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.

Legal advice for wedding suppliers – a training offer with a contract template thrown in…

Wedding suppliers who need legal advice on your terms and conditions?

Get in touch if you are a wedding supplier and need legal advice about your contract and a template sorting – in under an hour you will receive training and get a contract template completed and be good to go

Planners, photographers, stylists and hirers, florists, cake bakers and makers, stationary printers and designers click here

or email us heather@stanfordgouldonline.co.uk

Advice on partnerships : avoiding the pitfalls

In our last blog we talked about the difference between a limited company and a sole trader – and that provoked quite a response! If you missed it – catch it here. Today we look at problematic advice on partnerships and some of the pitfalls to avoid.

Partnerships are a very old concept and defined very loosely as ‘persons carrying on a business in common with a view of profit’ and only excludes those in an incorporated body (a limited company set up) or a group created by statute or Royal Charter (no, not you guys!) so covers everyone who is working jointly with someone else – and this is important – even if they didn’t intend to actually create a partnership.

So, you can create a partnership by accident (how weird is that…) without intention and indeed even if you have tried to avoid such a thing, and once created, partnerships can only be regulated in one of two ways:

  • By a contract in writing – you have a Partnership Agreement that sets out how the partnership works and such matters as termination, dissolution, adding new partners, how you run the accounting processes etc. It can include restrictions on what partners can do as part of or as well as their work for the partnership, and after departure.  They often run to many pages and can have complex structures dealing with departure of existing partners and additions of new partners in particular.
  • In the absence of a contract in writing, or if your Partnership Agreement is silent on any aspect, then there’s some really bad news – you are subject to the Partnership Act 1890 – a comprehensive piece of legislation that imposes all sorts of rights and obligations on partners whether you like it or not. Given this Act was passed in the 19th Century you can imagine how clunky and very ‘not fit for purpose’ this is in the modern age. Pitfall to be avoided!!!!!

You will see often in contracts with freelancers or associates a clause that states specifically that no partnership is being created between the parties who would otherwise satisfy the very wide definition of a partnership – that’s why its there. You do not want to be in partnership with your freelancer assistants usually – and neither do they wish to be in that arrangement with you. Its important this clause features large in your freelancer contracts.

If you do need to go into business with other people, usually the simpler and cleaner way to do this is by shares in a limited company – far more flexibility and much easier to create and regulate what you do.

Here’s useful link about the minimum requirements for a partnership and how to run it, name it and adhere to your obligations.

Take advice. To get your FREE fact sheet on the difference between Limited Companies Partnerships and Sole Traders – just get in touch at enquiries@stanfordgouldonline.co.uk with email header FACT SHEET and we will send that to you pronto. And we promise to be good to our GDPR word and not surreptitiously add you to a data base for future marketing…. cos that’s how we roll.

Limited company or sole trader – what’s the difference? and what’s the best option for me?

What IS the difference? and does it matter?

In short – yes it does matter.
Its still quite surprising how many small businesses use phrases like ‘our company’ and ‘we’re in partnership’ and ‘MD’ when describing their business, or their roles in their business, often erroneously and potentially dangerously.

Lets get some things straight first.

A limited company is one registered at Companies House and which is owned and controlled by Directors and Shareholders. It has rights and responsibilities of its own – which are not the same as the rights and responsibilities of the Directors or Shareholders within it. A limited company is a separate legal ‘person’ ( that means it exists legally independent from any individual – even if there is only one shareholder/director) from its owners or controllers, and should have its own bank account, tax identity and be a party to its contracts. Sometimes Directors and Shareholders are one and the same but they don’t have to be . Not all companies have shares – some can be limited by guarantee. But for most companies its a leadership of directors and an ownership of shareholders – in very simple terms.

An unincorporated business can ether be a sole trader – a self employed person working alone – or sometimes two or a group of people working together – we’ll be looking at this in later blogs. Either way you should not refer to your business as a company, or you as a director of the company, if you are not an incorporated body.

Do you identify what your business is correctly? A limited company must state its full title and its company number on all its public correspondence – for example your website and your email footer, your Terms and Conditions, your contracts with your suppliers, your bank account – so that customers know who they are dealing with. You CANNOT use any name you want – there are some restrictions about what you can call your self so check what’s prohibited or restricted. If you have a trading name that needs to be stated as well. Here’s a helpful link if you need advice about this.

To get your FREE fact sheet on the difference between Limited Companies Partnerships and Sole Traders – just get in touch at enquiries@stanfordgouldonline.co.uk

with email header FACT SHEET and we will send that to you pronto. And we promise to be good to our GDPR word and not surreptitiously add you to a data base for future marketing…. cos that’s how we roll.

Next week…… some pros and cons……

Exhibitor at a Wedding Fair? get GDPR savvy – Part 3 : The Aftermath.

The Aftermath of the Wedding Fair – hopefully you feel good!

It was time and money well spent. A positive and productive day at the Wedding Fair. You came back with leads and you converted some of them, (all of them? I need an emoji here, but WordPress or my IT skills don’t allow….)

having chatted and previewed and showed off what you do, what you know and what you make. They were impressed. In the aftermath they become a client or customer.

Yay!

Whats next?

If they want to become a client, make sure you get T and C’s or a client contract to them as you set out the proposed works and prices, as part of the contractual basis for delivering your goods and services to them. In your terms, you should remind them of your privacy policy and the basis for processing and retaining their data is – get this added to your T and C’s now.

It’s called layering – telling the client at lots of different points in the customer experience what you are doing with their data and reminding them of their rights, and their options.

If you need help with your T and C’s try our templates…. www.stanfordgouldonline.co.uk

If you need a privacy policy have a look at the template in our GDPR Starter Pack or on the ICO website.

Anyone who is on your data base legitimately – either having given a clear consent since May 2018 – or (…and this is important) who consented under the previous regime which required very little to evidence this agreement, can continue to receive your mail chimp or other emails or electronic communications and sales info. Please ensure there is a clear opt out or unsubscribe option for them,  that is easy to use and doesn’t involve multiple tasks or clicks.

Its a good idea to annual check that the contact details you have for your Mailing List or Subscribers are still valid and up to date – your obligation to ensure data is accurate – and that they still want to receive material from you. You don’t need ANOTHER tick box checked, or positive consent reply to this – its just good housekeeping. It should not decimate your mailing list each time!

Any questions about GDPR, contracts or legal issues generally we would be happy to help. You can find us at

www.stanfordgould.co.uk 

www.stanfordgouldonline.co.uk

FB                           www.facebook.com/stanfordgould

Twitter                 @stanford_gould 

LinkedIn               https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-stanford-0033047/

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 espresso 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.