7 Mistakes to Avoid When Opening a Business Bank Account

When you’ve just begun a new business venture, one of the first things that you’re advised to do is open up a business account for the company. But, when you’re opening a business bank account, there are somethings that you’re going to want to avoid at all costs.

What should be avoided? We’re glad you asked because in this article we’re going to give you a list of things that you should try to avoid doing at all costs.

1. Incomplete Account Information

When you attend your account opening appointment, ensure that you’ve got all the documentation you need. And if you’re not sure if the document is required it’s best to bring it along just in case.

Before attending your meeting when setting up the appointment check with the bank about what documentation is required. This will reduce the likelihood that you don’t have all the information needed to begin setting up your account.

Having missing information could mean having to reschedule your appointment altogether.

2. Using Your SSN Instead of FEIN

If you’re not aware of what these initials stand for the first is your social security number and the next one is your federal employer identification number. When you arrive for your meeting ensure that the number you place on your account is your FEIN and not your SSN.

Many business owners that are just starting out make the mistake of placing their SSN on the account, which can prove problematic in the future especially when it’s time to fill out tax documents for your business taxes.

Anything that requires a number for your business should almost always feature the FEIN that was assigned to you when you filled out the paperwork to register your company as an LLC.

3. Having One Account

Some people may think that there’s no way they’re going to mix up the money that’s deposited into their account if they keep one account for personal and business needs. But, the reason that it’s recommended you have separate accounts is so that you don’t experience issues when it comes to doing your taxes, accounting needs, etcetera.

Another reason that you want to keep your accounts separate is that you’ll want to refrain from being tempted to reach into the money that is designated to the company. And if you’ve only got one account, it can be challenging to differentiate between your personal funds and the business funds.

4. Check-Signing Access

If you’ve got a business partner or plan to take on one in the future, you need to ensure that you provide them with access to sign checks. If you don’t provide your partner with check-signing access you’ll be the only one able to deposit checks or a check may be flagged if your partner attempts to sign it.

To avoid wasting time and becoming frustrated, ensure that you’ve taken care of this minor detail beforehand. You never know when you’ll need that check deposited, or you may be out of time and not able to do it yourself.

5. Picking the Wrong Bank

Not all banks are created equal, nor do they all offer the features that you would be looking for when it comes to opening your business account with them. The bank you choose may have strict limitations on what they will allow a new business owner to take out when it comes to business credit.

Another thing you’ll want to watch out for are banks that are new and not as well known. The reason that you want to steer clear of these banks is for the protection of your company money.

When it comes to your business banking account, you want to make sure that you’re able to meet the requirements of the bank and protect your money at the same time.

6. Minimum Monthly Balance and Fees

Another common mistake made by small business owners is not taking note of the minimum monthly balance. This means that at the end of every month, your account must have a specific amount in it or you’ll face some kind of monetary penalty.

You’ll also want to ask about any monthly maintenance fees that will be deducted from the account. It’s also beneficial to ask if there’s anything that you can do on your side that will wave additional fees such as making a large transfer to your business savings account.

Speaking of your business savings account the typical bank will only allow you to make a specific number o withdrawals from this account every month. If you exceed the number of acceptable withdrawals, you may face a monetary fine.

7. Ordering the Wrong Checks

Ensure that when you’re ordering checks for your business, the correct name is printed on the checks. Some people make the mistake of using other names or their personal names on the check instead of putting the name of the business.

The reason that this is problematic is that when a processor of a payment goes to put a payment through to prevent fraud, they ensure that the name on the check is legit. If your name or another company name appears, then it could lead them to flag the payment as a fraudulent payment.

This would then leave you having to be on a lengthy phone call explaining the mistake and inevitably having to order all new checks. Avoid this from the beginning and ensure that the checks you’ve ordered for your business have the legal name of the business that appears on all your company paperwork.

Trust us, no one wants to deal with the headache of having to wait for checks to arrive in the mail.

Business Bank Account Mistakes Avoided

Now that you know all of the mistakes not to make when opening your business bank account, you can open your account. Avoiding the mistakes listed above will help you to save valuable time and frustrations correcting your mistakes.

If you’ve found this article useful, then you’re going to want to check out some of our other articles. Our site focuses on providing engaging and informative content about things like finance and business every day.

You won’t want to miss out on the advice offered on our site.

Working from home: Are you breaking confidentiality laws?

What happens to confidential waste while working from home?
 

With employees working from home because of the Covid-19 outbreak, how safe is the information they’re accessing and disposing of now it’s out of the office?

According to one specialist waste handling organisation, remote working means new headaches for companies and their data security.

UK waste collection agency BusinessWaste.co.uk knows that even during the crisis of a pandemic, confidential waste must be disposed of correctly in order to protect businesses and their customers from fraud or blackmail.

“Even if people are working from home, they need to be mindful that any waste they create needs to be destroyed in the same ways it would if they were in the office,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk  company spokesperson Mark Hall. Companies could still be in line for massive fines if they get it wrong, Hall warns.

What counts as confidential waste?

Essentially, confidential waste refers to documents possessed by any company that can expose discrete information about suppliers, customers, or employees.

“Basically, if it details any information about the nature of your work or anyone associated, then it counts as confidential information which will need proper disposal,” says spokesman Mark Hall.

However, it can be very tricky to distinguish what counts as confidential waste, as many businesses work with different mediums of materials.

BusinessWaste.co.uk has compiled a list of different types of confidential waste, making it easier to understand which work-related items will need expert disposal.

  • Personnel files and contracts – including CVs and application letters
  • Financial records – such as order forms, invoices, bills and statements
  • Health and social care records
  • Criminal Records
  • Business cards, ID badges, and security passes
  • Letters, memos, and other items containing names and addresses.
  • New business proposals and business plans
  • Used notebooks
  • Product samples or profiles
  • Research data
  • Diaries
  • Photographs

“If you’re working from home, you need to be aware that any of these resources could contain confidential details which could be dangerous in the wrong hands,” says Hall.

“So please make sure you or your staff don’t throw this information into the household waste!”

What could happen if it’s not disposed of properly?             

Failing to dispose of confidential waste can lead to a variety of outcomes, ranging from prosecutions under the law to identity theft and fraud.

“Your company could fall victim to industrial espionage, so it’s really important to make sure that private information cannot be leaked to rival companies through improper disposal,” says Hall.

Although it might be easier to just chuck all rubbish into your household waste bin, there are legal implications such as breaching the UK 1988 Data Protection Act, which regulates the collecting, storing, and destroying of confidential data.

Any companies that fail to oblige the act can face crippling fines from the UK data watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office.

“This is serious stuff that could ruin a company’s reputation and lose customers,” says Hall, “and if you’re the one discovered to be doing it, you could be fired.”

Confidential waste needs to be disposed of by a licensed waste removal company in order to comply with the latest laws and guidelines.

Actions you can take now

BusinessWaste.co.uk recommends that all members of staff be reminded about company policies regarding waste, and firmly told not to chuck any work materials into their household rubbish.

Mark Hall says that in an ideal world, sensitive information should not leave the office, so the best thing for businesses to do is to try to restrict what is essential and needs to be taken home.

Another suggestion from Hall is to make as many work tasks computer-based as possible, with sensitive files only accessible from a secure device approved by your company.

 “The best thing you can do if you’re unsure is to keep all information secure and together at your home workspace, and when it is safe to do so, take it all back to work for proper disposal,” says Hall.

“If in doubt, don’t chuck it out.”

For further information see https://www.businesswaste.co.uk/confidential-waste/ and https://www.businesswaste.co.uk/waste-transfer-note-faqs/

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Managed IT Services

The way different companies used to do business has been changed dramatically in the last few years. Now, there are the latest and modern solutions for companies and businesses in order to enhance their productivity and grow their businesses.

Managed services for businesses have genuinely revolutionized the start-up culture. There are different kinds of service providers for your business all around the globe. It means you don’t have to a separate department for everything. Instead, you can just get managed services. For example, Managed IT services for small and mid-sized organizations are easily available, and you can easily take benefits from it.

Woman Holding Laptop Beside Glass Wall

Here are some of the reasons that make managed IT services a must-have for your business:

 Efficient and Reliable IT Operations

When it comes to IT operations, you need to have an efficient and reliable team to take care of the important things. It is only possible when you have a team full of experts to perform on-demand IT support. Therefore, if you get managed IT services, you’ll know that you have a collaborative partner to make things easy for your business. Hence, you’ll be able to focus on matters other than IT support.

Enhanced Compliance and Security

IT management services make sure that they provide ultimate compliance and security to your business. If you have an in house IT team, then if things go south and there is a security breach, your system will be compromised. So, you’ll have to spend a good deal of money to make sure that you have unbreakable security. But, if you get managed services, then they will take care of all the security details for your business.

Proactive Maintenance Approach

When it comes to IT support, it means that you’ll be needing regular maintenance. This maintenance can be extremely time consuming, and if not done on time, it can affect your business operations. Therefore, make sure that you have the right approach for maintenance. It is important because, if delayed, it can cause serious damage to standard operations and workflow of your business.

A Cost-Effective Solution

If you are a small or medium-sized business, then obviously, finance is difficult for you to manage. You can’t afford to build a complete in-house tech support team. It requires a lot of infrastructure and resources. Therefore, getting the services of a company is a cheap and wise option for small and medium-sized businesses. Now, even the big companies around the globe are choosing such companies because of all the benefits they have to offer.

Enables the Internal Staff to Be More Productive

Lastly, the most important thing for any business is the high productivity of the staff. When you have managed services from another company, it’ll definitely easily burden off your own employees. Hence, they will have more time and resources to focus on other important business operations. It’ll be the ultimate help for your business’s growth because his growth highly depends on the productivity of your employees.

Nigerian bank DLM on the move delivers at all levels – with exciting plans in the pipeline

DLM Capital Group – a developmental investment bank that supports economic and social infrastructure projects with the aim of driving GDP growth and improving lives. 

Founding chairman and group CEO of investment firm DLM Capital Group , Sonnie Ayere
Founding chairman and group CEO of investment firm DLM Capital Group, Sonnie Ayere

DLM Advisory Partners (DLMAP), formerly Dunn Loren Merrifield Advisory Partners, is the advisory and capital-raising arm of DLM Capital group. The principal services provided by DLMAP include financial advisory, debt capital-raising, equity capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, and company set-up advisory.

DLMAP has played a leading role in structured finance and securitisation within Nigeria. “We have acted as sole arranger to more than 80 percent of structured finance transactions in Nigeria, and 100 percent of all securitisation transactions in the market,” says CEO Sonnie Ayere.

Most Innovative Transaction of 2019

In 2019, DLM executed the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) securitisation in Nigeria, working with the sponsor, Primero Transport Services Limited (PTSL). The system caters to residents of the country’s most densely populated city, Lagos. DLM raised ₦16.50bn ($45.8m) through the securitisation of the company’s BRT tickets receivables. The sponsor is licensed to operate the longest BRT route in West Africa, 35.3km, with its 434-bus fleet.

DLM Capital Group

A feasibility study conducted put the daily passenger carriage at about 226,300 passengers per day. Due to working capital pressures, the company was only able to serve an average of 135,000 daily passengers before the securitisation transaction in 2019.

The ₦16.5bn 17 percent Series 1 Fixed Rate Bonds issued were primarily used to refinance all pre-existing commercial banking loan facilities on the books of the sponsor. The transaction provided the company with savings in interest, shaving the cost of funds from 27 percent per annum to 17 percent. At the same time, it extended the tenor of the company’s debt from three years to seven.

With this transaction, DLM was able to provide the company with up to 10 percent savings in interest, reducing the cash required to service debt and improving the company’s working capital. DLM also advised on the restructuring of the company’s balance sheet by moving the operating assets into a new vehicle and eliminated the strain of depreciation charges.

Focus for 2020

DLM is in discussions with industry stakeholders and umbrella bodies to establish proprietary funding conduits across key sectors of the Nigerian economy. It intends to include microfinance, agriculture, education, health care and a continuation of other funding programmes for the mortgage, real estate and transportation sectors.

Working with a DFI partner, the company recently concluded the design of an aggregation vehicle aimed at providing local currency, wholesale funding solutions to micro-lenders in Nigeria by way of loan book securitisation.

A similar platform to provide financing to primary users of agriculture commodities is currently being developed.

Workers’ Comp Benefits and the Going and Coming Rule

Traveling for work is a complex issue when it comes to your eligibility for workers’ compensation. The general rule is that workers’ compensation doesn’t cover your commute to and from work.

Does Workers’ Comp Cover Travel for Business?

Yes, workers’ comp covers travel for business. When you’re traveling because of your work, you can claim workers’ compensation in the event of an injury. The workers’ compensation system operates the same way whether you’re actively on the job or traveling for your employer.

Personal errands during work travel are not covered; however, the travel itself and incidental activities like the hotel and meals still fall under the workers’ compensation system. Workers’ compensation covers travel for business except for strictly personal activities during the trip.

Man traveling for work

Does Workers’ Comp Cover Travel to and From Work?

Workers’ comp does not cover travel to and from work. However, there may be situations when you are traveling related to work that are actually covered. Travel to and from work is generally not included. Still, if you are running errands for your employer or on a work-related travel assignment, you may actually be classified as working.

It depends on whether you’re serving the interests of your employer during the travel. Although the general rule is that workers’ comp does not include travel to and from work, there may be situations where your traveling counts as being on the job.

Workers’ Compensation and Travel

The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide employees easy access to financial compensation when they’re hurt at work. The general rule is that you can claim workers’ compensation for work-related injuries. If you’re on the job and you get hurt, you can access the workers’ compensation system to pay for your medical bills and provide replacement income.

However, workers’ compensation doesn’t cover the risks of daily life. For that reason, the employee’s personal commute doesn’t fall under the workers’ compensation system. If you get hurt going to or from work, you have to look to your own car insurance or personal insurance to pay your expenses. You may also bring a third-party claim for financial compensation, but the person or entity that caused your injury is responsible for your damages, not your employer.

Traveling for Work

However, even if you’re traveling at the time of your injury, you’re not necessarily out of the workers’ compensation system. You may be traveling for work and not realize it. When you’re traveling on company business, you’re still covered by workers’ compensation.

Even things that are incidental to the travel itself, like staying at a hotel or eating meals while away from home, can classify you as working for the purposes of workers’ compensation. It’s essential to evaluate the entire circumstances present when the accident occurs.

Buma vs. Providence Corp. Development – Nevada Supreme Court

In the Buma v. Providence Corp. Development case, the Nevada Supreme Court recently clarified the rules when it comes to what counts as work-related travel. Nevada Revised Statutes 616C.150(1) states that a person must show their injury arises out of the course of employment. The court said that a person might be in the course of their employment even if they’re not directly on the route of travel at the time of the injury.

In the Buma v. Providence Corp. case, the victim was the vice president of sales for his company. He worked from home and made his own travel arrangements. The victim traveled out of state for a conference. He stayed at a ranch with a friend and affiliate of the company. Together, the two prepared joint presentations to give on behalf of the company. The victim died while riding an ATV on the ranch.

The third-party workers’ comp insurer, and the lower court, denied the victim’s family workers’ compensation benefits. They said that the accident did not arise out of work duties. However, the Nevada Supreme Court vacated the lower court’s decision.

When Does an Injury Arise out of the Course of Employment for Workers’ Compensation Purposes?

The Nevada Supreme Court said that an injury arises out of the scope of employment when there is a causal connection between the victim’s injury and the nature of the employee’s duties. Under Nevada Revised Statutes 616B.612(3), all travel that an employee gets paid for is part of the course of employment.

However, even if part of the travel isn’t compensated hourly, it may still be work-related travel. Generally, workers’ compensation covers business trips. It covers the actual business part of the trip, but it also includes staying in hotels, sleeping, eating, and other navigation that has to happen for the trip.

Does the “Coming and Going” Workers’ Compensation Rule Apply During Business Travel?

In the Buma case, the lower court applied the “going and coming” rule. The rule prohibits compensation for injuries that occur during the commute. The Supreme Court explained that the employer is not liable for the daily dangers of the employee; however, the commuting rule isn’t applicable when a person travels for work. Under Nevada law 616B.612(3), traveling employees are covered, including acts that are incidental to traveling.

The court said that work travel doesn’t cover social and recreational activities that a traveling employee chooses to pursue. These are things that occur for strictly personal amusement. To be a personal activity, the employee must show an intent to abandon the job temporarily. It’s a very fact-dependent question that depends on the unique situation in each case.

Conclusion     

The workers’ compensation commuting rule is complicated. There are times that work travel is covered, and you are eligible for benefits. Sometimes it can be a difficult question of whether you’re traveling for business. The Las Vegas workers’ compensation attorneys at Adam S. Kutner, Attorney at Law explain travel, and the 2019 Nevada Supreme Court case of Buma vs. Providence Corp. Development.

The best way to know if you qualify for workers’ compensation is by getting a personal review of your claim by a qualified and experienced attorney.

Half of UK & US firms predict a recession in 2020 and a third predict a global recession

  • Just under half of firms in the UK (46%) and US (45%) predict their country will go into recession in 2020, according to research by trade finance provider Stenn
  • The poll of over 700 senior executives at medium-large sized businesses across the UK, US and China, also revealed that well over a third (37%) of UK firms and one in three (35%) US firms expect to see a global recession or international global crisis in 2020
  • In the UK, a third (33%) of firms expect the economy to shrink in 2020, with well over a tenth (14%) expecting it to contract by 1-3%
    • A further 6% expect the UK economy to stay flat with no growth
  • In the US, almost one in five (16%) expect the economy to shrink in 2020, most likely by 1-3% (7%)
    • In addition, 6% also expect it to stay flat with no growth. 

Dr. Kerstin Braun, President of Stenn Group, commented: “2019 was weaker than expected and the stakes are only higher for 2020. Governments around the world are having to act forcefully to prevent the economic hit from Covid-19 deepening, taking a coordinated approach and opening the liquidity pipe for both fiscal and monetary support.

While a low interest rate provides an important cut in borrowing costs for businesses and consumers at this delicate moment, the coronavirus outbreak will be a real test of the health of the UK and US economies. Lowering rates alone isn’t enough to be effective in offsetting the economic impact of Covid-19. We already know the Chinese economy is going to be hit in the first and second quarter.

“For us, the plunge in oil coupled with the economic damage of Covid-19 marked the beginning of a global recession. Our research showed that at the beginning of the year, half of UK and US businesses predicted a recession and a third predicted an international global crisis, and just three months into 2020 and we’re starting to see this play out.”

Methodology

The survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 706 senior decision makers at medium-large sized businesses, across the UK, US, and Chinese markets. The research fieldwork took place on the 18th – 28th November 2019. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.

About Stenn

Stenn International Ltd. is a UK-based, non-bank trade finance provider specialising in cross-border trade. Stenn’s trade finance solutions are comprehensive and can be combined to cover the entire supply chain from purchase order to delivery of goods. Innovative practices allow Stenn to finance in sectors and geographic regions currently underserved in global trade. The company operates globally with offices in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Miami, London, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Mumbai, Chennai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Shanghai and Qingdao.

Learn more at https://stenn.com or follow TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.

Coronavirus: Is your business immune?

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19 continues to pose a significant threat to businesses in the UK. The impact on supply chains, transport and international travel is causing businesses to consider the impact of coronavirus on their current or future contractual agreements. Here Julie Hunter a commercial solicitor at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, discusses why it’s important for businesses to understand their legal rights and obligations in light of this global pandemic.

Coronavirus: Is your business immune?
Julie Hunter

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to cause severe disruption and uncertainty to global trade. Now categorised as a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation, businesses must consider whether the impact of the coronavirus could cause them to default on their contractual obligations, whether this may be an inability to supply goods due to the effect on the supply chain, an inability to provide services due to travel restrictions or the cancellation of planned public events due to quarantine. Many larger businesses have already started to issue statements to their customers and suppliers in advance of any potential disruption caused by the outbreak.

Can your business delay performance or fail to fulfil its obligations under a commercial contract due to the coronavirus outbreak without facing liability? The often-standard force majeure clause contained in commercial contracts may mitigate risks and help parties navigate the difficulties caused by the outbreak.

What is Force Majeure?

A force majeure clause may relieve a party from performing its obligations under a commercial contract due to the occurrence of events which are unforeseeable or outside of its control. You can only rely on a force majeure clause if it has been drafted into your contract. A force majeure clause cannot be implied.

As force majeure has no defined meaning in English law, the effect of a force majeure clause will depend upon the way it has been drafted into each individual contract. Typically, force majeure clauses can cover:

  • acts of God, such as natural disasters and extreme weather events
  • terrorist attacks, civil war and breaking off diplomatic relations
  • compliance with a law or order, rule or direction of the government
  • embargos
  • epidemics or pandemics

Your force majeure clause may give you the right to suspend performance of the contract for a certain period of time or allow either you or your counterparty to terminate the contract entirely on the occurrence of a force majeure event.

COVID-19 as a Force Majeure

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation classified the coronavirus as a global pandemic. If your force majeure clause covers the occurrence of a pandemic, then the coronavirus outbreak is likely to constitute a force majeure event.

If your force majeure clause does not cover pandemics, you must carefully consider whether the outbreak or its effects could fall into any of the other force majeure events specified in your contract. For example, you may find it possible to argue that the quarantine or isolation restrictions effecting your supply chain constitute a ‘work stoppage’, or that any international travel restrictions imposed in the UK and other countries which restrict performance could constitute ‘compliance with an order of a government’.

The court often interprets the precise wording of force majeure clauses strictly. If the situation is unclear, you should seek specialist legal advice on whether the coronavirus would constitute a force majeure event under your contract.

Invoking the clause

Even if the coronavirus qualifies as a force majeure event under your contract, you may not necessarily be able to invoke your rights under the force majeure clause.

Most force majeure clauses require you to demonstrate that the event itself has prevented performance of your contract. This means that if the coronavirus outbreak is simply causing performance to be more difficult, costly or time-consuming for your business, this may not necessarily be enough to invoke the clause.

Additionally, it may not always be desirable to invoke your force majeure clause for commercial reasons. You may need to consider the following matters:

  • Is the force majeure clause / event open to interpretation? Your counterparty may dispute your entitlement to any force majeure remedies and seek to enforce performance of the contract.
  • Could your insurance policy cover any losses or business interruption instead?
  • Will other parties / business be facing similar problems with supply or performance? Could you negotiate new terms to navigate the issues?
  • Would exercising the force majeure clause damage your ongoing relationship with the counterparty? Is there a reputational risk if the matter became public?

Breach of contract

It is possible that the effects of the outbreak on your business may not be covered by the force majeure clause as drafted or you may not have the option of relying on a force majeure contract at all.

If this is the case, any failure to perform your obligations under the contract (even if the failure is attributable to the coronavirus) may constitute a breach of contract which you could be liable to the counterparty for. However, there may be other mechanisms in the contract or under English contract law generally which may assist you and it is imperative to obtain legal advice should you find yourself in this situation.

Seeking a legal specialist

If you are currently considering entering into new contracts or are reviewing your contracts in light of the coronavirus, you should seek legal advice on strengthening your force majeure clause.

If you are currently facing threats of litigation over failed performance caused by the coronavirus or are considering invoking your force majeure clause, it is important to seek legal advice on your rights of termination and breach of contract.

About Stephensons

Stephensons Solicitors LLP is a full-service law firm with offices in Bolton, London, Manchester, St Helens and Wigan.

Business owners urged to take six steps to limit coronavirus risk to their operations

AMID all the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak business owners may feel their fate isn’t in their own hands – but in fact there’s lots that they can do to help them take control.

Business owners urged to take six steps to limit coronavirus
David Tew

“These are uncertain times. No-one knows exactly how this is going to play out. But there are certain things you can do to protect your business,” said David Tew, a dispute resolution specialist with Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors.

“A bit like the advice across society about taking sensible steps such as washing your hands, there are steps you can take as a business to protect yourself,” said David.

Here David shares half a dozen simple steps aimed at helping you and your business to be prepared and to focus on what you can control.

1. Check your ongoing contracts

“Check your contracts. What are your obligations and your rights? 

“Will coronavirus allow a contracting party to pull out of its obligations on an existing contract? It depends very much on what is the exact wording in the contract.

“In particular you should be checking is there a force majeure clause in your contracts which allows a party to suspend or terminate the performance of its obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise.

“If there is not a force majeure clause then it is possible to look at the legal doctrine of ‘frustration’ where it is impossible to complete a contract because of a change of circumstances outside your control. But this is open to different interpretations and may be difficult to rely on, highlighting the importance of ensuring that your contracts are fit for purpose.”

2. Check your insurance policies

“Have a close look at your business insurance policy to see if you have any business interruption coverage and check exactly what those terms are.”

3. Carry out a risk assessment

“Carry out a general risk assessment on all parts of your business to identify exactly what is at risk, and then focus on controlling those areas which are within your control.” 

4. Take practical steps

“So far much of the focus has been on the international aspect of coronavirus. But that is set to move to a more domestic level and it is important as a business owner that you do everything you can now to make sure you, your employees, your supply chain and your clients are as prepared as possible.

“If we are moving towards a situation where the advice will be for more people to self-isolate, or if there are restrictions of movement, then there are practical steps that you can take now to mitigate those risks.

“If you want to move to more remote working, then check the practical issues that will involve. Do the business processes and procedures work remotely? Check employee policies – do they cover working from home? Is it practical for all employees to work from home? Do they have a safe environment to work in?

“Review your supply chain. Have a discussion with those in your supply chain and discuss action plans with them.”

5. Keep communicating

“It is really important to keep communication channels open between you, your employees, your clients and your supply chain. Keep talking and discussing how you can support each other. Follow any guidance online https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

“Identify ways you can work together. There will be cases where because of the way a contract has been worded, it is within your legal right to ensure that those obligations are met. But that might not be the best approach when it comes to long-term business relationships.

“You are likely to want those relationships to be positive in the long term. And while the temptation might be to jump on the specific wording in a contract, remember that your clients and customers will still be here long after this situation has come and gone. How you act now, is likely to affect those business relationships in the future. 

“By showing flexibility and understanding and being willing to restructure that arrangement in the short term, is likely to be of benefit in the long term.”

6. Ensure you have good legal advice

“A good solicitor will help you with your concerns and give you the advice on how you can best protect your business. We have a six-strong team in dispute resolution at Cartmell Shepherd led by director Mark Aspin. If you are unsure about anything it is always best to ask.”

Chancellor Must Use Budget to Give Family Businesses Confidence to Invest in the Future – Starting with Maintaining BPR

The Institute for Family Business (IFB) is calling on the Chancellor to use his Budget on Wednesday to create an environment that gives family businesses the confidence to invest in future growth.

Reports that the Chancellor intends to review the Business Property Relief (BPR) in the upcoming Budget, are deeply concerning to the UK’s family run businesses.  Family businesses employ over 13 million people and generate 28% of the UK’s GDP.  Family firms continue to exist for generation after generation by innovating, adapting and looking for new markets and opportunities. They make investment decisions for the long term.

Every year 85,000 family SMEs are expected to transfer ownership of their businesses to the next generation. Removing BPR would force family run firms to pay a tax penalty on transfer, which others don’t have to. 

Fiona Graham from the Institute for Family Business said:

“Family firms are the driving force across all regions, communities and sectors of the UK. Well over 80% of businesses in Yorkshire, the North West and the East and West Midlands are family owned. In those four regions alone family firms employ nearly four and a half million people.

“Inheritance tax relief is essential to their future prosperity.  Scrapping it would have a catastrophic impact on family firms. It would lead to family run businesses being sold or broken up to pay an Inheritance Tax bill, with knock on effects on employment.  It will also damage confidence in the sector, where families would reduce investment and always plan for the worst.

“The introduction of BPR positively impacted the health of family businesses and the wider economy by giving business owners the confidence to invest and expand.

“The majority of British businesses are family businesses.  They are dependent upon BPR for their current and future prosperity. Any change to it would inevitably result in a decline in growth and investment coupled with stagnation in the number of new jobs being created.

“As the UK seeks to level up nationally in the coming years, the success of family businesses will be a crucial factor in doing so. In order to succeed and grow, they require a stable tax system and an economic environment.  The future of the family business sector – and ultimately the Government’s ambitions for regional growth and investment – rely on maintaining BPR.” 

The Institute for Family Business is the UK’s family business organisation, supporting and promoting the UK family-owned business sector through events, networking, representation, and thought leadership.

Two-thirds of British businesses are family businesses – ranging from multinational, multibillion-pound businesses to micro start-ups, the sector employs over 13 million people and contributes £182 billion in taxes. 

Brexit Opportunities: How Small Businesses are Impacted by Brexit (Plus Ways to Pivot)

Brexit is nothing short of a political tsunami, unlike anything we’ve seen in recent UK history.

It sent powerful shockwaves across the economic landscape. Small business owners are scrambling to grasp the magnitude and nature of this disruption. They have to deal with looming uncertainty and revamp their strategies, which doesn’t come easy.

But, to be fair, it’s not all doom and gloom out there.

There’s no shortage of emerging Brexit opportunities to expand, pivot, and grow your small business. They are concealed both in unexpected places and in plain sight. Leveraging them is a matter of survival in the harsh business environment.

Here is how to navigate the treacherous waters are emerge stronger than ever before.

A Deafening Wake-Up Call

We probably don’ have to repeat all the ways in which Brexit has disaster written over it.

There is a slew of notions floating around in public, which those sentiments. Instead, we want to offer something that comes in short supply– the good news.  

You can work your way around new obstacles and business risks on the road to business success. Indeed, Brexit gives us plenty of reasons to rethink our approach.

So, the first thing to do is educate yourself on all the practical consequences. The main goals are to identify opportunities amidst the chaos. They are your chance to position your business better and elevate its profile.

Some opportunities exist in the long-term horizon, while others involve a limited window of opportunity. They are also more applicable to some companies than others. There simply aren’t easy solutions and clear-cut answers.

On Top of the Game

To get on top of decision-making, factor in the particularities of your business case.

The following elements should be a part of the equation:

  • Size of the company
  • Growth/lifecycle stage
  • Industry sector
  • Type of products/services
  • Geographical presence

It’s safe to say these aspects don’t carry the same weight. Nevertheless, none of them are to be ignored.

First off, Brexit opens doors to various opportunities beyond the EU. In case you already export or serve customers overseas, that’s great news for you. If anything, it could significantly boost your sales and reinforce the market foothold.

This is also possible thanks to a weaker pound, which is conducive to export-oriented businesses. In other words, a lower exchange rate makes UK goods cheaper. It also acts as a magnet for foreign investment.

Two Sides of the Coin

The flip side is that imports are going to be more expensive.

Hence, businesses that rely on them will struggle to maintain operational profitability. One way to overcome this obstacle is to seek more UK-based partners.

Yes, such a transition requires time, resources, and thoughtful planning. But, it can pay dividends down the road.

Rest assured domestic demand is poised to surge in the wake of Brexit. In many cases, customers will be tempted to forgo foreign brands because they’ve become pricier. This is to say many UK businesses will be more competitive than their counterparts from abroad.

Of course, these are all general predictions that may not always hold to the scrutiny of reality.  

A lot will depend on the ability of the government to negotiate favourable bilateral deals. Therefore, keep up with the changes in trade tariffs, as well as currency fluctuations.

Thriving in an Unforgiving Climate

Another major influence of Brexit is regulation getting less stringent.

Yes, in general, the UK is likely to stay aligned with the EU legal framework. At the same time, however, it might diverge from it in some important ways.

This development will give more wiggle room to UK businesses. It will facilitate certain key business processes, making them quicker and possibly cheaper.  

Furthermore, bear in mind there’s one great way to capitalize on Brexit.

Namely, you could try to address newly-arising customers’ concerns and dilemmas.  The idea is to discover pain points in relation to leaving the EU and attempt to mitigate them.

A consultancy service is an obvious choice, especially for those who possess the necessary skills and expertise. But, this kind of small business is far from the only option. In fact, it’s more of a short-term, situational opportunity.

A Breath of Fresh Air

A more approachable alternative would be to refine your products and services according to the wants and needs of post-Brexit customers.

Some of the focal points to guide the process are:

These opportunities aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions. For example, legal firms are inclined to gravitate toward employment law. What is more, they could prosper by aiding UK firms in hiring employees aboard.

On the other hand, accountants may want to jump on VAT changes. A lot of businesses need assistance in comprehending them, as well as in refining related processes.

The bottom line is: conduct extensive market research and see what makes sense in your context.

Making a Strong Account of Yourself

To go the extra mile, establish yourself as a reputable expert.

Share your insights and experience with how your small business is coping with change. Turn your networking, publishing, and personal brand-building efforts a notch. Take part in discussions on how the industries ought to respond to disruption.  

Consider joining Brexit committees sprouting up recently. Get in touch with trade associations and other relevant organisations to figure out where these opportunities lie. Government consultations could also deliver a nice boost and put you close to the source of information.

Beyond that, you should feel free to explore other avenues. Trends such as automation aren’t exclusively tied to Brexit, but they certainly enable small businesses to move ahead.

Make sure you don’t miss out on those.

Brexit Opportunities: You Can Either Shape Up or Ship Out

Brexit implications come in all shapes and forms, ranging from good to bad and ugly.

This is a less-than-ideal turn of events, but it shouldn’t give rise to panic. You’re much better off embracing a proactive, paced, and strategic approach.

Do your homework to properly assess the reconfigured ecosystem. Recalibrate your business strategies and processes in the light of Brexit.

For instance, you may need to start looking either closer to home or further away from the EU neighbourhood. Make do with new tools to cover vital business functions and pave the way for expansion.

These are the stepping stones to gaining a powerful edge in the brave new market. It’s time to seize lucrative Brexit opportunities before the competition beats you to it.

Check out the entries in our economics and business section to stay in the know and future-proof your business.