04 December 2017
Anyone who runs their own business will be acutely aware that there is no such thing as an average day. Juggling the expectations of customers with the needs of employees, and maintaining high standards while relying on the actions of suppliers and contractors, means that when things do go wrong, you often have little warning and can sometimes feel powerless. Problems have a habit of coming out of the blue, and all that can be said for certain is that you should always expect the unexpected.
One particular area in which small and medium-sized businesses are often in the dark is the handling of data. Wide-ranging and stringent new regulations around privacy and data management are due to pass into law in the UK in the wake of Brexit, yet a recent survey conducted by the bank Aldermore found that nearly two-thirds of businesses in London are unaware of the looming change in the legislation - which could result in fines of up to £20m for the most serious violations. Staying abreast of issues such as this can make a significant difference to the short-term success and long-term future of your business.
Keeping up with changes to the law also has an important part to play in how you attract and retain customers. According to KPMG, for example, 56% of consumers are either 'concerned' or 'extremely concerned' about the management of their personal data. Businesses that listen to these concerns and act on them will not only reap the benefits of being legally compliant, they will be able to avoid the reputational damage that accompanies being associated with shaky business practices.
Mind your business
Creating and maintaining trust with customers is a crucial part of any healthy business's daily operations; better businesses result in satisfied customers, which builds a stronger economy for everyone - it really is a win-win situation. And not only does staying within the law benefit you from a customer satisfaction and retention point of view, it also frees you up to concentrate on what's most important: growing your business.
The consequences of straying outside the law, even unwittingly, can be severe - aside from damage to your reputation, they can include criminal prosecution, forced payments to competitors or even the closure of your business. Avoiding financially and emotionally costly legal actions should be at the top of any serious businessperson's list of priorities. Take heart though from the fact that all these things can be easily avoided; by heeding the advice freely available from Business Companion, your business will be well positioned to meet the unexpected with peace of mind.
In good company
Having a source of reliable advice and information at your disposal in the day-to-day running of your business is invaluable. The Business Companion site is a powerful tool. It offers free, impartial, up-to-date advice on a range of UK trading standards issues, providing both quick and in-depth guides across five areas: what you sell; where you sell; how you sell; key topics; and key activities.
Business Companion's guides span a variety of sectors and cover a wealth of topics, from health and safety to data protection and dealing with crime. Whether you operate an automotive garage or a food outlet, a haulage company or a mobile phone repair shop, Business Companion is a resource that can provide you with accurate and authoritative information specifically applicable to the circumstances of your business.