Exhibitor at a wedding fair? get GDPR savvy – Part 2 : GDPR your actions list

WOW – lots of people looked at our blog last week – did we touch a nerve? or time it right? maybe provide something really useful? We hope so… So last week we looked at some principles to remember when you are using personal data. This week it’s : GDPR your actions list.

What do you actually DO to make this work?

GDPR your actions list:

  • Before you attend

Is your website GDPR complaint? – Do you have a good privacy policy which is GDPR complaint and a ‘contact us’ page that allows the customer to opt in to receive information and offers from you with a clear consent box to tick (not pre populated….) to ensure that active and informed consent is given?

If you need help with this you could view our GDPR starter pack which includes template privacy policy and a guide to help you https://www.stanfordgould.co.uk/downloads/gdpr-starter/

  • At the event

How are you going to collect the data from these new customers/clients/contacts?

Collecting business cards, with telephone and email details?

Get them to sign a sheet which includes not only their contact details but a box to tick to opt in to receive your discounts, offers and emails or newsletters is ideal – can that work practically at the event you are going to? Can you offer an incentive to sign up? A prize draw? A discount code? Don’t make the prize too fabulous – you don’t want to be caught out by the Bribery Act, but a small gift or voucher is perfect, low value and an interesting relevant product.

Can you make this electronic? – Lots of exhibitors now use iPad and phones to get customers to part with their contact details – does this process include a clear consent box to tick or agree with options?

Do NOT have a long list on a clipboard so everyone can see everyone else’s details and information. Separate slips of paper, or customised postcards with sign up options to tick or complete, work well and most simply.

You need evidence of the consent for later if there is a question about whether they gave that consent and how from the client or the ICO ( the ‘data police’ for enforcement purposes…)

  • After the event

Once you get that box of cards or bag of reply slips home – how do you follow them up? Social media invites – should all be covered by the GDPR and privacy policies of the various social media platforms so probably you are OK to do this, without any additional consent. But make it worthwhile – a connection just to have more followers who are entirely disinterested in your business is pointless.

A short email – ‘thanks for meeting with us .. here’s our site, please sign up for your offers/news etc’ could be easily classed a legitimate business interest – NOTE: this means 1 email – not 10, when the first 9 are ignored.….

Do not be tempted to cc all your collected email address in one fell swoop later, thanking them for coming – we’ve seen it happen, honestly! This is a huge no-no. Even be careful with bcc’ing – it looks lazy – and is so easy to make a mistake – but probably complies with your GDPR obligations.

If they do come back and seek your services, you have a basis for processing. If they come back and consent to be on your mailing list, add them to the database if you hear nothing more – no follow up is really acceptable unless you can show a legitimate interest – document this!! Have proof if you are challenged that you have thought it through.

Next week we look at what happens after you get them on board…what’s the important stuff to batten down, once they are a client? If you need any help with this please do get in touch with us

Exhibitor at a wedding fair? Get GDPR savvy – Part 1

For the next three weeks we are going to be setting out some do’s and don’ts if you are planning to take part as an Exhibitor at a wedding fair this Spring.

Collecting personal data? You betcha!

You come to network, right? Collect cards and names? Possible customers? Possible suppliers? Investigate interesting quirky delivery from interesting quirky people, who you might not need or want daily, but you’ll hold on to that information, just in case…

Hopefully they do the same with your cards and business info. That’s why you signed up to be an Exhibitor at a wedding fair.

So what can you keep, what can you do with the stuff you collect –  personal data (see the link for that definition) but essentially email address, telephone numbers , information about your customers and contacts. You may also hold special category personal data ( see link for that definition) if you hold information about your customers sexual orientation or disability needs, for example. How is best kept and recorded? How do you ensure that you use it compliantly and within the limits of GDPR.

Remember there are 6 bases for lawfully processing personal data and the three most relevant for you are:

  • If you have a contract to delivering goods and services – so this covers anyone contacting you to enquire about your products or services, you can legitimately process their personal data ( that means email them, call them, write to them…) and tell them what you have and what you do, and the price! Consent is not relevant here. If they ask about what you do, you can tell them. What you cannot do is then automatically add them to a database and start sending them all sorts of offers, newsletters and other sales info which us generic and not specifically requested – UNLESS they have given consent. Which leads us nicely into….
  • Consent – here’s the reason why that tsunami of emails appeared in your inbox in the last week of May 2018….
  • Consent must be freely given and active – that means someone must do something to show consent – it cannot be assumed or implied. Tick a box, sign a form, press a button – but show that they have actively agreed to receive your information and link this to the relevant page of your website by asking them to view the terms of your privacy policy at the point that they give that consent.
  • Legitimate business interest: the catch-all provision. As long as you can say that your processing was for a legitimate business interest, you can process the data when you are not yet selling goods or service to the client and you do not have clear consent. BUT you must be able to justify this if challenged.

A good way to view this would be if you received a business card or a contact number whist at a network event and you followed this up with an email to introduce your business or a product – that’s probably justifiable as legitimate interest. Adding them to your database and sending them your regular monthly newsletter or special offers and discounts every time you have a sales push is definitely NOT legitimate interest. If you want to do that, your initial email needs to include an option for them to actively opt in to that receipt. If they don’t do this, you shouldn’t follow up. If you do, be prepared to have a very good reason to justify that action.

Next week we’ll be looking at your TO DO list as an Exhibitor before, during and after the wedding fair to ensure compliance and evidence gathering (or is that bottom covering….) or you can check out our other blogs on this topic here….https://www.stanfordgouldonline.co.uk/category/gdpr-for-wedding-suppliers/

The network is working hard…Social and Works calendar round-up –

Today I’m not bothering with helpful legal tips, training and help with your contracts. I’m just writing a blog about brilliant people I’ve met, worked with or seen in the last 7 days – cos I’ve had an awesome couple of weeks! The network is working hard.

On Friday I had the pleasure of being invited to A Most Curious Party by the fabulous Ellie Kime – the Wedding Enthusiast – who had invited me to write a GDPR blog for the exhibitors at the Show. Great evening meeting eclectic and creative genius folk, off Brick Lane in London, whilst sipping expresso martinis – a tough gig, I’m sure you’d agree!

On Saturday – just round the comer the fabulous ladies of Planning Redefined were out in force with newbie wedding planners having a training and mentoring afternoon – and the feedback from the participants was excellent. Almost full up for the next session I hear…. Some contacted me through social media after the event, for legal help, even though I didn’t attend myself. This is when the power of doing good work, having a great reputation and a loyal and grateful network comes into its own- they did the ‘sell’ for me.

Today I’ve been out into the wilds of Leicestershire with the bunch from Above and Beyond… with great food from Thomas the Caterer and the effervescent Val Mattinson rounding up the troops for lovely informal coffee and chat with wedding suppliers of all sorts.

And finally, next week I’m training a group at Urban Weddings’ Manchester Wedding Supplier network meeting – talking all things contracts and compliance. Really looking forward to meeting Chelle and Zoey, and new folk and helping some businesses from the North West region at the event.

If I have the energy and the time, I may call into the Unconventional Wedding supplier meet up on Wednesday as well. I’m passing on the cat section of that afternoon (Linzi Barford….you all know what I mean….)

So, there’s the round up of events and networks and lovely people I’ve had dealings with and am fortunate enough to meet over these 2 weeks. I really hope I play a part in helping these networks keep on giving and sharing and promoting and nurturing all our member businesses.

Fanfare please…our first Guest Blog – 6 Ways to Protect Your Business

SGOL love to add value to your visits to our blog page so we have invited some trusted contacts to Guest Blog to share some tips and tricks for micro business owners – some added value, something a little wider than just legal….

In this insightful guest blog post from Jon Page of Neon Financial Planning, we look at 6 ways of protecting your business…

  1. Plan. All good things start with a plan. Think about what would happen to the business without you (or someone else key) in it. How would the business continue to trade? Could it deliver on contracts that are already in progress? If you employ staff, what would happen to them? As they saying goes, prevention is better than cure so identify those problems and put a plan in place to keep things stable.
  • Agree. If several of you own a business jointly, you should have a shareholders’ agreement in place, setting out what you want to happen to your shares if one of you dies or is seriously ill. And alongside that you will usually need insurance (called shareholder protection) which pays out enough for your shares to be bought by the others and makes sure your family don’t lose out.
  • Evolve. Things change fast, and consumer trends can be fickle. It’s not that long ago people rented DVD’s from Blockbuster, bought Christmas presents from Toys R Us and got a new mobile from Phones 4U. Get regular feedback from your customers, keep up with peers and competitors (monitoring social media sites is a great way of doing this) and network to get other people’s views on the industry.
  • Insure. You insure the tangible bits of your business as a matter of course, but the true value of a business is often the skills, talent and creativity of the people within it. If a key person within the business becomes ill or dies, you are going to have a problem. Having insurance (such as Key Person) buys you time. The business can use the insurance money to pay staff, service debt, recruit replacement staff and make up for lost revenue or relationships.
  • Diversify. If your business income stream relies on one product, one key person or a couple of big customers then it can easily be interrupted. Consider reducing the dependency of your business with some diversification. A ‘side hustle’ if you will. If you have the time. Then Freelancing, providing business coaching or attending trade fairs can open up new avenues. If you are short for time, consider passive income streams such as improving online sales, participate in affiliate marketing, renting part of your office space to another business or advertising your parking space to the public if you are in a prime location?
  • Save. Last, but certainly not least is cash flow. It’s the biggest risk to any small and medium sized business. Try to work out your monthly operating costs and then build up a reserve of at least 3-6 months held in cash – you never know when business may dry up so this is vital to keep things going. It can be difficult to do this, especially for a start-up, so you may also want to consider trying to establish other means of a cash reserve, such as grant funding, a bank loan or angel investing.

The good news is that you’re not on your own. The team at Neon Financial Planning have a range of services that include arranging insurances (along with a whole host of other useful planning services). They can also offer coaching sessions if you just want to talk things through and get a second opinion. All the services can be easily booked online, and you can even book a video call with them at a time to suit you too. Nice and easy!

Managing expectations- a painful lesson from real life.

Managing expectations – a lesson from real life

This is me.

Pole axed. Crooked. Stuffed. Literally working with my hands tied (that’s my typing arm….)

and it got me thinking this week about what I can actually do despite this challenge, what extra things I need to put in place and, perhaps most relevant to this blog, – what do I tell my clients and make sure I am managing expectations?

I’ve figured out that I can do the work- it’s taking me longer and its frustrating me, but it can be done. I’ve roped in a teenage child on half term hols to type a few things, and a husband on his day off to drive me to see a client – it’s all in the collaborations and the planning! But I’ve also had to tell clients about the enforced go-slow, and to shift some deadlines to make them comfortable to achieve. That means prioritising some jobs and proactively communicating with those who may have a slightly extended delivery.

There’s nothing more irritating in the life of a customer when you have instructed someone to do something – provide a service – or have ordered goods – to then be greeted with the wall of silence. No updates. No progress. No product! We all know a quick call to say – no news but I’m checking in – can be so important to managing those customer expectations.

Contracts – or Terms and Conditions – is another way of managing the clients’ expectations and demands. Setting out the rules before you start to play the game. No contract can ever be water tight – and beware a lawyer who tells you any different! – but at least you have some structure, some rules and some protection to ensure that what the customer thinks you are going to do is in fact what you are going to do. Sounds simple – right? Not always.

If you want a steer about managing your clients’ expectations – please do get in touch. My left handed index finger typing speed is improving daily!

Valentine’s madness – design tips for florists

When the dust settles on this year’s Valentine’s Day madness, some very tired and hopefully full pocketed florists might take a moment and read this blog… Grab a cuppa, put your feet up and take a well-deserved rest after all that manic running around. We have some design tips for you.

So, hands up who has posted pics on Instagram and Facebook of the gorgeous arrangements and gifts they created for Valentine’s Day?

(Busiest day of the year for florists – you missed a trick if you didn’t…..)

Most of you? If not all of you savvy social media types? Great work and obviously a fabulous way to get your styles and your design brilliance out there and hopefully attract new customers. But here’s our top Valentine’s Day design tips for florists : do you make sure you have the right to use photographs of your work for promotional purposes in your T and C’s?

If you own a shop and create florals for walk in purchase, the likelihood is that you don’t need to worry too much about written T and Cs. In general, you sell goods to consumers and their rights are well enshrined in legislation so having anything additional for those (shall I be a bit sexist here, and say ‘men’) who ‘call in’ for a Valentine’s bouquet ready created, off the shelf so to speak, isn’t necessary.

But what about those bespoke commissions? How do you deal with them? Do you take a deposit? Have instalment payment options? Do you avoid cancellations and changes to the brief unless you can tweak your price? You have T and C’s for this, right?

Good – I do hope so (if not here’s a solution for you…)

But do you also include the right to use photographs of the work you produce for your own promotional purposes? When you have created a spectacular centre piece, a stunning bouquet of red roses, or a beautiful wedding posy – you want to ‘show and tell’ don’t you? Best to have written into your terms: firstly, your right to the design – maybe commercially you are unlikely to be asserting your design rights in an IP claim but none the less you should protect your design rights, and secondly you want the right to show off. Pop a term in your client contract.

If your social media posts are non-client specific its less tricky, but if you would like the option to say who you work with, you need some term in your contract to ensure that you have their agreement. Most florists I’ve worked with don’t just rely on this agreement in the midst of their T and Cs – they also get specific consent from their customers if they are to be named too. It’s a very good idea.

If you want help to create your T and C’s – why not check out our template options here.

Wedding Stylist hire contracts – legally compliant or complacent?

Does your business have stylist hire contracts for props and decorative items for weddings and parties? Do you source bespoke requests, and style rooms and locations with yours, and others, fabulous ‘kit’?

Vintage Stylist? Opulent backdrops? Fairy lights and lanterns? Themed gorgeousness?

That’s you – right?

What do you know about these?

Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013

Trips off the tongue, doesn’t it? I’m sure you read them nightly as you drift off to sleep with classical music and cocoa….as obviously I do……

….and how they affect stylist hire contracts and cooling off periods (no that’s not code for leaving this blog and getting an iced drink…read on.)

Wedding stylists and planners if you are hiring kit to your customers, are your stylist hire contracts complying with the Regs?

The big take away from this blog today is cancellation periods and deposits. These regulations mean that any customer entering into a stylist hire contract must be able to cancel the contract and get their deposit back in full if they request to cancel and do so within 14 days of entering the contract. Whilst disappointing, and clearly potentially having an effect on cash flow for a small biz, usually this will not be an issue when providing the services and the hired goods, as customers generally book more than 2 weeks before the date for hire.

Think about why that’s relevant. So that you don’t rock up with the stuff and then find they have the contractual right to cancel…not an easy situation for anyone….

However – what happens in the last minute.com situation – panic hiring – how do you get around this? Well, we have a solution.

In addition to some decent T and Cs which reference the cancellation period required by the Regulations, (you don’t have one? Get one here….) you can have a separate document – which complies with the regs – to waive this right. Your would-be last-ditch hirer can sign this to exclude the possibility of the deposit being refunded and the contract cancelled.

Interested? Contact us and we will help you get it right.

Wedding Photographer – photos lost without trace?

Wedding Photographer- Ever had that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when the delete button gets accidentally pressed, or the recycle bin just doesn’t have that file anywhere, and you’ve searched every hard drive in your office without success, and you finally realise that you’ve lost them, those wedding photographs – lost without trace. Forever.

These things really DO happen!

Last week I had a very panicky call from an existing client – an excellent wedding photographer who I know is the consummate professional and an amazing creative talent. About 18 months ago he was one of the first wedding photographers for whom I created some terms and conditions for his business.

He was stressing because something catastrophic had happened which was entirely out of his control, and he was, to put it mildly, in a pickle. An IT problem had meant that he has lost some of the photographs for a wedding client and they were irretrievable, despite his best efforts and an awful lot of time spent by his IT provider.

They were gone…into the ether…

Result?

Very worried photographer. Inconsolable bride. Cross groom. Very stressed IT chap…..but much LESS concerned professional indemnity insurer.

So why was that?

Because his Terms and Conditions limited his liability in this circumstance to a fixed amount well within his insurance cover. He knew that whatever the losses claimed by the couple, as a result of his ‘cock -up’, his insurer would cover them, and the couple would be financially compensated because his T and C’s would lawfully limit the claim.

Outcome?

Panicked photographer salved, very upset couple getting some sort of compensation for this loss, insurer happy to deal within the terms of the policy and …..

……..contract provider Stanford Gould feeling a little bit smug about getting it right in the T and C’s.

If you need your contracts reviewed and your liabilities restricted, check out the contract templates here and please take some advice from us. Its complex, but if you get it right, it could be a life saver.

Wedding Planners offer

An offer for the Wedding Planners today…

Ever had a ‘mare with a linen company you have hired from, on behalf of a client at trade rates and then been landed with an expensive clean up? And the client wasn’t obligated to pay?

We have devised a simple contract template for Wedding Planners to use with their clients to get an indemnity ( that’s a legal expression for a promise to repay) if you hire goods direct through your trade contacts for a reduced fee, and end up receiving a damage or cleaning bill after the event. The contract will allow you to recover your loss from your clients.

It will work for linen or other goods that you may hire directly for your events but need your clients to provide funds in the event of damage or loss to those hired goods.

It’s an add on to Wedding Planners main T and C’s or client contract, and simple to use. The best news is, it’s yours for £50.00 , our special offer for this week.

Please email us heather@stanfordgould.co.uk if you would like to purchase .

Legal advice for bakers and cake makers – 3 reasons why you MUST get a deposit.

“I don’t like to ask for a deposit for cakes”

Really??? Here’s my 3 reasons why you MUST!

  •  ‘Your time and effort IS money’

Bakers, if you are asked to bake a magnificent cake, or a selection of yummy things for an event, often months, if not years, ahead, there are two things your deposit should cover. Don’t be shy! You should ask, and your customer will expect to provide one.

First and foremost, it is to cover your time to create and deliver the goods, including planning, shopping, and cooking – and then, most importantly, not booking other money-spinning activities around the date. All this time needs to be accounted for and a deposit will secure these time slots. Secondly, your ingredients and equipment need to be purchased. You should not be out of pocket for those, so our firm advice here is don’t take on a liability to plan, work and purchase items without taking a down payment for these efforts.

A contract in writing with a clear payment schedule, and cancellation clauses, (more on this in other blogs and to follow…) is a must. We have a template especially created for wedding bakers and cake makers to buy here that does this… and then, you are sorted!

  •  ‘How much should the deposit be?’

In general terms a deposit should be a proportion of the fee (so a 95% deposit is clearly a non starter….) I would suggest up to 50% of the total cost – no more! If all you are doing is securing the date, a smaller percentage may be appropriate, but this will depend on time scale. It’s easier to justify a higher percentage deposit if you are being booked closer to the event date. Why? Because if you have a long lead time then the chances of you getting alternative work on a date in 3 years’ time are much higher than getting alternative work in say 3 months.

  • ‘Can it be non-refundable?’

Yes, if you have been clear about this in your contract. There are some rules about online contracts and cancellation periods so do be careful if you are exclusively dealing with online enquiries. However, most bakers will have more interaction with their clients to secure a booking than simply an online enquiry. It may start with that, but you will chat, you may meet, you may go through menu choices and flavour combinations. This all has an impact on the online cancellation requirements so take advice, and I don’t mean from the internet….

Think about when cancellation might occur and how much time you need to actually create your bake – is it a week? Two? 48 hours? Much will depend on what you have agreed to make, its shelf life, storage options and availability of ingredients. All of these factors could have a bearing on the cancellation period you allow, and the refunding of all or part of any deposit paid. Be explicit in your contract.

Buy our online template for bakers and cake makers today,  or contact Stanford Gould if we can help.