In May 2016 Lollipop Local Ltd joined the Forum of Private Business and Jo wanted to highlight how that decision had made a positive contribution to some major business decisions.
Lollipop Local started the business in 2010 and the last three years had seen some fantastic growth. They are now in their own offices and have and have gained some new employees through the local Apprenticeship programme and word of mouth recommendations.
But with that growth comes a lot of extra responsibilities.
The Responsible Business Workbook - which is available through the Forum - because a great checklist of areas that needed to be addressed. Whilst on the surface the ORB (Organisation for Responsible Business) is seen as a way of helping commercial companies to become more eco-friendly and community-minded, it is also a comprehensive guide to putting in place all the legal and commercial bits and pieces that most business owners don’t really want to think about.
Insurances that protect your directors, your staff, your customers and any visitors to your premises are a crucial part of that. We already had our Employers’ Liability, Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurances in place but, as members of the Forum, we automatically qualified for Directors & Officers. Admittedly, it is not for a large sum, so you do have to assess whether it is sufficient for your needs but it was a great starting point for us - along with some peace of mind that gave us time to research properly. A more comprehensive package is available for an additional premium.
In the 21st century, there is a new predator that business owners need to beware of – the cyber fraudster. Forum members, Cyber AMI, offer a trial of their training and software to help you understand the risks and what you need to put in place to protect yourself. This was a fabulous bonus for us which contributed to some of the items in the Responsible Business Workbook – Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans. I would highly recommend it.
2016 was also a big year for employers with Auto-Enrolment really coming to the fore. There cannot be many of us who do not have a staging date somewhere between August 2016 and August 2017. As usual, the Forum were ahead of me when my account manager Brian Allen asked Forum partner, Smart Pensions, to come in and give a talk at the monthly networking meeting at Thameside Nature Park Venue. There was lots of helpful advice and these points became a useful article on the Forum website.
Any business has the potential for an HMRC investigation, the Forum include cover for related accountancy costs as part of their membership so, again, they had me covered.
And, finally, we had a small legal matter that came up. I wasn’t sure whether I needed to pay to consult our own solicitor so I called the legal helpline and spoke to the membership team who reassured me about the best course of action. Yet again, this was all part of my Forum membership.
Being a business owner can be an incredibly lonely role. There are so many rules and regulations but having this amazing resource to turn to means you have a team of experts on hand who know the problems and are ready with tried and trusted solutions. I am really glad that I joined.
About Jo Shaer
Jo Shaer really was a lollipop lady when she started Lollipop Local Ltd but she had to hang up her uniform when the business took off. Having said that, the core focus of keeping people safe when dealing with traffic still holds true. The agency specialises in building and marketing websites that put the most important part of any business first – your ideal customer.