when you are not paid, you could end up liable for losses that your customer incurs if you have simply stopped – WITHOUT THE CORRECT CONTRACTUAL TERM TO ALLOW YOU TO DO SO.

So, to explain this: an example:

A Virtual Assistant undertakes to do administrative work for a client – this includes instructing suppliers to progress with a project. The Virtual Assistant doesn’t get paid by the client, so stops work and does not issue the instructions to the suppliers. As a result, the project is delayed, and the client incurs a loss. In theory, unless the client contract – your T and C’s – allows the Virtual Assistant to stop when they are not paid, and only to resume when they are, the client could claim that loss against the Virtual Assistant in a breach of contract action.

Solution?

Add a clause which allows you to suspend services in the event of non-payment

AND (if you are savvy)

To demand payment upfront if you are going to resume your services.

Do your T and Cs include this? They should. Ours do……

Come and grab a template for Virtual Assistant services here for only £99.00 and this will protect you and give you some ammunition for those trickier customers. Add an hour of help from us for another £100.00 and you are good to go…

GDPR and sausage rolls – legal tips for wedding caterers.

What on earth does GDPR have to do with sausage rolls? Here are this week’s legal tips for wedding caterers

If you are a caterer, you may well look at this headline and scratch your head. How could making gorgeous Thai street food, or popping a pizza in the oven, or slaving over egg and cress sandwiches possibly have anything to do with GDPR, you ask…..?

Amazingly, I still come across businesses who have STILL not got themselves GDPR compliant at the simplest and most fundamental level, but food-based businesses have a double whammy to deal with.

  • Every business needs the GDPR compliant privacy policy and ‘contact us’ pages on their website

(Editor: what do you mean – not got around to it yet?! We still have the GDPR Starter Pack available if you are stuck.)

  • You might have some sort of privacy statement on your email footer.
  • You, of course, have amended your T and Cs to reflect the required layering too – see here if that means nothing to you…..

But you also need to take extra care because you are likely dealing with some special category personal data as well.

Special Category Personal Data means data concerning a protected characteristic such as a person’s sexual orientation, race, health or criminal history, for example.

You might think that just means medical records and other very personal information that a healthcare provider or a legal institution might hold – I’m afraid you’d be wrong.

Special Category Personal Data includes information about someone’s religious beliefs. If your customer data identifies party guests with specific dietary requirements that are associated with their religion, then that is Special Category Personal Data. Often, you will know the names of the guests with the specific dietary requirements and therefore you can identify the individual with the protected characteristics by their menu choices – for example halal meat requirements, kosha meal requests etc. You should ideally have reference to this in your Privacy Policy and you should certainly be very careful about how you store and share this data in your business and with other goods and services providers.

You need to show a basis for processing ( as you do for all personal data – you can have a look here for an earlier blog on this topic…) but an additional basis for processing special category personal data is required.

Check your T and C’s and your website – we can be a source of assistance Our templates for Wedding Caterers include this and you can get your privacy policy sorted at the same time.

We love to solve your headaches!

Top Legal Tips for Field Hire Venues on deposits

Top legal tips on deposits for ‘blank canvas’ style field hire venue providers

Field hire  or ‘structure only’ options for wedding venue hire should offer the perfect solution to the couple who really want to stamp their own mark on their ceremony, so what do you as the space owner and occupier need to make sure you cover in your T and Cs on deposits …?

Apart from the usual clauses regarding deposits and cancellation ( you can see some top tips on this in previous blogs) to comply with your customers consumer rights you may need to have some sort of 14 day cancellation period (sometimes called a cooling off period) from the point of the couple agreeing to contract to have the venue, which allows the couple to withdraw without penalty within that time frame. Sometimes venues ask for the deposit to confirming the booking to be made within 14 days of signing the T and Cs, some will take payment on booking and allow a clear cancellation period which states if you cancel within the 14 days the contract is concluded and the couple receive their money back. Either way such a clause is recommended – without it, the periods in which a couple may be entitled to cancel without penalty and have the right to demand back their deposit may be significantly increased. Here’s a good summary of the rules for some bedtime reading. The rules will be different if your couple came to the venue and signed up, rather than concluded a booking online. Be warned and take advice if in doubt.

If you have a customer who challenges the amount of the deposit or the amount you intend to keep if they cancel – make sure your T and C’s have stated why the deposit has been taken – to secure the date exclusively, and to allow you to prep the start of planning and work for the event. Put that explicitly into your Terms. If you don’t have it – we have a lovely new template that helps with this.

Have you additionally included a damages deposit – ideally paid later and closer to the event. It helps massively if this money is accounted separately – not invoiced as income, and held in a separate bank account, unless or until you seek to claim some or all of it. From this account, you can then deduct the costs of breakages or damage – and even the costs of litter and rubbish removal – IF you have spelt this out clearly in your contract (….like our templates do?…….editor)

For help, come and chat to us? Or grab one of our templates and be assured you have covered these issues off in your client contracts.

Our Top Legal Tips for Celebrants

Top tips for you chaps, this week as we have out SPOTLIGHT feature on the celebrants in the Facebook group. What do you REALLY need to make sure you have covered in your Terms and Conditions?

Take care about stating the legality of any celebration or service you perform. This needs to be spelt out to ensure clarity for your couple. DON’T ASSUME ANYTHING….  ensure your couple understand the difference between the legal ceremony and the celebrant’s involvement, and that your contract is clear what you are not legally performing a marriage.

Take care also if you are pulled into advice on this point by the couple once your services are agreed. I don’t suggest you are obstructive, or unhelpful, but be clear about where help and actual legal advice about the process starts and finishes. If in doubt, always refer them to the correct registration services.

Note to anyone doing destination weddings – this is particularly true if the legal framework of a destination may be unfamiliar to you, as well as to the couple. Don’t overstep your remit – if they rely on you, and your advice, your liability clauses better be up to scratch….

I can almost guarantee you are not insured to advise on the process to legally complete the marriage, and of course, you have insurance to deliver your services overseas too – don’t you??

Finally, a little note on GDPR. You are compliant, right? Good privacy policy, opting in to receive marketing materials from you? Client Contract up to date and reviewed since May 2018? If not,

THEN GET ON WITH IT………………!

You are processing not just personal data, but special category personal data (this used to be referred to as sensitive personal data) and the obligations on you are higher and stricter as a result. If you haven’t self-assessed – here’s a good online free tool if you need more help – or a privacy policy – you can pick one up as part of the option three package with our contract templates:

Double bonus!

If you need any more help get in touch with me.

MUA’s and Hairdressers – top legal tips to keep you and your client safe.

Here are our three top legal tips for dealing with allergies and reactions.

Are you a wedding MUA or wedding hairdresser? this is your SPOTLIGHT week by Your Legal Fairy Godmother.

Read on for important tips for your wedding makeup and hair business.

I speak to lots of MUAs and hairdressers who started in salon and have now moved onto mobile and appointment-based services for weddings and other special occasions. Often, they never had T and C’s when they worked in salon or in a shop – so think they don’t need any now. Sorry to burst your bubble, but what happens about products you use with your clients which cause allergies?

It’s not possible to exclude all liability in your contract for causing death or injury with the products you use or the services you supply – there’s legislation (The Unfair Contract Terms Act) and other consumer protections which means that a blanket exclusion of liability is ‘unfair’ in the legal sense and therefore unenforceable, but there are things you can do to better protect yourself.

Firstly – do you have a documented process of the questions you ask your customers about allergies, reactions and such potential hazards? If not, why not. Could you demonstrate with evidence that you had asked the right questions of your client, and had properly and reasonably investigated what potential risks there were? This means asking the question “Are there any allergies or irritants that you have previously reacted to that I should be aware of?” and documenting the response at the time of, or preferably before, the booking is confirmed. Do you do a patch test? If that investigation gives rise to a reasonable belief of a potential risk, have you gained additional evidence that you asked further questions or undertook tests to ascertain if you could really provide the services or goods requested.

Can certain products be avoided? Can you guarantee the absence of certain allergens, if required? Can you show evidence (and it needs to be written – email or otherwise) of what you asked and what you were told?

I’d suggest this is at the point of booking and again at the point of delivery.

Secondly –  do your Terms set out your obligations as clearly as possible – and make it the clients responsibility to inform you of any changes in circumstances or the needs and requirements of any one else they request to receive your services ( bridesmaids, MOTB, MOTG) If not -they need to. If you provide services to under 16’s you will need to show parental consent, preferably in writing to your services being given to a young person who cannot consent for themselves. For those old enough to remember – this is the Gillick ruling which said children over 16 can decide and consent to treatment for themselves. Without consent, you may be guilty of an assault – with a blusher brush….!

Finally, make sure your public liability cover is sufficient for the needs of your business – get your broker to check this. Need a broker? Get in touch.

Take a look at our contractual solutions for MUA’s and Hairdressers on the site here.

Facebook LIVES next week as we launch our group : join us?

We have a sparkly new FB group for you to join, and our LAUNCHING EVENTS are next week. These are going to be about Contact Basics – the Why? the When? and the How?

Monday 23rd September at 6.30pm we are looking at WHY it is essential to have T and C’s – a client contract. The key reasons you can’t afford not to….

Wednesday 25th September at 6.30pm we are looking at WHEN you might use one? When does a wedding business start to need one? When do you produce your Terms to your clients?

Thursday 26th September at 6.30pm we will tell you about some solutions, giving you an honest appraisal of the price points for them, where to look and where you can access a variety of options – not just ours.

Join the group here and come and join us for these LIVES.

We are Your Legal Fairy Godmother, after all….