A new year, with an election ahead and economic uncertainty in the eurozone, promises a rocky ride ahead. But a record number of budding entrepreneurs are gauging the risks and deciding that the time is right to start their own businesses.
The government-back Start-up Britain campaign, run by the Centre for Entrepreneurs thinktank, has just reported that 581,173 new companies were registered at Companies House last year. The previous record was 526,446 in 2013 and there were only 484,224 start-ups in 2012.
Most new businesses were launched in Greater London, 184,671 to be precise, followed by Birmingham and Manchester. But there was a healthy upward trend in start-ups outside the capital, which has to be good news for the sharing of the nation’s economic wealth.
Even better news is that fewer of these fledgling businesses appear to be failing, with the Office for National Statistics recording a 6% fall in failures, down from 253,000 to 238,000.
In the enthusiasm to get started, making or designing or selling a product or service, or all three, there’s one essential of doing business that can be neglected. And, let’s face it, setting out your terms and conditions doesn’t immediately sound sexy compared to arranging a marketing campaign or launching a website with all the necessary bells and whistles.
But getting your Ts and Cs right can make the difference between establishing a thriving small business and falling by the wayside. As a useful article for the Guardian’s Small Business Network points out, neglecting this ‘could impact your cashflow through delayed payments and having to pay for materials before taking payments’.
Terms and conditions establish the duties, rights, roles and responsibilities of the parties to any business deal. They are an essential protection that can save the unwary from having to chase late payments.
I’ve written twice before on this blog about terms and conditions, here and again here. So you can understand the importance I place on reviewing my Ts and Cs from time to time, to make sure they are fit for purpose in a changing world.
In fact, if you want to make a resolution for 2015, I’d suggest blowing the cobwebs off the document that records your standard terms and conditions and working through it clause by clause to see if it matches the needs of the business you are running now. SJ Collections can help you access the right type of legal advice to give the document a solid grounding in law.
Don’t hesitate to call if you do have problems with late payment or other issues resulting from your terms and conditions. Because one things is certain in start-up Britain, businesses can’t afford to stand still.