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Company Owner? Top Ways To Keep Down Business Gas Prices

If you are a small business in the UK that is worried about your business gas prices, you are most certainly not alone.

There can be no disguising the fact that price hikes in business gas prices are almost inevitable as supplies become harder to come by, and in 2013 it was even reported that in the UK emergency supplies even had to be shipped in from abroad as the level of gas supply was that low!

There is nothing we can do to help improve the gas supply unfortunately, so that is an element of business gas prices we cannot really control. Nevertheless, there are some ways in which we can actually combat the business gas prices. In this article therefore, I give a brief rundown of potential steps to take in order to keep your business gas prices as low as possible.

Go to the source – (not quite directly!)

While I’m not saying you go tracking down your own gas supply to cut down your business gas prices, it is worth contacting your gas supplier directly. You will then be able to see if they can provide smart meters or other such devices to help you get your head around exactly what your business is using to make your business gas prices what they are.

Who knows, if you have been with the energy supplier for a while, they may even be able to offer a better deal or incentive that makes your current business gas prices a little easier to swallow.

Some possible solutions

Depending on the age of your property, it may be worth investing in a new energy efficient boiler in order to help keep the prices down. Other, probably far cheaper but maybe a little more time consuming things to do include rearranging the office furniture in order to keep the airflow smooth and the radiators clear.

You can also look to fit more lagging and draught proofing in your office and also putting insulation into the loft and walls. Of course these things start to get slightly more complex as we go along, so it may be in your best interest to call in a professional to help in some cases. With the current Green Deal, it may even be possible to receive some kind of subsidy or loan towards the work. Contact your local authority for more information.

Switch things up

Switching supplier is usually a surprisingly hassle free way in which you can help cut down your business gas prices. As long as you are not on a fixed contract, the chances are you will be able to cancel an old supply and re-arrange a new, cheaper, one from another supplier. Sometimes you may have to pay an exit fee, but if you are astute enough, you will have made sure you checked for such things prior to signing on the dotted line, or be looking to change supplier when you know you no longer have to pay a fee.

Maintaining the Goodwill in Your Business

Because goodwill is your name and all of the things that your name encompasses, it needs to be properly protected against infringement. Consider this: a businessman in your local area (Area A) finds a home renovation company. He develops and begins to sell a tool of his own design, which he calls a ‘Benson’. The product is a hit in the immediate area, and its popularity increases along with the business name.

An entrepreneur from the next town (Area B) visits the home hardware store in your area and purchases the ‘Benson’, and decides that he could make a profit from another man’s idea. He opens his own renovation business in the next town and sells his own version of the ‘Benson’.

And yet, since he did not receive permission to reproduce the ‘Benson’, he did not know the original method of manufacture, and his own ‘Benson’ is a failure. His store is put out of business, and he is sued by a number of his clients who received injury from using his product.

Certainly, the entrepreneur was doomed to fail, as he stole the idea for the invention in the first place. This is, in fact, a common occurrence in small businesses across the world. However, his own failed business sends ripples of repercussions back toward the businessman in your area. These repercussions include:

  1. Consumers in Area B who travel to Area A will not purchase a ‘Benson’ due to its poor reputation.
  2. Consumers from Area B do not realise that the two businesses are in fact not affiliated and therefore refuse to buy a ‘Benson’.
  3. The businessman in Area A is unable to expand his business to Area B because his product already has an undeserved bad name there.
  4. The Health and Safety department in Area B decide to pay a visit to the Area A business to ensure that the product does not have the same faults as the faulty product.
  5. The media picks up the stories of the injured consumers and televises it: potential consumers condemn the Area A product.
  6. The Area A business risks closure due to the lack of business it receives due to an undeserved bad reputation.

Any of these situations could occur due to the fact that the businessman in Area A did not protect his goodwill. The businessman could have trademarked his business name and product name in order to gain the power to protect himself from infringement by the dishonest entrepreneur. Should the entrepreneur tried to open his own store and sell the same product without explicit permission, the Area A businessman would be entitled to take legal action in order to protect his good name. Therefore, his goodwill would be protected.

The government is not responsible for the preservation and protect of your business name. This is, in fact, your own responsibility as a business owner. Just because you own a business with a unique name does not imply that you are protected from infringement. The best way to protect your business, product, service, or brand name is to register it as a trademark.

There are too many business that neglect to protect their goodwill against infringement: this is because business owners hold the belief that trademark registration and protection is too costly for them. Consider this: trademark registration protects your business on a national scale, and can include your business name, designs, logos, slogans, and packaging, as well as other material that is unique to your business. When you are a registered trademark holder, you are protect against infringement for ten years, and then indefinitely with renewals every decade.

Trademark registration can be made simple with the consultation of an experienced trademark attorney. Your attorney can help you in the process of filling out your applications, as well as combating any legal action taken by your competition. You can even apply for international registration if you an exporting company.

Once your trademark has been registered you essentially gain the monopoly of that name within your country. Trademark protection is simple: when your mark is registered, you can prevent other companies from registering confusingly similar names as their own. You can also take immediate legal action should another party infringe on your trademark rights.

Boundaries Help You Build a Better Business

“You teach people how to treat you.”

Boundaries are essential to any successful business.

There are boundaries that are necessary for many parts of your business, but in terms of client boundaries, you need to really think about many things, and you need to set your own policies or boundaries to manage the different personalities that will be working within your business.

It’s critical in a virtual business when you are working with more than one client, to be able to articulate how you work with your clients.

It’s true that you teach people how to treat you – by the way you set them up, by the way you interact with them, and by the way you react to every situation.

Here are a few things you should consider when we talk about setting boundaries in your business:

Set your business hours. In order for clients to understand when you will be available, you need to be sure they know when you are available to work. By setting your business hours and letting them know, you will build better communication from the start. Be clear about when you will be working and what your response times will be via email, phone, or other communication method and your clients will be grateful. Tip: Don’t make yourself available outside of your business hours – clients will quickly expect you to be around when you might not be.

Manage your communication. Lack of communication can kill any good relationship, but in the business world it can cost you money. If you are not good at communicating with your clients, you may end up spending more time on a project than necessary, or even losing money due to poorly executed work together. Tip: Be sure to set a policy or a plan to connect regularly – whether it’s by phone or email or IM (whatever works for both of you) – and then keep that appointment! It can go a long way in keeping things organized for your work together.

Manage your tasks. Project management is one of the key things about working virtually. You need to be sure you stay organized, but also can keep up with your client demands as well. Open communication is key here as well, to be sure that everyone’s priorities are the same. Tip: Whether you pick a project management service to work your ‘to do’ list, or whether you are a ‘pen and paper’ person, be sure that you have one way to manage what you are doing on a daily basis. It will go farther when your system works for you.

Create policies. As a business person, it’s essential that you ‘map out’ everything that could happen in your business, and develop policies around all of it. From client intake, to project management, to bill payment, you should have policies in place for everything so that your clients have direction as to how to work with you. Tip: If you don’t have policies in place for all of the facets of your business at this stage… get them done. You can always tweak and revise as you see fit, but be sure to have a basic policy manual ready to refer to when your clients ask you questions (that way you’ll give all of them the same answer!)

Boundaries come in many shapes and forms – and when you consider that you are working with many different personalities who may not all ‘think’ the same way, it’s really important that you teach them how to treat you.

If you let someone cross your boundaries, they will be taught that it’s okay.

Set your boundaries, and then stick to them. You’ll run a better business, and your clients will appreciate it too!