General Advice

Business advice on everything from fire safety regulations to basic copyright matters.

Companies House – Directors and Secretaries Guide

This Companies House Directors and Secretaries article is a guide only and should be read with the relevant legislation. Introduction The director, or directors, must manage the company’s affairs in accordance with its articles of association and the law. Certain responsibilities apply to all directors, whether executive or non-executive, and to all types of company whether trading or not. The company secretary has a few duties set out in the legislation, and may be given others by the articles or the directors. Private companies must have at least one director. Public limited companies must have at least two directors and a company secretary. A private limited company does not have to have a company secretary but it can choose to include in its articles a requirement to have one. Fr... »

Managing Data on Customers & The Data Protection Act

Managing Data on Customers & The Data Protection Act

Businesses need to hold a range of information on customers, staff and the business itself. It is essential to ensure that this information is protected and as secure as possible. Any business holding information must also be sure that they are meeting the terms laid out in the Data Protection Act 1998. Make sure you have an understanding of the Data Protection Act 1998 Make sure you and your staff are aware of the Data Protection Act 1988. The Act governs the collection and storage of personal information and possible systems abuse. Check whether you need to register A self-assessment guide explaining whether or not you need to register is on the Information Commissioner’s website. If you are still uncertain check with the Information Commissioner who enforces the Data Protection Ac... »

Copyright – Basic facts about Copyright

Copyright – Basic facts about Copyright

Copyright gives the creators of certain kinds of material rights to control ways their material can be used. These rights start as soon as the material is recorded in writing or in any other way. There is no official registration system. The rights cover copying, adapting, distributing, communicating to the public by electronic transmission (including by broadcasting and in an on demand service), renting or lending copies to the public; and performing in public In many cases, the author will also have the right to be identified on their works and to object if their work is distorted or mutilated. What is protected by copyright? Copyright protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, published editions of works, sound recordings, films (including videograms) and broadcas... »

Buying Cars Online

Though still in its infancy the online car market is growing rapidly, with increasing numbers of companies, including some very well-known household names, launching new web sites dealing in new and used cars. Disillusioned by the failure of the UK motor industry to bring prices down to levels in the rest of the EU where cars cost considerably less, motorists are flocking to the Internet in search of bargains. It is estimated that this year the online car dealers will be responsible for 20% of all new and second hand car sales in the UK, rapidly catching up with the USA where this figure is now over 50%. Promises of four-figure discounts on list prices for some new models and 20% off second hand prices make the Internet a tempting prospect, though these may not always be as good as they se... »

Business Self-Assessment

Your markets Which markets, or market segments, are most profitable? What plans do you need to attack new markets? Are existing markets saturated? Who makes up your markets Your products and services Do they meet customer requirements? Which are the most profitable? What about price, service and quality issues? Your marketing effort Are your existing marketing methods right? How much do they cost? How do you target potential new customers? Your competition Who are they? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do customers compare you and your competitors? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Your suppliers What are relationships like? Do you work with them to improve their quality of supply to your business – and thus to your customers? Finance and cashflow How does your cash... »

Business Planning

A quick guide for Chief Executives and Management teams in Small and Medium-sized Companies. This short business guide is designed to enable the management teams of small and medium-sized firms to start work right away on the preparation of a meaningful business plan. It is practical and pragmatic, encouraging the reader to use the business plan as an on-going tool – not just something to take to the bank manager when seeking additional finance. In this business advice article we discuss: What is a Business Plan? Possibly the most important question you will ask and your business will already have the answer Getting Started on your Business Plan Setting your business objectives and focusing on the practical outcomes of your plan Information Gathering for your Plan A handy list of FAQ... »

Development Coaching for Business

Why coaching matters to business Coaching is in the news. We see serious-looking ex-CEOs in the FT and bright four-colour-enthusiasm-on-legs in the media. In between there are therapists, HR professionals, sales people, the charismatic, the damaged, ‘certified’ coaches, ‘master’ coaches, ‘chartered’ coaches. Sometimes it seems like everyone and their dog is a coach. “So what’s going on and is it any use to me and my business?” The answer to this last question is “yes, almost certainly”. In this series of articles I’m going to explain exactly why coaching has emerged in the business environment; how people describe their coaching and what that means; what coaches actually do and how that generates benefits. These are al... »

Business Continuity Management

This article will introduce you to Business Continuity Management (BCM), which is a process developed to counteract systems failure. It includes a ten point disaster recovery plan. Our business advice article will guide you through: An introduction to Business Continuity Management The benefits of Business Continuity Management The 8 elements of Business Continuity Process Impact Analysis Risk Analysis Strategy Plans & Process Risk Reduction Operational Management Testing A 10 point Business Continuity management plan Further help and advice © Crown Copyright. URN 05/625; 01/05 »

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