So, what about contracts?

How do you approach the issue of contracts in your business?  Do you always ensure that you sign a contract before providing your goods and or services? Do you feel confident to even suggest signing a contract especially when your clients are your friends and relatives. Or, do you take the approach of “I don’t need a contract, everything will be fine?”

If you have worked with me in the past, or if you know me personally, you will know that I am all about getting things in writing.  And yet, even though one of the services that I offer my clients through my business support service is that of drafting and vetting contracts, I have to confess that I recently fell prey to one of the things that I tell my clients not to do – providing a service before signing the contract.  As a result, I feel duty bound to write this article to highlight the dangers of providing a service in the absence of a written contract. 

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“always get it in writing”

So in August 2016, one of my friends approached me to enquire about providing decorating services for one of their colleagues.  The deadline was a bit tight since I was about to travel abroad, and would not be returning until a few days before the wedding date.  During our subsequent telephone consultation, I told the prospective client that if she could get another venue planner while I was away, she should go ahead.  But, if she was unable to do  so and needed our services  when I returned to the UK then I would be more than happy to provide the service.

So, we left it at that, and by the time I returned from holidays, there were exactly 4 days left before the wedding.  She still hadn’t found anyone and so, against my better judgement, and always wanting to be “kind and helpful” I decided to take the job.

venue decor

The request was to provide floral centre pieces for 30 tables, chair covers for over 250 chairs and to dress the cake table.  At this point, the focus for me was to dive right in, sourcing materials to fulfil the job and then to iron out the contract afterwards – after all, we only had a few days to pull this off.

During the initial consultation, I stressed to the client how EXPENSIVE flowers were and hence, how expensive it would be to decorate her venue with flowers.  (Check out this article on the true cost of wedding flowers by top florist Simon Nickell).  We started negotiations for the centrepieces with a quote based on a rough estimate for a simple, low centre piece.  However, on further discussions the request was for more elaborate, tall centre pieces which meant an increase in the prices quoted for initially.  Suffice it to say that at this point, due to the short window in which the service had to be provided, both parties were operating on complete trust and confidence.  My business partner questioned whether we should go along with the project, but not one to back down from a challenge, and knowing that the client would find it difficult to engage another venue planner with only a few days to go before the wedding, I forged ahead with the planning.

Confirming the details of the arrangement was a challenge, since by now, the client was rushed off her feet dealing with all her other vendors.  I did manage to confirm some of the main aspects of our agreement with her in writing by email, text messages and telephone converations, but I didn’t get her to sign a contract before starting the service as I usually would.  There simply wasn’t time to do so.

In terms of payment, my modus operandi is usually 50% in advance on a date to be agreed depending on the date of the event, and the balance one week before the event.  However, taking into account that this was a referral and the fact that the client appeared “really nice, decent and reasonable”,  I assumed that all would be well.

I received an advanced payment which mostly went towards the purchase of the flowers.   Everything else was funded by us (floral equipment, chair covers and tiebacks, additional staff and delivery and setup)  with the expectation that we would recover these costs on receipt of the balance which was anticipated on the day of the event.

My business partner and I worked really hard to provide a top quality service, going over and above the call of duty in order to source items and supplies in the colours and quantities that were required.  Never did we imagine that there would be any reluctance on the client to pay us for our service, but that is exactly what happened.

On the day of the wedding, when we returned to take down the decorations, the bride announced that she had asked her sister to settle with the vendors and that this would be done during the coming week as opposed to on the day of the event as is customary.

The alarm bells still did not ring, until I rang on the Thursday after the wedding, having not heard from the bride’s sister, only to be told that the bride is requesting receipts for my services before final payment.  I was flabbergasted – as I had sent her an itemised invoice setting out the cost of the service!  It was then I realised that the absence of a contract must have given her the mistaken impression that this was not a business arrangement.  After all, when I walk into a restaurant and order a meal, I don’t then ask the manager for receipts for the ingredients that he used in my meal, before settling the bill.

Suffice it to say that six months later, I still have not received payment for the total amount of the services provided to this client and it seems that there is a definite possibility that I might have to take her to court in order to receive the monies that are due to us.

So, What about contracts?

  • Always get it in writing;
  • Always structure your payment plans so that you receive the bulk of your money before the work is completed.

Watch out for details of our upcoming seminars and workshops on Contract Law for self employed and small business owners.

This article has been brought to you by Cay Moore, Owner of Cay Moore Associates and Creative Director at Cay Moore Events Management and Bloomin Beautiful Balloons and Blossoms

contact: Email: caymoore@hotmail.co.uk            Tel:  07957459136

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Cay Moore Associates Business Support

Don’s Jerk Centre – “a yaso nice”

Authors: Cheraldine A-J Amaadzie and Cay Moore

Don’s Jerk Centre, located at 215 Streatham Road, Mitcham represents a perfect example of how vision, ambition, drive and determination can inspire you to great heights. https://www.facebook.com/dons.jerkcentre/about

This takeaway restaurant is the brainchild of Donavan Howe and Anna Chandell Taylor, who for many years held a strong desire to own their own business.  Don, as he is commonly referred to and Anna were able to realize their dream on the 29th of June 2013, when Don’s Jerk Centre opened its doors to Mitcham residents.

Don, Anna, Jessie and the Team with customers looking on with the birthday cake, and the champagne!!

Established as a family business, the restaurant has fast become a favorite with the local community. This is attributable to the wonderful customer service, and the delicious authentic cuisine that is always on offer at this delightful restaurant. It is no surprise that several customers were on hand on Saturday 28th of June 2014 to join in the 1st anniversary celebrations and to wish Don and the team continued success.

L-R: Anna, Don, Cllr. Dehaney

Councillor John Dehaney, who gave a short address, praised Don and his team for all the hard work that has gone into seeing the business through its first year. He encouraged them to “stay focused and committed to their goal of becoming the preferred choice for delicious West Indian meals in London”.

 

Front Row (Right to Left): Don, Anna, Cllr Dehaney, Jessie and members of the Team with Likkle Minty – photographer (white shirt)                                                    Back Row (Left to Right): Rev. Cockfield, Cay Moore

Don’s Jerk Centre has now added a delivery service and a loyalty card scheme to the excellent services already on offer.

As part of their thank you speech to customers,  Don, Anna, sister Jessie and brother Gary encouraged everyone to continue supporting the restaurant and to spread the word that “a yaso nice” (interpreted in English this means “this place is nice”).

L-R: Gary and Cllr Dehaney looking on  as Don gets the Champagne ready!

If you missed the celebrations on the 28 of June 2014, then put a reminder in your diary for the dates 2 to 10 of August 2014 when the restaurant will put on a week of activities to mark the anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence which falls on the 6th of August.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

don and minty

PHOTOGRAPHY: Likkle Minty Productions https://www.facebook.com/likkle.minty

L:R - Rev. Cockfield, Gary, Anna, Don and Cllr. Dehaney looking on as Cay Moore addresses the Special Guests and customers at the 1st Anniversary Celebrations of Don's Jerk Centre Takeaway Restaurant.

CAY MOORE EVENTS https://www.facebook.com/CayMooreEvents L:R – Rev. Cockfield, Gary, Anna, Don and Cllr. Dehaney looking on as Cay Moore addresses the Special Guests and customers at the 1st Anniversary Celebrations of Don’s Jerk Centre Takeaway Restaurant.

 

copyright 2014 Cay Moore All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

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So, What about …

SWACJan

This document is copyright Cay Moore Associates.  All Rights Reserved.
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What are the Stations of the Cross?

Just reflecting how five years on, this service still have such a profound effect on me.

Whenever I attend this service and as we move around the stations, I can feel myself transported in time and place, I imagine the feeling of desolation that must have overcome believers as they stand and watch the one who they had held as their saviour CRUCIFIED! And then I know that I cannot let his death be in vain – “his wounds paid my ransom”. I must now look forward to Sunday, when we shall be overcome with joy in the knowledge that he is RISEN.

Come and join us tomorrow at 10:00a.m. at St. Barnabas Church in Mitcham as we celebrate the RISEN Christ.

Cay_Moore

The Stations of the Cross refer to a series of pictures or other artistic representations used to depict the last events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Although commonly used in conjunction with prayer and meditation as a spiritual devotion during Easter, they can be used at any time of the year.

St Barnabas Church in Mitcham holds a beautiful devotional on Good Friday each year at 2:00p.m.  Yesterday’s service was led by Fr. Joabe Cavalcanti and Rev Trudy Payne and I have included some excerpts from the devotional below. If you are not able to get to a service near you, then perhaps just reflecting on this devotional might keep you in touch with the most important event in the Christian Calendar.

Good Friday at St. Barnabas Church, Mitcham Good Friday at St. Barnabas Church, Mitcham

Station 1:Jesus is condemned to death (Matthew 27:22-26)                        Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                               Pilate…

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There is Life after Redundancy II

Six years ago on the 31 July 2009, I was faced with a redundancy situation and chose to make the brave decision to opt for the redundancy. It was one of the best decisions I made, since it turned out to be the catalyst for a powerful and fulfilling change in my career path.   I wrote about this experience on my blog on the 12 April 2012 – read about it here.

Although I did not know then, exactly how I was going to forge my future, I knew that I wanted to take a chance and do something different, something that would make all my years of experience and the knowledge I had acquired over the years, count for something. How right I was.  You see that decision resulted in me doing some remarkable things and meeting some remarkable people – something that would not have happened if I had stayed in that nine to five job.

Every year since 2010 on the 31 July, I have marked that date in some way. This year, being the 5th anniversary of my actual sojourn into self employment, I wanted to do something more special, and so I did!  I hosted an evening of fellowship under the banner “Women who Inspire“.

Themed around a selection of poems taken from books written and published by the uber talented Jacqueline Ewers – author and owner of publishing company JewelMark Press.  I invited several women (from various aspects of my business and personal life) to each read a poem from fifteen poems selected by Jacqueline herself.

women who inspire

Women Who Inspire 2015

I need to mention here, that Jacqueline was also one of the people who were threatened with redundancy from the same organisation at the same time.

Might I also mention, that it was quite a challenge selecting the women, since there have been so many women over the past five years who have really influenced and impacted my journey.

Feedback on the 2015 event has been absolutely incredible.  Participants and guests alike have commented on how wonderful an evening it was.  Already I am being asked for the date of the next event!   If you are reading this, and especially if you have crossed my path on or offline over the last five years, watch out – as I am coming to get you for Women who Inspire 2016.  Don’t be surprised if you receive an invitation round about the same time next year to “Come Dine with Cay” where you will be asked to read a poem or some similar inspirational piece.

Once I have received some pictures from the photographer and gathered all the feedback, I will share more about the event, and also some of my plans for the next five years, God’s willing.

I couldn’t say thank you’s without mentioning a few other people who helped to make the evening so successful:

Abigail Armar for the delicious food;

Jean, Jodine, Dianne, Evette and Yvonne for providing hospitality;

Nii Armar, Johnson A and Coby Armar for their “media services”;

the wonderfully engaging audience that encouraged the readers throughout the evening;

and last of all my fabulous husband Alex Amaadzie and my children Alexandra, Errol and Cheraldine for fully supporting me while I engage in these philanthropic activities and ventures!

Fuller write up with pictures of the evening etc., coming soon.

Love and Blessings,

Cay Xxx

PS: If you are facing redundancy or are at risk of redundancy, remember these words from the Holy Book:  Psalm 20:4  “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed”.

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2014 in review

One of my Promises to Me:  To blog more and some…

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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The only way is Premae

“Big and Small are just words”, thus commented Clare Eluka during a conversation when someone inferred that launching into a new initiative can be quite daunting as the task or tasks at hand can seem so huge.  Clare’s words of advice were “Just do it!”  And coming from Clare, such words of encouragement should be like gold dust to a listening ear, since Clare’s achievements have been remarkable.

claire pic for blog

I first met Clare at a networking event and was impressed with the story of her journey into her chosen business venture.  A journey of faith, hope, passion and conviction.  It has been a true inspiration to watch her forge her way through a very unique and competitive niche market.  After all, the skin care and cosmetics industry though quite lucrative, is not only highly competitive but can also be difficult to infiltrate.  I am sure that Clare will be the first to admit that her rise to success has not been easy, but when you speak with her you get someone who is determined to make it against all odds.  What I like most about Clare is that she is not aloof, and success has not rendered her inaccessible.  She always acknowledges you online and offline and always with kind words and a beautiful smile.

I was really thrilled to have been able to attend the Grand Opening of Clare’s first flagship store on the ground floor of the Whiteleys Centre, Queensway, London.  I sense that this store is the first of many more to come.  Even more poignant though, was the comment of an Asian lady who was just passing by the store but felt compelled to stop by to say “you should all be very proud – first black skincare and cosmetics shop in England!”  Which brings me to a very important point, this lady said “WE SHOULD ALL  be very proud of Clare’s achievement”.

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You see, this is the way that Asian people operate – when one of their own succeed, it is a triumph for ALL of them.  It follows therefore that if we (as black people) are proud of our own people’s success, then we should support them where possible especially if their products or services  are worthy of that support.

So, next time you are thinking of getting your skincare or makeup think PREMAE.  And if you were unlucky enough to miss the beautiful opening event, then do pop down to the store, you can still benefit from special offers and Clare and her team will be on hand to give excellent advice on the products.

Click here for a brief video of Premae’s opening event.

 

For more info:

General Enquiries: ask@premaeskincare.com

Online Shop Enquiries: shop@premaeskincare.com

Stockists & Wholesale: wholesale@premaeskincare.com

 

Copyright Cay Moore (2014)  All Rights reserved

 

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The Quest for Knowledge

“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes”.
Peter Drucker

To be the best at what you do, your quest for knowledge should be unrelenting! I have always liked learning new things and from the time I was old enough to read I would spend hours reading anything I could get my hands on. Some things I understood first time round, others I understood better when I revisited them years later. I suppose you could call me a perpetual student!

My quest for knowledge has stood me in good stead over the years – and have allowed me to reinvent myself and or to adapt to new challenges as they come. I recall when I ventured out on my journey into self-employment I couldn’t get enough of what was then “Business Link”. I spent several hours a day trawling the web for anything that would inform my business plan.

I realised also that not everything I needed to know would be free, but that some information and or ‘know how’ came at a cost. So I set out my learning and development programme and earmarked the things that I would have to pay for immediately in order to present an authentic service to my prospective clients. I knew that in doing this, I would be investing in my future and in the sustainability of my business.

Over the years I have spent several hundred pounds on learning new skills and on my personal and professional development and I haven’t so far regretted a penny. And I will carry on spending where I need to, in order to grow and develop and be the best me.

There is also the investment in time and energy. Some of the events and training sessions that I attended involved trecking across London. I recall one such trek when I was attending Capel Manor College to undergo my 6 week floral decoration training. This involved three hours return each day on the Northern Line – longer if I had to take the bus. And… For one of those weeks it snowed all week – but I persevered because achieving that floristry qualification was part of my development plan.

So why am I telling you all this? Well, I am now in the business of offering professional services to self-employed and small business owners and I am flabbergasted at how many business owners scrimp at paying for their personal and business development. If it is not free, they are not interested.

I get requests like, “could you show me how to do that?” Or else, I get the “well it sounds really Interesting but I can’t afford it!” My services are ethically priced because I do take into account that startups in particular have challenging financial issues – after all, I was once a startup! Furthermore most of my services involve pro-bono elements and complimentary offers to carefully selected clients (under my “one good turn deserves another” policy). But I could never give away all my services for free, because that would diminish the value of my work!

My parting comment is “ignore your personal development at your peril – the saying knowledge is power is very true!”

Does anyone else out there have this problem? I would love to hear from you.

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The top legal issues facing self employed and small business owners in 2014

Being a self employed or a small business owner means that the buck stops with you, especially in the early days when you are the chief cook and bottle washer.  You wear all the hats, Director, Accountant, Lawyer, Receptionist, Administrator – you name it, you are it.  Pretty daunting, isn’t it?

In the corporate world, ignorance of the law is no excuse and so it is important that as small business owners we develop an awareness of the legal issues that matter and equip ourselves with at least a working knowledge of the relevant areas of the law.  This should form part of our professional development plan.

We are staging a series of Legal Seminars and Workshops that will aim to give self employed and small business owners an overview of various aspects of the law. The first in the series focuses on elements of Contract Law, you can find details here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/so-what-about-contracts-tickets-4938337701

Of the following issues that we have identified as being key in 2014, which would you say mattered most to you? Please let us know by taking part in our Poll. Thanks in advance 🙂

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Are you a completer/finisher?

It has been a bit of a revelation that very often when I am called in to work on a project, nine out of ten times, it’s because of unfinished work that started off brilliantly, but which fell by the way because there was no one there to see it through to its conclusion.  In today’s work place, everyone wants to be the ideas person, but no one want to do the work that is required to realise the idea.  Perhaps this is a reflection of society, where patience is not a virtue, and where everyone wants everything to be done immediately.

According to Belbin, my weaknesses as a completer/finisher are that I have a tendency to be over-anxious and have difficulty letting go and delegating work.  To a great extent this is true, since by nature I am quite an organised person, a bit of a perfectionist, and never one to leave anything unfinished.  And when it comes to delegating, well, I am rooted in the belief that no one can do ‘it’ better than I can!

Needless to say, I sometimes find it quite frustrating to design systems for businesses.  Clients do not always want perfection, they want quick fixes.  The challenge for me is to convince them that waiting that little bit longer, and perhaps spending that little bit extra is what’s needed to fix the problem in their business.  There have been the odd occasions where I have had to decline working on a project where I strongly suspect that doing so would compromise my standard of work.  And by the way, this nonchalant attitude is not limited to small businesses, bigger companies also have a less than professional approach to good systems and processes.

A completer/finisher values the satisfaction to be gained from planning a project, executing a project and then seeing it through to its conclusion.  Quite recently I was called in to design an administrative system for a small business.  When I arrived I did my diagnostic exercise and found that whilst there were some excellent ideas for systems and processes already in place, no one had spent the time to actually document and share these.  So in effect, the office was trudging along quite inefficiently.

Using information and other material that was already available from work that various members of staff had started but left unfinished, I was able to:

  • organise electronic and paper manuals setting out the systems and processes that underpin the business;
  • design templates for office documents
  • make recommendations for data security and
  • set up electronic calendars

All these documents and templates are now housed in shared electronic folders which means everyone in the business have access to the same information.  The result has been a definite increase in efficiency since far less time is wasted searching for documents, and duplicating processes.

I really do enjoy bringing order to organisational chaos.  And with today’s technology this is made so much easier with all the cloud computing programmes and simple software

English: Cloud Computing visual diagram

applications such as Microsoft Office that are available on the market.

So, are you a completer/finisher?  Is there a member of your team that you can rely on to complete projects?  If not, then you could be working harder but not smarter.  Hire a completer/finisher now and watch your business efficiency increase tenfold.

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This article has been brought to you by Cay Moore, Owner of Cay Moore Associates and Creative Director at Cay Moore Events

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