Expert advice on the business of running a garment decoration company

Minimum wage and the Brexit issue

  • In August the government published its largest ever list of companies that had failed to pay their staff the National Minimum Wage. The 198 companies on the public ‘name and shame’ list owed a total of £466,219 in arrears, and include a print finishing company. All money owed has been paid to the workers.
  • According to the latest ICAEW UK Business Confidence Monitor (BCM), although the Brexit vote triggered a significant fall in confidence, it is starting to recover. Employment growth has continued to soften, and companies are cutting their investment plans as they face rising input prices, but flat selling prices. The report concludes: “The findings highlight the need for Government to provide greater certainty for business in the short term, to encourage investment and to prioritise trade negotiations.”

Q&A

What’s the minimum insurance I should be looking at for my garment decoration business?

First things first, if you have employees, you must, by law, have at least £5 million of employer’s liability (EL) insurance. That’s to cover any successful claims that might be made against you because one of your staff is injured or killed at your premises, or offsite while working for you.

In other words, if your business is found to be liable for the incident, substantial costs could be awarded against you, and your EL policy would pick up the cost.

The one exception to this being a legal requirement is if you only employ family members.
Public liability cover is not a legal requirement, but is strongly recommended. Again, it covers you for any compensation claims by people who are injured or killed, or whose property is damaged, at your premises.

You also need to insure your plant, machinery, stock and premises, in much the same way you insure your home and contents. So you’re buying cover against the risk of theft, fire, flood and other damage.

You’ll need to put a figure on how much cover you need to replace everything – that will be one of the factors that will determine the size of your premium.

If you’re running a sophisticated (and no doubt expensive) computer system, get insurance for the kit and the software. Make sure you back-up the system content every night, either to another computer in another location, or to the cloud.

Clearly, you’ll also need cover for any delivery vehicles or company cars.

You could also consider professional indemnity insurance. Say you unwittingly copy a garment design, then you could be sued by the copyright owner. This cover would meet your costs.
“Consider getting a combined commercial insurance policy – it would offer a menu of covers, including all those listed above, from which to choose.”

Kevin Pratt is an insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, an independent price comparison website dedicated to helping individuals and businesses to save money on insurance, utilities and financial services products
www.moneysupermarket.com

How to blog your way to a greater online presence

Blogging allows you to give your business a personality as well as giving your customers an insight into the business and its values. It encourages collaboration and discussion not just with customers, but with other people associated with the garment decoration industry and helps develop your business’s reputation.

What makes blogging great is the fact it is all about you and your business; you can write about anything. Common things written about by garment decorators include a company’s latest news; product reviews; current offers and promotions; and thoughts on attention-grabbing industry topics.

Creating engaging content

Write about your business: write about its strengths and why it is great. Write about why you love print, embroidery, the industry and your customers.

The key is to make the content interesting so that you stand out from your competitors. Here are some simple tips to help:

  • Create an eye-catching title for your blog Discuss with your team what words and phrases would make them click to read more, and what words would make them pass the blog by.
  • Use images Good quality pictures increase the likelihood of catching a reader’s attention.
  • Use tags These allow visitors to your blog to browse by topics rather than having to go through posts chronologically. It allows them to quickly find your thoughts on specific topics.
  • Wit v waffle There is a fine line between engaging and boring a reader. Your blog can be any length – fellow Images columnist Marshall Atkinson frequently posts long blog posts, but they are always packed with information and written in an engaging manner. Ask someone else to read it before posting if you’re not sure whether it is more waffle than wit.
  • Make it fun Customers love honesty so your views and thoughts are much more likely to create engagement than writing a bland post about a special offer. You want to give your business some character, after all. Remember, however, that by publishing a blog post, you are subject to the same laws as a newspaper or any other publishing organisation. Check your facts before publishing a post if you don’t want to be sued for libel or worse – ignorance is not a defence. The same applies to tweets and Facebook posts.

One last thought

There is a wide range of free blog platforms out there for your business including WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Medium, Weebly and many more. Blogging is a cost-effective way of growing your online presence, developing an online personality and increasing traffic to your website.

What are you waiting for? Get blogging!

Andrew Langridge is from eTrader, one of the industry’s leading suppliers of websites to garment decorators across the UK.
www.etraderwebsites.co.uk

If you have a business question for any of our experts, email it to: [email protected]