Small Business Saturday Blog

A Guide to: Handling Small Business Disputes

Wednesday, September 14 at 16:08
How To | Legal | Top Tips

Small businesses may face a variety of challenges over their lifetimes, but lengthy and increasingly expensive court cases do not need to be added to the list. The good news is that intellectual property and employment conflicts, or late payment issues can be managed without resorting to litigation.Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the ideal solution to small business disputes.  An umbrella term for a whole range of processes and techniques that help parties resolve conflict without going to court, ADR usually involves the assistance of a neutral third party, and is often less formal, cheaper and quicker than litigation.In addition to being highly time and cost efficient, ADR is also confidential and offers a discrete and neutral setting for businesses looking to protect their public image. Both arbitration and mediation are two examples of popular ADR processes.With this in mind, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ Business Arbitration Scheme (BAS) is highly recommended to small businesses, as it delivers five tangible benefits which are worth considering before making a decision as to whether or not it is in your businesses’ best interests to resort to litigation. 1.Fixed fee: BAS is a fixed fee scheme, providing certainty as to costs from the outset.2.Speed: BAS offers the certainty of a final and legally binding decision in less than 90 days from the appointment of the arbitrator.3.Simplicity: The BAS rules were created with simplicity in mind, allowing ease of use and flexibility.  The scheme is simple enough for businesses to present their own case without legal representation if they so wish.  Formal procedural steps have deliberately been kept to a minimum.4.Limited Costs: The costs recoverable have been limited to protect parties against liability for their opponents’ high legal bills.5.Specialist panel: CIArb provides a specialist panel of arbitrators.In addition, a recent survey conducted by the Institute indicated that:•94% found the Scheme to be an attractive proposition for small businesses involved in low to medium value disputes;•93% found the cost of the Scheme appealing;•98% found the short timetable of benefit; and•96% found the Scheme easy to understand.Aimed at being accessible and straightforward, BAS was launched following the increase in court fees last year, which in some cases, saw a hike of up to 600%. CIArb decided it was time to take action as it became apparent that small businesses in particular were disproportionately affected, and that many felt priced out of accessing justice through the court system.As the majority of small businesses usually initiate court proceedings to recover unpaid monies, it was important to ensure that there was a scheme in place, tailored to the needs of businesses who had legitimate debt claims but felt that it wasn’t worth it to pursue them through the courts.Ultimately, businesses that wish to use BAS, should consider drafting an appropriate dispute resolution clause into their commercial contracts or into terms and conditions, before any dispute arises.  A free dispute resolution clause for BAS can be found here. For businesses looking to manage their dispute(s) and prepare for conflicts long term- the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ Business Arbitration Scheme is worth investigating.Post by Olivia Staines, PR and Communications Manager, CIArb & Keisha Williams, Head of DAS, CIArb. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) is a leading professional membership organisation representing the interests of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practitioners worldwide. For more information on the Business Arbitration Scheme, please call +44 (0)20 7421 7444, email das@ciarb.org, or visit our website at www.ciarb.org/das. 

How to write the perfect job advert

Thursday, March 10 at 10:23
How To | HR | Recruitment

This week, we hear from Small Business Saturday champion Parker Sourcing about how to write a brilliant job description for your small business vacancyEvery company wants to land the best workers to help drive their business forward, which is why creating an efficient and extremely attractive job advert is very important.  On too many occasions, businesses fail to articulate the ethos of the company and specific responsibilities of the post, meaning many potential and talented candidates slip through their hands.To lure in the most creative, innovative and cutting-edge individuals, your job advertisement must be packed with reasons for candidates to contact you. But saying that, you probably won’t want Scooby Doo and the gang showing up for an interview and wasting valuable time either, so it’s all about striking the right balance to attract the people you want to hire.For example, you’re looking for someone to come in and head up your marketing team. You want them to take the bull by the horns from day one and create some great, catchy and viral advertising campaigns to really drive your business forward. However, you’re also a very flexible and team-orientated company who loves to get staff helping out across multiple departments. Would you really want to employ a marketing guru who had a less-than-positive attitude towards customer services?It’s essential that you make your job requirements clear to the reader in order to attract the right people for the job and to whittle out anyone who probably won’t fit the bill. If you’re on the lookout for a technically savvy developer for your I.T department, who can also provide the rest of the company with computer training, then you’ll need that person to be a confident communicator and not just a heads-down coding wizard.Is your company a fun, challenging or rewarding place to work? Let people know about it upfront, so they can picture themselves in the role. Be positive about the culture of the organization to have people really wanting to work for you. Put yourselves in their situation; they’re looking for a place where they can connect with the people around them; an environment they can look forward to working in every day when they wake up in the morning. Capture the personality of your company, and you’re well on your way to attracting the right candidates for your post.It’s not always easy to remember what information to include in when you post a job online, so to make sure you have everything covered, work your way through this list before you click ‘submit’:1. Have you included a clear job title for the position?2. Have you supplied a definite list of educational requirements and experience required to take on the job?3. Have you outlined a salary range for the position?4. Have you included the amount of working hours required per week?5. Have you listed a transparent set of duties that the role involves?For more hiring advice, read Lee Parker's previous blog post: Why Job Descriptions Matter

Hiring a VA: What's it all about?

Wednesday, March 02 at 13:11
Collaboration | How To

We speak to Small Biz 100 Alumnus and Champion Agile Administration about the benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant...As businesses are expanding, many owners are increasingly using the services of Virtual Assistants. We all juggle the work-life balance and don’t always have the time to take care of everything on the to-do list.  A Virtual Assistant can help with that!There are lots of benefits to using a VA, one being that there are no additional overheads for you. We work independently from our own premises, ensuring that you will only be paying for the actual time that you use our services. You will not be paying for someone’s time when there is nothing to do, or for someone who is late to work or on a coffee break, or if someone is on holiday or off sick.When you hire a VA, you don't have to think about PAYE, National Insurance or agency fees, providing a desk, a phone or training up new staff.Another key benefit of using a VA is that we are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, which is perfect for those emergency jobs when your secretary or office assistant may have already left for the day and you urgently need work completing. Perhaps you just need occasional cover for employees who are on holiday or off sick so that the work doesn't pile up.Using these services will give you the time to focus on your core business activities rather than spending it on time-consuming administrative tasks, whilst having the assurance of a professional, confidential and flexible service available to you at all times.All assignments can be delivered and returned by email, post, courier or by hand (locally only), to suit you. It really doesn’t matter where you are located, the advantage of using Virtual Assistant services means we can assist you wherever you are. Some of the recent projects that we have worked on have included:Writing press releases, PR/print and media, event managementActing as an agent for a talented act in the music industryDigitalising paper records and creating new systemsWorking on an app currently in developmentBookkeepingMentoring authors with social media training with a view to them understanding self-promotionDigital audio transcription servicesActing as Marketing Director for a publishing companyReformatting of HR policies for HR consultantsLead generation work for a voiceover artistSetting up and managing social media platforms and website management for a property development companyA Virtual Assistant can help your small business by offering executive, concierge and business support services!
Whatever your business needs, Agile Administration Services is here to help you lighten the load.We have worked with clients as far south as Surrey, as far north as Dundee and overseas and are delighted to not only have been selected as a Small Biz 100 business by Small Business Saturday in 2014, but since then have been asked to be Small Business Saturday Champions in 2015 and 2016For a no obligation free chat please contact me on 07772733349, Cathy Wright, Director of Agile Administration Services. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & the website 

Why job descriptions matter

Tuesday, February 23 at 11:28
How To | Recruitment | Small Business

This week, we hear from Small Business Saturday champion Parker Sourcing about why writing a job description matters in order to find the best people for your small business
According to a recent study carried out by totaljobs.com, job seekers are now willing to travel larger distances to attend job interviews. The research shows that, in fact, those looking for work will travel up to around 72 miles for the chance to shine in front of prospective employers.What’s more, the study also finds that job-hunters now spend much longer preparing for interviews than they did last year, with 44% putting at least two hours into planning and company research for each job opportunity. That’s a fairly large 12% increase on the previous year, showing that candidates are realizing the competition for jobs and are equally putting their foot on the gas – quite literally – to leverage themselves onto a higher platform.The figures also mean that some businesses must look at the interview stage of recruitment a little more seriously rather than flippantly. With candidates now putting in the extra mile to impress prospective employers, it’s important that company’s hone their interview techniques too, and provide each potential employee with a fair and dedicated experience. For more information, please refer to our guide next week on writing a job description.Additionally, companies should keep in mind their location when advertising on job boards. That is, if a job seeker is willing to travel further to your premises, then it makes sense to target those within a wider locale.
Next week, Parker Sourcing will give tips for writing the perfect job description for your role, here on the Small Business Saturday blog 

Inspire Series: Taking the first steps in recruitment

Wednesday, October 14 at 14:39
How To | Inspire Series | Recruitment | Start-Up Support

We are pleased to announce Dylan O’Neil from Indeed to run a four-part series of workshops in the Small Business Saturday Headquarters at Somerset House on 'Expanding your business - Taking the first steps in recruitment'.In this series Indeed, the world's #1 source of external hires, will provide great tips for small businesses looking to find great employees to help their business grow. From writing your first job description to deciding where to advertise your jobs, Indeed will share insights they have gained from analysing job seeker behaviour across the UK.The first workshop in the series will be giving Tips for Top Notch Job Content from 11:45am on October 22nd.The second workshop in the series will be presenting How People Search for Jobs Today from 11:45am on October 29th.The third workshop in the series will be on Investing to Reach the Best Talent from 11:45am on November 17th.The fourth workshop in the series will be on Measuring for Success from 11:45am on November 30th.The events are free for small businesses to attend and will be an hour long with opportunities for questions. They will be live streamed on Periscope with real time Twitter Q&A, so even if you are not in the room you can still get involved. Make sure you follow @SmallBizSat for updates.For more information and to register attendance please visit the links above.With thanks to Indeed for the support of these workshops.

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