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

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….

YouTube sensation …. legal advice videos for wedding suppliers

Yes – you heard it here first.

Stanford Gould Group have a new YouTube channel and you can subscribe to see our videos dealing with all sorts of legal and contractual issues for wedding suppliers.

So, what content is there already available on this channel?

We have posted some videos about our favourite subject, GDPR of course, and there’s plenty of reading materials on this blog too – and there’s a video to view about why you need a client contract – also you can read this blog.

If you have a client contract – do you use it right? Otherwise it becomes a useless expensive piece of paper – or in this day and age more likely a PDF attachment you never use. There’s a video on the You Tube channel to view about that too.

Do you work in collaboration with other suppliers – do you know what your contractual rights and obligations are in those arrangements. There are 4 videos to watch about working collaboratively – so maybe viewing them is your homework for the week.

We would love some feedback from you on the channel and if you have a request for a video topic – let us know?

Wedding suppliers :Working on the business, not in the business

This week I’ve taken a holiday. Its August. The sun was (!!) shining. The pace has dropped. The demands are lessened. But I’m still working. You hear the phrase ‘working on the business’ regularly, but I’m not sure wedding suppliers really know and understand what that is, and how important it can be when you work alone.

Working on the business – so, what is it? Coaches and mentors use this expression a lot, and it can be hi -viz on social media too. For me, its about turning on the ‘out of office’ and stopping the distractions of email and telephone calls (and social media posting too!!) and spending some time thinking, writing, dreaming about what you do. What works well ? What could be better? What do you loath and detest? Note down some positives, draw and design (for me, visuals are everything, so scribbling and doodling really work well) identify some changes you need to make, and then create a plan to deal with SOME, not all, of these musings.

…whilst consuming large quantities of caffeine…

I say this because ‘thinking’…and I mean properly applying your mind to a question without spinning all the other usual plates you have on the go….(easy said than…..editor) can generate an awful lot of activity and the last thing you need after the thought process is paralysis in actioning any of it.

Chose one thing to change and do it. That might be the easiest thing, or it might be the biggest thing, but just chose something and make a change.

If you are really struggling to see the wood from the trees, I recommend having a chat with a great coach or mentor, ( I know a few!) maybe someone from your sector, or some other business owner who ‘gets it’ and can help you through the thinking, to some actions. There are also some great books and planning journals if you like that sort of thing – see this earlier blog for inspiration.

So for SGOL, I have been working on new templates for new suppliers…new icons and logos for the website and new packages and prices to help more of you lovely lot get organised contractually – bookmark our page and then watch this space for September…

Happy contemplating, people.

Legal advice for cake makers and bakers – cancellations

Wedding Cake Makers and Bakers : Creating a personalised product? what you need to know about cancellations…

You can create the most beautiful ‘to order’ and often specifically personalised baked goods: gorgeous ‘eatables’ that extract ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from their reception and party guests, but are you clear about what happens if your client changes their mind?

If you create bespoke goods in the wedding industry what are the rights of your customers to cancel their order once placed? Is there any right to cancel? And if so, how does affect your business?

Most of your customers will be consumers and thus have certain rights to cancel a contract for goods or services, within some time limits. However, if they are purchasing personalised goods, then this right is significantly curtailed, and only if the goods are faulty does a right to cancel then arise. Your contract should be clear about this and inform your customer of this more limited right to cancel personalised orders.

Clearly this is because there’s not a lot you can do with a Bear Grylls inspired Amazon River Crossing themed cake that you created because ‘that’s where they got engaged’….

Do your T and C’s cover this situation?

Be careful if you also offer non-personalised items, such as cupcakes or other more standard cake and pudding menu items, as they will still be capable of cancellation in some circumstances – in particular if they have purchased on line or ‘at distance’. The time periods are tight and other obligations need to be satisfied but there is a difference.

Contact us for more advice if you are in a dilemma about your rights and those of your customers…

…and with very grateful thanks to Nat of Ruby Lous Cakes for the fab cakey image…..feeling peckish now….

Image courtesy of www.photosbylanty.co.uk

Legal Advice for Florists – ‘last minute’ cancellations

Legal Advice for Florists – last minute cancellations. This month I’ve had a series of enquiries from florists who have been properly shafted by unexpected ‘last minute’ cancellations.

Or at the very least , relatively late in the day. No warning signs. After all the design work, ideas, creative input and suggestions, but before the florist actually purchased the blooms.

‘Value’ provided in spades, but lost booking, lost payments, lost income and lost opportunity.

Where do you stand?

  • I’m afraid again the starting point is your contract. Your Terms and Conditions. What do they say about cancellation and payments? The two sections of your Terms that deal with payments and cancellations should correlate.  They don’t? You better have a look at this solution

Don’t be left in a position where your contract terms entitle you to additional payments from a client who has cancelled their contract. You will most probably struggle to extract any spondoolies …  Usually the deposit payment is lost – but even this can be challenged if that is not writing!

So, if you do nothing else after reading this blog, make that deposit non-refundable. That’s great, simple advice for such ‘last minute’ cancellation situations.

Florists can look at some additional tips about deposits in other SGOL blogs too…

  • Next – how close to the date is it? What payments or cancellation fees are due? AGAIN, this really must be in writing to be enforceable.

(You sure you don’t need one of these…….? Editor)

What are your chances of filling this date with another event or function? Hopefully you have payment provisions that allow you to get paid well in advance of incurring the fees of actually purchasing flowers for an event – if not – why not!

This is a massive risk if a florist starts to order stock without making sure you have the money from the client.

  • The third problem is where a client gets ‘stroppy’ (Midlander’s expression – hope it translates…Editor) with you – and this is where many of my enquiries have started…because you are no longer providing the flowers, and the client thinks they should be entitled to some money back.

Is your floristry contract clear about the fees that are payable in a cancellation situation, even if you haven’t actually yet provided all or any of the goods and services? If not, you may be restricted to only your actual loss if someone cancels; that’s the loss of profit not the loss of income. Two very different prospects.

If you are unsure if your terms cover these situations – get a fixed price review with Stanford Gould and I can advise you if your T and C’s need some firming up. Or get a fresh set here for the fixed price of £225.00 – it’s got to be worth that for your piece of mind.

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……

Who’s to blame for a spelling mitsake? Wedding bespoke print and stationery providers – are your Terms clear?

Who’s to blame for a spelling mitsake? Wedding bespoke print and stationery providers – are your Terms clear?

As its World Stationery Day today we are concentrating on those fabulous creatives who use the printed word to make beautiful goods and stationery for the wedding sector.

But what happens if the proverbial hits… and you get a spelling error, or a detail wrong? Who is responsible in this situation and how can it be resolved?

The first port of call is your client contract – your Terms and Conditions. Are they clear about proof reading, mock up and sign off, and who must undertake this? Are they clear about who must sign off any proposed printing? Can one of the couple approve on behalf of both? Or do you require a second ‘yes’?

Secondly – are your Terms clear about absolving you of liability in the event of a mistake where the error has been correctly signed off? What do your Terms say about what happens next in this situation? These things DO happen so what’s the clear position in your Terms about what you do in that situation – or perhaps more importantly what you do NOT have to do (another print run? for example)

They really need to be. If your Terms aren’t specific about proof reading and signing off the printed goods you produce – get them reviewed – here’s our option if you need help with this.

Secondly – take a look at your processes. How do you get the proof approved? By email? In person? Do you have an evidence trail of what you sent or produced and what version of the bespoke printed goods was approved? Do you have an evidence trail of the approval from the client? Could you prove to a court (that’s ‘on the balance of probabilities’ – or in simple terms ‘its more likely than not’) that they saw the error and yet still approved it? If not, you need to look carefully at your processes for sign off by your client as well as your contractual terms. One without the other isn’t much help to you.

If the terms are clear that the customer must sign off and you have evidence this was done, then any costs associated with a reprint (including expedited costs, if necessary) can be properly left to the customer to pay. If your Terms are silent, or inadequate, you could end up on the end of that printing bill to put right the mistake you made.

If you need any help with these issues – get in touch? We’d love to hear your story of a spelling error that went unnoticed….anonymised obviously!