Welcome to the first edition of Crab Insight, we hope you like it.
So what is it that we at Crimson Crab do? Our business is to help you as a business owner, director or manager build your reputation and profit from peace of mind.
It's a minefield out there, with a law for every business imaginable. That can lead to you breaking the law without knowing it. We provide more than just legal information though...we give practical solutions.
Crimson Crab is unique in its approach. We have over 50 years experience of regulatory control, so we know a few things about the pitfalls that await the unwary. We are also totally independent of government so you don't have any worry about being on your guard in case you say the wrong thing. That means we can have an open discussion and that you can get to the best solution for your particular business context.
Two of our products the Business MOT and the Reputation Academy are proving to be extremely popular. The former helps you recognise the risks from trading law issues and prioritise them so that you can go on to implement strategic solutions. Reputation Academy membership supports you in developing robust policies and procedures to protect you from avoidable risk. All of which helps you to sleep soundly at night knowing that you are unlikely to receive any surprises out of the blue.
We had our first special event on 2nd October with over 40 businesses attending. A very big thank you to everyone who came along and for the great feedback. Please take a look at the forthcoming events section for up and coming events to make sure you don’t miss out.
Whatever your business our Business MOT is the first step in helping you identify the risks from trading law to your business. Essential for any business from new start ups to established businesses. How can you protect your business and reputation if you don’t know the risks? Once you have completed an electronic questionnaire you will receive a colour coded report identifying the areas on which you need to focus. It will also give essential compliance measures so you can take informed strategic decisions and implement appropriate procedures and processes to build and enhance your reputation. It gives you the opportunity to consider the legal impact of risk area giving you the ability to make decisions about your business goals and risks to profitability.
Reputation Academy membership is the next stage in supporting your business. It provides a facilitated, structured and supportive approach to a proactive management strategy for the risks identified in the Business MOT.
Crab Insight - monthly accumulation of highly relevant information, so you can act to improve your reputation and hence profitability
Crab Alert - ad hoc alerts on legislation risks, so you gain an enhanced awareness of potential risks from trading law to maintain your bottom line
Crab Sheet - library of guides and check lists for you to select as needed, saving you time and money in complying with the law
All you have to do is ask - your reputational risk questions and queries answered confidentially when you need answers, use us as a sounding board for those tricky situations or maybe where you have a customer complaint that you don't know how to deal with
Mentoring - one hour bimonthly to give you one to one support and encouragement to develop business, maximise potential, develop skills and improve performance
Webinars, Training and Bespoke Support - help and guidance to develop policy and build processes and procedures (additional charges may apply)
Summer Workshop - one free place to review and prioritise risk management actions and save time
Kick Start The New Year - one free place at a specialised workshop to formulate development plans for the coming year saving money by focusing on priority areas
Special Events - one free place for quality time focused on the main risks to reputation
Business MOT - repeated on membership anniversary to gain insight on the risk reduction
How do I join?
Contact Wendy or Rob on
Monthly subscription £57.75 first month £140 including Business MOT (Prices exclude VAT)
Competition and Mergers
The Competition and Markets Authority will start sharing its development plans from 1st October 2013 and be fully functional from 1st April 2014. It will work independently of government to promote competition for the benefit of consumers. It aims to deliver a faster, more responsive competition regime focussed on what matters to people and businesses. The functions of the Competition Commission and the competition function of the Office of Fair Trading will rest with the Competition and Markets Authority.
Proposals for the disclosure and approval of remuneration for directors of quoted companies will come into force from 1st October 2013.
The provisions of the Equality Act 2010 governing third party harassment will be removed from 1st October 2013. Third party harassment is where as an employer, you could be held responsible for the harassment of your worker by a person, such as a customer, who doesn't work for you.
National minimum wage
The new national minimum wage rates take effect on 1st October 2013:
21 & over
18 to 20
Apprentice under 19 or if first year
Enforcement action under the Data Protection legislation will be permitted from 1st October 2013 against companies that fail to provide consumers and small businesses with greater access to data relating to their use of energy, mobile phone, current account and credit card services.
Interview with Roark McMaster of BioSweep
Rob: “Thank you for coming to the Crimson Crab Special Event on 2nd October 2013, was it useful?”
Roark: “Yes, you both did a super job and the questions and answers session let your expertise and passion shine through.”
Rob: “Thank you, were there things we could improve on for next time?”
Roark: “It would be great if you could cover the main issues that SME’s fall foul of and how to be aware of and prevent them”
Rob: “That’s interesting; one of the things I am learning is that very often business owners don’t know or understand the risks they are running. People don’t know what they don’t know. Also the very people who have the knowledge that business owners need, the regulatory services, can appear intimidating and unapproachable. Sometimes the only interaction with a regulator is when something has gone wrong and the conversation starts ‘You do not have to say anything, but ………‘ Obviously this is not a good precursor to an open, productive conversation.”
Roark: “True, but I have never been afraid to ask Trading Standards for advice and found them to be very helpful.”
Rob: “And that’s great. The trouble is that the capacity of many regulators is stretched and therefore although they may be able to answer your question they may not be able to tailor it to your specific business circumstances. What I’m really passionate about is capitalising on the use of an ethical approach to business.”
Roark: “Well I’ve got kids and want to support them and help them grow and develop. I believe in an ethical community based approach in growing my business.
I had a bad experience in the distant past when I worked for some national companies who were most certainly acting illegally. I could barely sleep at night with what was going on. You don’t need to screw people over to do business. One of my daughters while studying at University for her honours degree, and after having work placements with some major companies, said to me that she didn’t want to work in big business “as they are crooked”. Luckily she has found a job with a good company that works ethically and I am very proud of her. The point is what lesson are we giving to youngsters?
We need to take personal responsibility for our own reputation. Nothing turns me off more than a person who doesn’t - someone who wants to blame others for their failings.
I was let down by a supplier when I was carrying out some work for a customer. I went to the customer and rather than fob it off on my supplier, I took responsibility. I said to them that I would complete the work on the day I promised, even if it meant me going and collecting the supplies myself and then doing the job at 9 o’clock in the evening. The important thing was that I had made a commitment to my customer and was not prepared to let that be compromised.”
Rob: “It’s a really important point, I came across some research that says that most dissatisfied customers do not complain to the company directly.”
Roark: “No they will tell their friends, family and other people, so putting them off doing business with you.”
Rob: “Absolutely and people can deal with their complaints in ways that can have huge negative impacts on a business reputation. The internet makes this easy and people are becoming more willing to use mass communication to achieve their aim.
Businesses that treat complaints constructively as a second chance to get it right are more likely to get repeat business with that customer. “
Roark: “Well we have gone to great lengths to set BioSweep prices congruent with the prices in the US and Canada. My aim is for happy customers and had I been whiney and tried to pass the buck to my supplier it would have made no difference and the customer would certainly not have been happy. I was up front and told them “This isn’t the way I do business. I have an issue with my delivery arriving a day late.” The important thing is to bend over backwards to help customers and get the job done.
It requires honesty and communication, when you are in the mire you better be speaking quickly and telling the truth.
My relationship with that customer has always been polite and cordial, but now my credibility with him has improved immensely and this has enhanced my business. I am finding connections, as a result of being genuine and authentic. A lot of companies are ‘liberal’ with the service they deliver. This makes customers in general very wary. So you have to be creative in getting in there. However it is most important that there are ground rules, and rule 1 is no porkies, not to anyone. Otherwise you create a spider’s web and have to keep track of it. No one has a good enough memory to do this effectively and consistently. Essentially customers want fair value, a solution that works for them and to be treated fairly. If this goes wrong at any stage – own it and admit it, to keep the relationship working.”
Rob: “Why are you interested in the Reputation Academy membership Roark?”
Roark: “Well it fits into my philosophy for running a business. The commercial awareness, especially in protecting and respecting intellectual property and understanding finance and credit terms are the key. I’m also interested in contractual awareness, my fist port of call in any business venture is a ’non disclosure agreement’ and I do nothing without a contact or some form of agreement in place. The Reputation Academy interactive stuff will be beneficial and the updates useful.”
Rob: “I’m sure that the Reputation Academy will sit very well with you Roark and I’m sure you will derive value from membership.”
Roark: “I’ve learnt some poignant lessons from life, making tough and hopefully good decisions. I’ve written them down and my book is coming out on Kindle soon, ‘Stars That Travel Far’ - events from an extraordinary, ordinary life. It’s a tale about hope and love and it can find its own life and if it helps people that’s great.. Most problems in the world are a direct result of young people not learning how to love and respect themselves. The beliefs we hold are those programmed in to us. As a purveyor of hope coupled with applied action my message is a simple one; ‘Figure out what’s worth doing and do it well’.
Rob: “I look forward to getting a copy on my Kindle. Thank you Roark it has been most interesting talking to you and thank you so much for your insight.”
What others are saying about us:
"Crimson Crab was recommended to me by a business colleague when we were recently faced with the task of completing registration for the Care Quality Commission. Being a new business, only 6 weeks into our trading, we needed a strong structure on which to base our quality systems and processes. Not only did Rob give us the structure, methodology and detail we needed to get through registration, he has enabled us to begin trading with a comprehensive quality management system which we will continue to build on. He is patient, supportive and thorough and I would have no hesitation in seeking support from Rob again."
Kim Way Managing Director of Changes Clinic
Make sure you comply with the Companies Act when using a business name. Your customers and suppliers must know who they are dealing with. This applies if;
you are the proprietor of a business which trades under a name which is not your surname (with or without initials or forenames) or
a partnership which does not use the names of all the partners or
a registered company which does not use its registered name
Essentially you will need to include details of your name and an address where documents can be served on letterheads, order form etc. Failure to do so may mean that you are unable to enforce your contacts with others. It's also a criminal offence and if you get prosecuted the newspaper reports could have a huge negative impact on your business reputation. Remember if yours is a registered company or partnership you also need to comply with the disclosure requirements in all cases.
Come and see our stand
1000 -1600 Thursday 17th October 2013
Old Thorns Manor Hotel,
Hampshire GU30 7PE.
1800 - 2000, 17th October 2013
Robert is guest speaker at Southern Entrepreneurs,
January 2014 Kick Start The New Year
We would love to receive your feedback and we’d be especially grateful if you could let us know what you think of our first Crab Insight. What would you like to see more of or less of? Are there any reputational risks that you would like to see covered? Would you like a Special Event on any particular issue?
You can drop us an email or give us a call directly on 023 92637190
Please could we ask you to forward this Crab Insight on to anyone you think would benefit from the information. If you have been forwarded this email, you can subscribe to our VIP list and receive it every month for free using the link below.
Lastly, it would really help if you could take a moment to update your preferences so that we can tailor Crab Alerts to areas you are interested in using the link below.
Until next month, take care of your reputation.
Wendy and Rob