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. This lead us to talking about the importance of collaborators and supporters.

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.

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

Does this resonate?

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 collaborators and supporters, 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

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….

Legal Advice Videos For Wedding Suppliers

Yes – you heard it here first. Stanford Gould Group has a new YouTube channel and you can subscribe to see our legal advice videos for wedding suppliers.

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

We have posted some legal advice videos for wedding suppliers about our favourite subject, GDPR of course, and there’s plenty of reading materials on this blog too. There’s also 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 YouTube 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? Lawyer turned YouTube sensation? Who knows!

Working On The Business, Not In The Business – Small Business Advice

This week I’ve taken a holiday. It’s 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. Click here to check them out, then get working on the business!

Happy contemplating, people.

Florists Dealing With Cancellations – Contract Advice

I’m here today with some legal advice for florists dealing with cancellations at the last minute. This month, I’ve had a series of enquiries from florists who have been properly shafted by unexpected ‘last-minute’ cancellations.

No warning signs. After all the design work, ideas, creative input and suggestions, but before the florist actually purchased the blooms. In these cases, ‘value’ has been provided in spades, but with lost booking, lost payments lost income and lost opportunity.

Florists Dealing With Cancellations – Where Do You Stand?

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 florists dealing with cancellations at the last minute.

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

How Close To The Event Is The Cancellation?

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.

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 Faced When Dealing With Cancellations

The third problem is where a client gets ‘stroppy’ (Midlander’s expression – hope it translates…) 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 peace of mind.

Contract Advice For Wedding Suppliers – With A Contract Template Thrown In…

Welcome to Stanford Gould Online! We’re offering contract advice for wedding suppliers that need legal advice on their 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, stationers, and designers click here.

Alternatively, 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……