7 reasons why you need to trade mark your business in the UK

reasons why you need to trade mark your business in the UK

Every business has something that makes them unique. It may be your offering, your customer service or your user experience. Whatever it is that sets you above the rest, your business name and branding will come to represent it. Consumers will begin to associate your brand with the feeling they get when buying from you. This is why it is so important that you have full ownership over your intellectual property (IP). There are a few different categories of IP protection, and here we will focus on trade marking. We will outline exactly what can be trade marked, the benefits of protecting your IP and an introduction to the mark registration process.

What is a Trade Mark?

A trade mark is a type of Intellectual Property (IP) connected with a particular company, product or service. Trade marks can be words, names, initials, logos, monograms, shapes or signatures, numerals and designs. They are something that customers recognise and associate with your good reputation and the quality of your product or service.

The Importance of Trade Marks

Alongside the obvious advantages of protecting your brand, trade marks can benefit your business in a multitude of ways.

It’s the Identity of Your Business

The identity of your company is the number 1 asset you have as a business owner. This is the bedrock of a successful business and will be the foundation from which to grow. Therefore it is essential to ensure that your branding is indicative of the mission of the business and does not infringe on anyone else’s intellectual property. Having this established from the start will help prevent confusion or issues further down the line.

Effective Communication Tool

For potential customers that don’t know your business, the brand is a great way to communicate what your company is about. A distinctive and polished logo will instil trust in people interacting with your company for the first time. A strong brand will also be the way you create super-fans, and these are key in developing your business. A study found that 83% of people are more likely to buy from a business recommended by family or friends than pay attention to advertising (Neilson Study). Creating a core of customers that feel an authentic connection with a brand and then go and tell others about it is the most effective form of customer acquisition.

Effective-communication-tool

Builds Brand Reputation

Consistency is key when building your company and applies to every area, from product to customer service to advertising. Marketing guru, Dr Jeffrey Lant, devised the ‘Rule of 7’ marketing theory. He argues that a potential client is most likely to buy from you after encountering your business roughly 7 times within 18 months. These numbers vary depending on industry and the type of business, but it is unusual for most customers to buy from you the first time they are made aware of you. They want to get to know you, and you need to build trust with them. In the age of information overload, having a clearly identifiable brand ensures that every time one of these ‘touch points’ happens, they know it’s you and understand clearly what you’re about. Your hard work builds this reputation, but a trade mark protects it.

Provides Exclusive Rights

As a business owner, intellectual property protection may not be the most pressing task on your to-do list. However, it is vital to protect all the hard work you have put into your venture. Also, establishing IP protection or at least an understanding of your business’ IP through an IP audit is highly recommended. You may accidentally be infringing on someone else’s IP, or if someone raises an objection against you, having IP protection in place will make it far easier to settle the case quickly. As a business owner, you should also be maintaining your trade mark through a ‘Watching Search’ service. Registered marks can lose their integrity if other similar marks are registered without objection. This will eventually lead to them becoming null and void and unenforceable. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is under no obligation to alert you of such applications, so regularly having an IP agent conduct this search on your behalf is the best way to ensure your mark is upheld.

Trade Marks Do Not Expire If Renewed Every 10 Years

Unlike other forms of IP protection, trade marks can be renewed indefinitely. Registered designs, which protect the appearance of an object, last for 25 years and patents for up to 20 years in the UK. Both services need to be renewed regularly, and enforceable protection ceases once they have reached their full terms. The reason patents and registered design protection runs out is to prevent monopolies and encourage technological advancements. However, a trade mark is different, it’s not an idea but the signature of your business. If you have registered your trade mark and maintained it, it will remain enforceable for the entire lifecycle of your venture.

Valuable Asset

The IPO (Intellectual Property Office) released figures in 2021 that found ‘Intellectual Property can account for more than 70% of your business’ value, far outweighing the physical assets of the business. This impressive statistic outlines the importance of having protected ownership over your IP. If you come to sell your business, potential buyers will want to know what they are actually purchasing. The physical elements are easy to produce, but on the asset sheet, you can’t forget about the value of your brand. After all, your reputation is what got you to the point of being successful enough to sell the business. A valid trade mark will also come into play if you seek investment. Similar to potential buyers, investors will want to have reassurances about your business and de-risk their capital investment. Having a trade mark is a sign of prestige, enables a monetary value to be put on your business’ brand and is a tangible asset to be added to your business’ asset sheet.

Makes Hiring Easier

It is not only potential customers that are reassured by an established name; future employees will also be encouraged to work for you. The job market is the toughest it’s ever been for employers. The combination of ‘The Great Resignation’, Covid, Brexit and a societal shift in attitude towards how we work has contributed to the ball being very firmly in the employees’ court. To attract top talent and retain them, having a great reputation will catch job seekers’ eyes and get them excited to apply for opportunities to join your team.

How to Register a Trade Mark

Choose a Unique Name

It’s best to choose a few names that you would be happy with and try them out before committing. There are many different types of names to consider; like do you want something quite factual so potential customers can immediately identify what you do? Alternatively, it could be a ‘storytelling’ name that represents the narrative behind the brand. If you are stuck on how to choose the perfect name for your company, we have written an article just for you – check it out here.

Conduct a Name Search

When setting up your business, conduct a name search and research your chosen business name. IP experts can assist you with this and alert you to any businesses currently operating under a similar name or any issues there may be. For example, there are a few prohibited words that cannot be legally used unless a specific application is made to the relevant authorities. You will also want to understand how easily a trade mark could be registered, and for this, it is advisable to seek an IP audit from an expert. Start.biz can help with any questions you have – learn more about our IP audits here.

How to register a trade mark

Register a Trade Mark Application

Once all the research has been done and you have received advice from an IP expert, it’s time to register your trade mark. An IP expert can complete these forms on your behalf and take care of all the administration involved. You can apply to the IPO as an individual; however, it can be a complicated and time-consuming process with no guarantee your mark will be accepted. Start.biz has been registering trade marks for over 35 years and is here to help you every step of the way. The application process usually takes approximately 5 months, and your trade mark will need to be renewed every 10 years.

Conclusion

According to annual reports from the IPO, ‘trade mark applications increased by 27.4% to record lestarvels of 137,035 applications in 2020’ and continue to grow year on year, which means that securing your IP protection is more important than ever. A trade mark is a great way to build your reputation, protect against any copycats and add value to your business. Start.biz are here to take care of the process of registering your trade mark giving you the protection you need and peace of mind. Get in touch today for a free IP audit.

All you need to know about Intellectual Property (IP) Audits in the UK

All about Intellectual Property (IP) Audits in UK

This article will explain what Intellectual Property (IP) is, the benefits of fully understanding your IP, and how to maximise this often-overlooked asset. We speak to business owners daily about their professional business service needs, and one thing that often gets lost in the mix is their IP protection. Many consider it an issue for larger companies, designers, or inventors; however, as experienced IP experts, we know it can be one of any business’s most valuable assets. We also know how much of a headache it can be in cases of copying or unintentional infringement. In this article, we’ll get you IP savvy and outline the importance of an IP audit for your business.

What is Intellectual Property (IP)?

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to many different creative outputs your business may have or use commercially. A universal type of IP across different industries is branding. This could be the name of your business, the logo, or the two combined. Every size and type of business will have some sort of IP that is valuable – exactly what it is and how best to protect it needs to be investigated.

What are the different types of IP?

There are several forms of Intellectual Property. Some are automatically covered upon their creation, others need a formal process to be legally protected, but all require action to uphold their integrity.

different types of intellectual properties

Copyright ©

This is automatically covered in UK law when a new piece of writing, photography, music, or recording is created. If you wish to enforce your ownership of the IP and prevent others from copying, you will have to issue a cease-and-desist notice. If this is ignored, then you may have to initiate court proceedings.

Business Name Registration

‘Passing off’ is a common law action that can be used to protect unregistered trade mark rights in the UK. For example, if you believe another business is copying your business’ name and customers may confuse the two operations, you can legally ask the company to cease and desist. However, you will be responsible for the legal fees should the case go to court, and it could take some time to resolve. Start.biz offer Business Name Registration to cover this exact situation. For a low yearly fee, Start.biz will take care of all administration and cover your court fees up to £10,000.

Trade Marks (TM)

You can trade mark a name, word, logo, monogram, shape, letters, numerals, signature, or any combination of these. It takes around 5 months to secure a trade mark in the UK; however, your intellectual property protection rights start the day you submit your application. Trade marks are renewable every 10 years, with a 6-month window on either side. To maintain the validity of your trade mark, you should put a watching search in place. This will alert you to any other parties registering similar marks that may infringe on your intellectual property. Trade marks can last indefinitely, however, they need to be maintained and potential conflicting applications flagged to retain their validity.

Registered Design (RD)

A registered design protects the appearance, physical shape, configuration, and decoration of products. After approval has been given for protection, you will need to renew every 5 years up to a maximum of 25 years.

Patents

Patents are designed to protect a new process through a technical solution. These are usually applied for by inventors or larger companies in the manufacturing or pharmaceutical industries. A patent lasts 5 years in the UK. After this time, it will have to be renewed every year up to a maximum of 20 years.

Geographical Indications (GI)

This type of IP relates to food, drink or produce from a particular area or is made using a traditional method. Examples are Stilton cheese or Champagne. GI indicates to consumers the origin and authenticity of a product. You can register a product under a current scheme or apply for a new scheme to be added to the register.

Types of IP Audits

Now that we have a better understanding of what IP is, let’s look at why an IP audit could be useful to your business.

types of ip audt

General Purpose IP Audit

It is useful to conduct a General Purpose IP Audit as early as possible in your company’s life cycle and continually as you introduce new products, brands, or creative output. It should be conducted as part of your market research, and protection should be put in place before the asset goes out into the public consciousness. This will not only deter potential copiers but also make you aware if you are unintentionally infringing on anyone else’s IP. Once you have a comprehensive understanding of all the IP your business has, you will be able to put a monetary value on it and turn it into a tangible asset for the company.

Event-Driven IP Audit

Businesses do not always grow in a linear way to fit a General Purpose IP Audit. This is where we see audits being carried out after a period of time due to an event. These Event-Driven IP Audits usually fall into 3 categories:

  • An infringement has occurred, and the company wishes to take action.
  • The business owner is looking to sell.
  • Outside investment is being sought.

If an incident has occurred where a business believes its IP has been violated, in most cases, they must first have intellectual property protection in place. The onus is on them to prove there has been an infringement, and this can be a complicated process. We would always advise seeking an expert opinion before initiating proceedings.
In the case of wishing to sell the business, when conducting due diligence, any potential buyer of the company will want to fully understand what they are purchasing. If you don’t have any intellectual property rights to your brand, products, or services, it will reduce the interest from buyers.
Similarly, potential investors will want to understand the business’ assets and gain reassurance of its protected competitive edge. A great idea might grab their attention, but they will not view the company as a sound opportunity if there is no intellectual property protection in place.

Limited Purpose IP Audit

Limited purpose refers to an activity a business carries out that is only meant for internal use. Understanding your business’s intellectual property is incredibly important, not only to protect your IP but also to ensure you’re not infringing on others’ IP. Many business owners have a deep connection to the name and brand they are building, so it is essential you review your IP and business plan together to ensure you’re not building something that may be an issue further down the line. Many IP experts offer free consultations that will give you a top-line view of any potential problems. There may be budgetary constraints for small businesses; however, putting in place correct IP protection from the start can save you time and money in the long run.

The Importance of IP Audits

We’ve looked at the different types of IP audits and what they can mean for the business; now, let’s see what intellectual property protection audits can do for a company in relation to the wider marketplace.

types of ip audt

Identifying New Opportunities

As mentioned previously, an intellectual property audit should be carried out in conjunction with your market and competitor research. Not only will this help you determine potential developments in your offering, but it will also help you pinpoint what is unique about your company. Depending on your industry and business, it may also encourage innovation in your product development or engineering department. Conversely, it will also outline what features of your competitor’s offering aren’t protected by intellectual property law, allowing you to plan your marketing and product development strategy accordingly.

Customer Perception

If you spent time getting an IP audit and protecting your creative output, the business needs to be communicating that to potential customers. Consumers will not care that you have a trade mark or any other form of IP protection, but they will buy into a unique brand. It’s about storytelling, brand building, and having a distinctive voice that sets you apart. Ensuring no one can imitate your brand will only make it stronger and enable you to resonate effectively with your ideal customer.

Preventing Costly Disputes

Intellectual property law can be complicated, and the process to either defend or prevent another company from infringing can be lengthy. The average lawyer will charge around £250 per hour, and these cases can continue for months, if not years. The best way to prevent this is to secure your IP protection early, ideally before launching the business.

Conclusion

Through an Intellectual Property Audit, you can understand the assets your business has, build a strong brand identity, and distinguish yourself from your competitors. Whether you are planning on selling your business or not, preventing copycats is invaluable to the health of your venture. Considering the different types of IP protection for your business will allow you to improve your business plan, strategies, and marketing efforts. After all, knowledge is power!

Start.biz teams up with newly renovated JQ Modern to provide an advice clinic for local businesses

Start.biz teams up with newly renovated JQ Modern to provide an advice clinic for local businesses


We’re taking our free business advice clinics on the road and holding one in the newly renovated JQ Modern in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham on 13th September 2022. Start.biz specialise in: Intellectual Property (IP) protection, ‘Access to Finance’ and business services & compliance. To book your place please register here.

JQ Modern (formerly The Big Peg) has undergone a £5m refurbishment to create the most stylish private offices in the Jewellery Quarter.

The iconic landmark building now offers stunning private offices and boutique communal lounges with fresh coffee, meeting rooms and a stylish new reception. The transformation included the installation of a fully live 10GB internet connection providing superfast wifi throughout the building. All of this in a location with a train station, a tram stop, several bus routes, cycle parking and a 10 minute walk from the city core, but with a neighbourhood feel.

Sky high on the 7th floor, flooded with natural daylight are JQ Modern’s fully serviced offices – named LUX, meaning light. Ideal for businesses of up to 5, with impressive views of Birmingham and beyond, these characterful offices are available on flexible terms and come fully equipped.

For growing teams, the building offers scalable options of up to 50 people.

Tara Elwell, Sales & Marketing Manager said ‘JQ Modern offers everything you need with great facilities on flexible and affordable terms. We can provide options to scale up over time. We have fantastic communal spaces for when you want to step out of your private office. These are great for making new connections, as is our events programme. We are building the most exciting community of dynamic small businesses in the city.’

Matthew Cusack, Director at Start.biz said of the upcoming business advice clinic, ‘We find these face-to-face sessions really productive when it comes to solving challenges businesses are currently facing and we’re really keen to take these sessions to different areas to broaden our reach. JQ Modern is a fantastic space and the refurbishment has further enhanced the thriving Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.’

To learn more or enquire about pricing and office availability please visit their website.

6 Steps to Take When Creating Your First Business Budget

Starting a business is always a challenge. But, right now, the conditions are extra tough. The UK is experiencing its highest rate of inflation in 40 years and many businesses are struggling to cope with rising costs. It’s in that context that smart financial management takes on added importance.

One of the most important areas of financial management is budgeting. This is the process of projecting your expected income and expenditure. Just like in your personal life, you need to ensure enough money is coming in to cover your investments and everyday costs – and there are various levers you can pull to ensure this happens.

Whilst that sounds simple enough, creating a budget from scratch can be difficult if you’ve never done it before. We’re going to take you through some simple steps to follow to ensure your business finances are in good shape when you’re starting out.


Have a business plan in place

First and foremost, if you’re serious about your business you need to have a business plan. Your business plan sets out the context for how you plan to make your business viable and, ultimately, successful. This will include an overview of what your business does and consider the landscape in which you’ll be operating. That means you should be researching competitors and understanding who your target audience will be – plus how you plan to market and sell to them.

By having this context laid down, you’ll be in a much better place to know how much money you’ll need to spend and, in turn, how much you’ll need to be bringing in.


Prepare a pricing strategy

When it comes to budgeting in business, a good place to start is to think about the products you plan to sell and at what price. Through your business plan, you’ll have an idea of the market landscape, including your competitors, and this will inform your pricing strategy. It’s important to say, there’s no one-size-fits all – you need to work out the right approach for your business – but looking at what your competitors are doing is instructive.

And then, there’s your costs…


Work out your costs

Your business plan will detail your startup and running costs. Whilst some investment will be needed at the outset to get your business launched (think essential equipment), your running costs will play a greater role in your budgeting plans. These costs can usually be split into two categories:

  • Fixed costs: Yes, you guessed it – these are costs that stay the same for the period in question. Things like rent and business rates would fall into this category.
  • Variable costs: These are costs which vary depending on the number of units you produce e.g. material, postage costs and labour (if people are paid on a per unit basis)

Variable costs are where the process of budgeting gets more complicated as it relies on you understanding the cost impact of your sales and production volumes. For example, the more you sell and item that you make, the more you’ll have to spend on labour, materials and fulfilment. There are plenty of budget templates out there to help you do this. This will also allow you to play around with your unit pricing so you can see the impact of increasing or decreasing what you plan to charge your customers.


Project your sales

For a small business, especially if you’re managing the budgets on your own, you’re likely to want to keep things simple. This usually means having one overall operating budget.

The first thing you’ll need to plot into your operating budget is your projected sales. Here’s a quick example of how that might look, taking into account seasonal variations in sales volumes:

Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6
Sales 250 200 220 300 310 150


Now, plot in your expenses

Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6
Sales 250 200 220 300 310 150
Cost of goods sold 125 100 110 150 155 75
Wages 60 60 60 70 75 60

We can see that the two biggest expenses have been added. The cost of goods to be sold are shown at about half the selling price and the wages are shown to be consistent with extra staff for the busy months.

You’ll then want to expand on this further and add other expenses (overheads such as rent and utilities).

Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6
Sales 250 200 220 300 310 150
Cost of goods sold 125 100 110 150 155 75
Wages 60 60 60 70 75 60
Other overheads 30 29 30 35 38 28
Total expenses 215 189 200 255 268 163


Calculate your profits

Deducting your total expenses from your sales will give your profit figure.

£ Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6
Sales 250 200 220 300 310 150
Cost of goods sold 125 100 110 150 155 75
Wages 60 60 60 70 75 60
Other overheads 30 29 30 35 38 28
Total expenses 215 189 200 255 268 163
Profit 35 11 20 45 42 -15

At this point, you’ll begin to see where your joy and pain points might be. For example, in Month 6 we can see that the business loses money. However, this might be tolerable as Month’s 4 and 5 have seen a decent profit levels.


Going forward…

As you proceed, checking in regularly and monitoring variances is a key activity, particularly in your first year where you won’t have the figures from previous years. You should include in your budget a column for the ‘Actual’ figures and monitor your performance against what you budgeted. Are you up or are you down? You may decide to do a reforecast every quarter where you can respond to changes in prices, sales volumes, and changes to the economic climate.

Whilst this is only a very simple business budget, it hopefully gives you an idea of the steps you’ll need to take when drawing up your own plans. As your business evolves and expands, it’s quite likely you’ll need to produce multiple budgets that work in tandem – for example, stock and production budgets, overhead budgets and cash budgets. But just getting a grip on the basics to begin with will go a long way.

Guest blog written by Huw Moxon Digital Marketing Manager at Informi and AAT

Our Intellectual Property Story

“Should we just pull out of the deal? If we don’t own the IP when we complete then what are we actually buying?”

Bevan and I had to ask ourselves these questions when we were going through the acquisition process of Start.Biz. The business had been trading in one form or another for 36 years when we acquired it. Its core offering was to protect other business’ Intellectual Property and yet when we came to buy it, we realised that it hadn’t taken the necessary steps to protect its own. Could this situation have been more ironic?!

The brand that the business was trading under had been in operation for over 30 years and was synonymous with the trading activity of the business itself. Whilst we had valued the business based on a multiple of profits, we were acutely aware that we were inheriting a ready-made brand with customers who had been loyal to it for decades. So, without owning the IP, we were putting ourselves (and our families, homes etc) at massive risk by completing on a transaction and potentially buying thin air.


Poking the bear

For a variety of reasons (legal and organisational), we were in a situation six weeks before completion where we were totally unclear as to who owned the Intellectual Property.

This matter only came to light as a result of our Due Diligence – up to that juncture, the Sellers believed that any IP was owned by the business. As a result of our questioning, we had identified that there was a third party who had made claim to owning the IP and was demanding hefty sums of money to release any claim to it.


Stalemate

The acquisition had been rolling on for nearly seven months when this came to light and had been a rollercoaster mainly driven by financial challenges; the last thing we expected to potentially scupper the deal was one surrounding Intellectual Property. As we didn’t own the business, we couldn’t take the case on and so we had to work with the Sellers on overcoming this challenge.

We were at an impasse, as we didn’t want to buy a business that didn’t have ownership over its name, brand and goodwill; whilst the Sellers were not prepared to sell as had they done so without this being resolved then they would have breached the legal documents associated with the transaction itself.


The price of victory

Thankfully, our Sellers had been around the block and were savvy enough to have retained copies of all documentation and notes/recordings of verbal conversations held. As with all things though, resolution came at a cost…. The legal fees associated with successfully concluding the matter were over £10,000 and delayed completing on the deal by more than two months.

We had finally overcome our last hurdle albeit we were poorer, a bit more stressed and with some more grey streaks in our hair!

Most importantly, we were able to buy the business and focus on driving it forwards rather than being laden down with legacy issues that would have hindered our growth and profitability in the first 12 months after we owned Start.biz.


So what?

Peace of mind and ultimately an ability to reap the rewards of a lot of hard work.

IP is often sold on the basis of fear when it should be sold on value. Now more than ever, brand identity and messaging are critical in generating goodwill and market value for businesses. Protecting IP preserves a business’ value and all of the blood, sweat and tears that has gone in behind the scenes to make that happen.

In our case, had this matter not been resolved then the deal would have fallen through, and the Sellers would have been left with a business that they couldn’t sell having spent 36 years building it up. All for what should have cost no more than £500 – £600 to protect in the first place. When the stakes are so high, the question to ask is not “So what?” but rather “Why not?”

8 Places to find your Perfect Business Mentor

Running your own company can be a lonely business, even if you have higher management or a business partner it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Finding a mentor could be the perfect solution for you, provide you with a fresh perspective and help you grow your business.
Before you go on the search have a think about what you would like from your mentor. Identify some public figures you admire in the business world, then go closer to home. Is there a particular independent business in the place you live that you like? Is there a smaller influencer on social media that provides good content? Having these things in mind you can start the process of finding a mentor(s). Keep the process as organic as possible and we would not advise asking someone to be your mentor when you first meet, unless they explicitly say they are looking for a mentee. We have outlined below some places you could find a mentor and there is no harm in introducing yourself. Keep it professional, friendly and be prepared to have some of your messages go unanswered.

1. Official mentor sites 

Some sites will be free, some have paywalls or there may be products/services you will need to purchase to gain access to their network of mentors. Depending on what you want from the relationship this could be a quick and straight-forward way to get the ball rolling.

2. Traditional Networking 

This doesn’t have to be a lot of bored looking business folk in polyester suits standing around a beige buffet, unless you want it to be. Networking in the traditional way may not suit your industry or might not be your thing. But go to events or places business owners you admire go to, you never know who you could get chatting with.

3. LinkedIn 

Make sure your profile is up to date, your photo is appropriate and you have filled out the bio section so people can understand who you are and why you are relevant to them. Send personalised messages with connection requests and follow companies and public figures. Don’t forget to join applicable groups as well!

4. Peers 

Mentors don’t necessarily have to be older and more experienced than you, or even in the same industry. Getting an outside point of view that totally refreshes your perspective or triggers a fantastic business idea can come from the most unlikely places. Talk through your issues with someone you click with and that you trust their opinion.

5. Communities 

There are a lot of online communities you can join for a monthly subscription fee that will give you access to mentor or peer directories. Try one out for a couple of months and see how it goes. These communities may be better tailored to your needs, e.g. women in business, creative businesses etc.

6. Memberships 

You can join local groups to meet other business owners, for example your areas Chamber of Commerce or National Enterprise Network.

7. Business Consultant 

This is a bit of a short cut and you will more than likely have to pay for the service as it’s a customer/service provider transaction. This could work for you if you just need to solve some issues or have an outside point of view and aren’t comfortable with building a traditional mentor/mentee relationship.

8. YouTube & Other Social Media. 

This again may be a bit of a cheat as it’s a one-way street of you consuming the business ‘gurus’ content and you probably won’t get the opportunity to ask personalised questions. When researching or strategizing watching advice channels, they can spark ideas that you can translate to your business. And you never know if you do reach out, they may become your dream mentor!
Once you’ve found someone that is happy to be your mentor and you their mentee set boundaries, be fully prepared whenever you have a meeting and don’t over run your allotted time agreed with them. You also don’t have to stick to one mentor or continue being mentored by them if you feel it’s run its course.

Resources 

Find or become a mentor with Mentors Me.
Find a mentor with Meet a Mentor.
If you get a start up loan through the British Business Bank you will gain access to their mentoring program

Finance & Funding Jargon Buster

You can’t know what you don’t know, especially when it’s wrapped up in abbreviations and buzzwords. Start.Biz are decoding the most commonly used jargon words when looking for business finance or a funding.

P&L 

Profit and Loss Account – a record of Income and Expenditure within a given 12-month financial period to ultimately determine profitability.

Balance Sheet 

A snapshot of the Assets and Liabilities owned/owed by a business at any particular moment in time i.e. Cash Balance or Value of Outstanding Loans. The value between the Assets owned by a Company after deducting the Liabilities it holds equates to its Net Assets.

Cash Flow Statement 

A log of monthly cash inflows/outflows often using a combination of retrospective and forecast information. For a small business, this is probably the key document to managing cash flow.

Working Capital 

This represents a measure of liquidity on a day-to-day basis within a business and is calculated after deducting liabilities such as supplier invoices/debt/PAYE/VAT from assets such as cash/customers invoices/stock.

MI 

Management Information – lenders often require Management Information such as Aged Debtor/Receivable reports and Management Accounts.

Statutory Accounts 

Financial year-end accounts as produced by the Directors of a business and filed with Companies House.

Management Accounts 

Monthly record of Management Information usually comprising Profit and Loss Account, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement

Aged Debtors 

A report of amounts owed by your Customers to the business.

Aged Creditors 

A report of amounted owed to Suppliers by the business.

SALIE 

Statement of Assets and Liabilities – a form usually completed when looking to borrow money comprised of i) Personal Assets & Liabilities (owned/owing), ii) Monthly/Annual log of income/expenditure.

If you have any questions about financing your business or would like to discuss your personal circumstances, please contact our expert team today. 

Access to Finance Consultation Line: 0800 069 9090 (freephone) or email finance@start.biz

How to Create a Logo for Your Business

how not to use the work we created. I would ask a client to allow me to use it in my portfolio though, under strict guidelines that I’m using it as an example of my work.’

5. A lot of our small business community use sites like Fiverr to create their logos due to limited budgets, would you advise this? 

‘It’s one of those things that sounds like a really good idea in your head. What you have on there is anyone with some design software and then what happens is you start to devalue the purpose of good design. I understand small businesses have less budget but it’s like if you hired a plumber for a fiver, you probably would still have a leaky tap at the end of it.’
‘Canva is great, we use it. I would advise to pop on there and use it for social media posts. If you’re doing a lot of social content, you need templates and it’s really useful for that. I wouldn’t use it to create a logo though.’ 

6. Are there any cliché’s you would advise to avoid in logo design? 

‘When someone says ‘we just like this’. That just means nothing. If I’m presenting to my Director or a client I will always go into the full meaning behind every element I’ve used. This includes colour, typography, colour, and shapes, they all have a meaning why they are linked back to the brief and brand I’m working on.
Don’t follow trends. Trends are just trends, and they change each year but a brand is meant to be timeless. You can’t have something that’s going to fade away in a year.
‘Keep it simple but significant.’ 
Also, the use of generic symbols. Using really obvious icons in a logo, for example how many coffee shops have you seen with a coffee cup in the logo? Or dentists that use a tooth in their logo?
I don’t know if it’s a cliché, but I don’t like monograms, like two interwoven letters. If you google any two letters, you’ll come up with loads of ways that those two letters can look together, it’s very clever but generally it’s overused and it’s not saying anything about the brand.’

7. What are the biggest mistakes people make when designing a logo? 

‘It’s understanding good design. Everything from the basics of how things are aligned through to typography. Typography has so much meaning, every letter and font style has a different meaning as to why it’s those letters and those shapes and why they’re spaced out that way. Choosing a different font is going to give a whole new meaning to your brand. A number of fonts get overused because they’re safe. Designers saying not to use Helvetica has actually now become a cliché within itself.
‘The whole point of a brand is to cut through the noise of your competitors and speak to the audience you want to speak to. If you use safe design, you’ll just get lost in a sea of brands and advertising.’ 
‘People don’t really think about scaling things. I think that really matters when it comes to typography, you could have a really nice type face that looks amazing when you’re a foot away from your computer screen but when you stand 6 feet back you can’t read it. Think about how the logo will look when someone is driving past in a car, or how it looks scaled down onto a business card or blown up onto a billboard.’
‘Don’t be scared to do things a little bit differently, go against the grain. You never know where it could take you.’ 

8. What is some of your favourite branding? 

‘The IMB logo is timeless, they haven’t changed that since the 70’s and they haven’t needed to. MacDonalds are a great example of maximising the potential of your logo, even building campaigns around it. I don’t want to advocate anyone eat MacDonalds but from a branding point of view they’ve created a whole story out of that logo that really speaks to people.’
‘Ultimately it’s about communicating your brand and creating something your customers will love.’ 
You can check out Oliver’s work here
Instagram – ovr-design