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Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of what's been happening on the forums.
There were some great, I've-always-wondered-but-been-too-afraid-to-ask questions on UKBF this week, as everyone tried their best to not complain about being too hot. How do I know if there's been a data breach? As a startup co-founder, am I an employee or self-employed? For GDPR, I basically just tell users what information's stored and allow them to delete it, right?
As always, thank you everyone who took the time to help someone out. This site wouldn't work without you.
Here are the rest of my favourite threads for this week:
Digimem, General Business
“If I haven’t already started my business and I don’t have any premises (or a product to sell yet), is there anything I can do to hit the ground running for when I launch the website and business?”
WeblinkPlus: Drive traffic to an email list who'll be notified of the grand opening specials.
Fisicx: All your money will be spent on marketing. Lots of it. Don’t bother with pre-launch marketing unless all it's for is to build the list so you can give big discounts on launch.
Paul Norman: Marketing an online-only venture requires the generation of lots of the right kind of traffic to your site. Lots. And initially, you have to provide a strong reason for people to leave their current supplier and buy from a new one, who is unknown to them.Initially, you can run strong discounts to achieve that. But even strong discounts (unless they are at eBay type levels) will only move the customers slowly.
shents123, General Business
shents123 currently runs an electronic music events company, booking DJs and taking money from ticket sales. He’s ready to take his business to the next level and buy his own club, but has no experience in licensing a venue to become a nightclub. He estimates he’ll need to borrow around £100k for the venture, and has his eyes on a closed-down pub.
What’s the first step? And is there any way of knowing whether a venue will get a license before committing to buying it?
Mark T Jones: You can contact your local council for an overview or chat. They might have a strict policy on licencing for the type of premise you are looking for or they might require you to apply formally before they can give feedback, but there's only one way to know for sure!
Gordon-Commercial Finance: Whether [the venue you’re looking at] is publicly for sale or not, you would still be able to secure finance to purchase. However, if you're looking to spend £100,000 total, I would expect that after fees and all are included, you would likely have to come up with around £40,000 of your own cash to put in the pot.
Mr D: Spending £100k buying and doing up a place you cannot sell again strikes me as a waste of £100k. At least find somewhere you can sell later if you need to.
theroo, Employment & HR
theroo has had recurring issues with a staff member since he started. The employee constantly uses his phone, won’t do any work unless he’s told to and always goes to the bathroom when the store’s busy. Last month he told theroo he had depression and has taken three weeks off to recover.
As theroo says, they have no issues with mental illness – as long as it’s genuine. They’re keen to support the employee, but it’s a small shop and it’s hard to keep inconveniencing the other staff when they need to cover last minute. What’s the best move here?
Newchodge: You can ask him for permission to approach his doctor for a report on his health. However, if you do that and the doctor's report states that the depression is likely to be long-term, you may find it harder to deal with the issue as he would be protected under the Equalities Act.I would talk to him about the other issues and give a first stage warning under your disciplinary procedure, which I hope you have.
Cromulent: As someone who has suffered from mental illness before, if this depression is legitimate then giving him an official warning is likely to make his depression worse.
kulture: There is clearly a lack of trust with this employee. If you cannot trust an employee then it is better to terminate the job. There is no point making do, it is a business. It is one thing to make allowances for a disability if the employee is worth it and has a valuable contribution, it is another thing altogether if making allowances means letting them get away with not working. It will only damage the business.
Olly is looking to rent out a drone through Fat Lama, but isn’t sure about the UK law around liability. If it fell out of the sky and hit someone, could he be liable or would it be covered on the renter’s household insurance?
“I don’t mind losing the drone, but I’m extremely concerned about having to pay millions if someone ends up injured.”
Mr R: The drone ceases to be covered by any domestic policy the moment it's hired out. You are fully liable for its loss and any injury you might cause with it. Additionally, if your project is in any way commercial, CAA rules apply.
Obscure: Fat Lama's business is just like the vast majority of 'disruptive' business models. What is disruptive about it is they simply ignore the law (and the associated costs) or pass on the responsibility to people who don't know that there are applicable laws to worry about.
Smallclaimsassistance: As has been said by others here, do not rely on others to look after your statutory and regulatory obligations. You need public liability insurance if you are going to be renting these out. As the law stands, in the event of an injury caused by a drone hired out by you or your organisation, you (or your organisation) would be in pole position for a law suit.I have helped others here who found themselves on the wrong end of an injury claim when they were uninsured. Make no mistake, any injury claim, with accompanying legal fees, could close down a small business.
sjrichards, Growing Your Startup
As sjrichards says, this is one of the most frustrating things about starting up.
“Why do people not think that they can just be honest and upfront? It's business, you try for a client, don't get them and move on. It's the uncertainty that's a killer!”
So what can be done about it? Set your prospects homework and have a concrete followup process for starters. Read the community’s thoughts here.
Have a great weekend folks!