Is it time to put your business into survival mode?

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Is it time to put your business into survival mode?

As humans go, entrepreneurs are the optimistic kind.

And it’s a good job we are, because if that wasn’t the case, far fewer of us would take those first steps towards starting a business. 

Small businesses account for 99.2% of our business population. Without the five and a half million small businesses that exist in the UK, our economy would be in even more of a pickle. (And many more of us would be stuck working in corporate machines, instead of enjoying the benefits of being your own boss.)

Being optimistic by nature doesn’t mean you can’t be realistic too, though. If you’ve read our free resource on how to arm your business with organisational resilience, you’ll know that asking the difficult questions and talking about future failure is really healthy for you and your business. And right now, the fight between small businesses and business failure is in full swing. 

As Startups.co.uk put it:

“We’re not the first generation to experience pandemics, a cost of living crisis, war and unreliable governments. But never in living memory has there been quite a measurable onslaught of all of these things all at once, and on such a global scale.”

In business, and in life, it’s not realistic to expect to thrive 100% of the time. But the business landscape hasn’t been this bumpy since, well… ever. In fact, the Collins Dictionary word of 2022 is ‘permacrisis’ – a term that describes living in an age of continued upheaval, or an extended period of instability and insecurity.

Our economy will bounce back, and small businesses will grow and thrive. But until then, flicking the switch to survival mode might be a good idea.

What is survival mode?

You may have heard the expression “just to keep the lights on” to describe the measures businesses are being forced to take, just to stay open. (Given the rate that electricity prices have soared, that’s not something we can say lightly any more.)

Survival mode is when a business shifts its priorities away from any costly campaigns, exciting new projects or risky growth plans, and instead focuses all efforts and resources on keeping the essential operations running.

If you’ve not yet worked out what’s essential for your business, it’s actually not as big a job as it might sound. This business advice article explains how to identify - and build resilience around - your ‘mission critical’ activities, using the example of a mobile coffee shop. There are things you can do right now that will significantly strengthen your business, such as taking out the right insurance for what you do.

Of all the advice we’ve been given about business survival, the thing that we lean on most heavily in tough times is: each other. 

Across the UK, independent business owners are looking out for each other.

Whether it’s choosing to shop local on Small Business Saturday to show your support in your local area, or taking time to find a business coach who’s survived some tough times too.

High Life North magazine shared tips from a number of business owners who have fought through previous recessions - from the 2008 crash to Covid - and survived. We asked permission to share some of their ‘lessons learned’ with you.

Entrepreneur 1: Laura Weaving of Duo Global Consulting

  • Take a step back and look at where your revenue comes from – is it from diverse sources? If you can create a business model that has recurring revenue, you’ll be less likely to lose a big chunk of business overnight.

  • Switch your mindset to spot potential opportunities. Don’t let fear or potential negatives overtake you.

Entrepreneur 2: Louise Kennedy of Oculus HR

  • Focus on your clients and don’t lose sight of delivering an outstanding service. Offer support where possible – remember other business owners will be going though similar challenges to you.

  • Protect your cashflow to ensure you can cover your costs. If not, it’s time to start deciding which cutbacks need to be made.

  • Evaluate your internal processes and actions – can they be more effective and efficient? Consider which processes positively impact the business and adapt any that don’t.

Entrepreneur 3: Sarah Pittendrigh of Simply Bows and Chair Covers

  • Try not to let panic creep in and cloud your judgment, as this can lead to making costly knee jerk decisions. 

  • Think of innovative marketing campaigns on social media – it is free!

Entrepreneur 4: Ben Quigley of Different Narrative

  • Don’t go dark with marketing – if you need to save money, trim marketing budgets, don’t axe them altogether. Businesses that maintain visibility stay strong in recession and emerge stronger out of them!

  • Focus tightly on core business activities and cut out all other distractions. Identify what you’re best at doing and deliver an excellent experience consistently. Be clear about what you do and stay laser-focused.

Entrepreneur 5: Karl Mitchell of the IT Cent.re

  • Embrace automation for things that can be done well and analyse spending on existing recurring subscriptions- these micro-spends add up to big recurring liabilities. This will allow you to remain agile and give you a better chance of survival.

  • Don’t let people exploit payment terms when they are bigger than you.

Stuck waiting for late payments?

For help negotiating Fair Payment Terms into your contract, check out this advice from the Small Business Commissioner.

Get more tips from High Life North

Here we've shared with you some of the tips and advice from five of the eight entrepreneurs who spoke to High Life North.
Head to their website to read the rest!

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Privacy Notice & Cookies Policy

We take your privacy seriously and are committed to maintaining the trust and confidence of our clients, visitors to our website and subscribers to our newsletter. Maintaining the security of your data is critical and we have implemented measures to ensure your privacy rights are respected and applied. We commit to process your data fairly, legally and to be transparent about how we do so.

This notice, which applies whether you use our services or use our website, explains our approach to data integrity and your individual rights.

It does not apply to pages hosted by our referral partners, independent consultants, and associates.

By registering with Smarta you consent to the collection, use and transfer of your information under the terms of this notice.

Put simply, we set out what we are going to do with your data in this Privacy Notice.

  • We ask you to read this Privacy Notice to ensure you are happy with the way that Smarta will process your data.

  • We ask you to confirm that you agree with our Privacy Notice when you confirm your decision to enter into a customer relationship with us.

  • We provide the option to opt into the different marketing options that you prefer.

The processing of personal data is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR).

The notice may change from time to time so please check for updates.

If you need further details or are unsure in any way, please contact us at  info@transmitstartups.co.uk .

Who are we?

Smarta is a trading name of Transmit Start-Ups Ltd which is a Limited Company registered in England. (referred to as “Smarta” “Transmit”, “we”, “our” or “us” in this notice).

Our registered number is 08702257.

Our registered office is Northern Design Centre, Baltic Business Quarter, Abbott's Hill, Gateshead, NE8 3DF.

What personal information do we collect and process?

We collect and process your data in the following circumstances:

  • When you register to join Smarta

  • When you join the small business directory

  • When you use our website

  • When you sign up for our mailing list

  • When you complete the contact form on our website

  • When you contact us through other means such as email, telephone, or web chat

Smarta may collect the following information about you:

  • Your name, date of birth and gender

  • Your ethnicity, qualification levels and employment status

  • Your contact details: postal address, telephone numbers (including business, personal & mobile numbers) and e-mail address

  • Your device’s IP address

  • Your online browsing activities on the Company website

  • Your communication and marketing preferences

  • Your interests, preferences, feedback, and survey responses

  • Your location

  • Your correspondence and communications with us

  • Other publicly available personal data, including any which you have shared via a public platform (such as a LinkedIn profile, Twitter feed or public Facebook page).

  • Information about your business

This list is not exhaustive, and, in specific instances, we may need to collect additional data for the purposes set out in this notice. Some of the above personal data is collected directly, for example when you engage with us. Other personal data is collected indirectly, for example your browsing activity. We may also collect personal data from third parties who have your consent to pass your details to us, or from publicly available sources.

Why do we collect and process your personal information?

We only collect and process the information needed to effectively provide our services to you, as well as for contact and communication purposes.

We will use your personal information as part of our internal reporting processes.

How is your personal information used?

We use your personal data:

  • To provide services to you

  • To effectively communicate with you

  • To respond to your enquiries

  • To make our website and other social media content available to you

  • To verify your identity

  • For crime and fraud prevention, detection, and related purposes (if mandated by law)

  • To contact you (with your agreement) electronically about promotional offers and services which may interest you

  • For market research purposes and to better understand your needs

  • To enable us to manage service interactions with you

  • To ensure compliance with our contractual obligations, including auditing and reporting, we have in providing our service to you

  • Where we have a legal right or duty to use or disclose your information (for example in relation to an investigation by a public authority or in a legal dispute)

  • Test new systems and check upgrades to existing systems to improve our service delivery

  • Help improve our products and services, for quality control, security, internal record keeping and other business needs

Certain types of personal information, such as gender and ethnicity, are used only as part of our contractual reporting requirements, for the purposes of monitoring and promoting equal opportunities.

The lawful basis for processing your personal information

Legitimate interest

We may collect, hold, and process your personal data on the basis of legitimate interest where it is necessary in order for us to fulfil our needs as a business and to be able to provide you with our services, including, but not limited to:

  • To send you information about your loan

  • To provide details of the benefits available as part of the loan agreement

  • Protecting customers, employees and other individuals and maintaining their safety, health, and welfare

  • Promoting, marketing, and advertising our products and services

  • Understanding our customers’ behaviour, activities, preferences, and needs

  • Improving existing products and services and developing new products and services

  • Complying with our legal and regulatory obligations

  • Preventing, investigating, and detecting crime, fraud or anti-social behaviour and prosecuting offenders, including working with law enforcement agencies

  • Handling customer contacts, queries, complaints, or disputes

  • Protecting Transmit Start-Ups Ltd., its employees, and customers, by taking appropriate legal action against third parties who have committed criminal acts or are in breach of legal obligations to us and our staff

  • Effectively handling any legal claims or regulatory enforcement actions taken against us

  • Fulfilling our duties and obligations to our customers, staff, colleagues, shareholders, and other stakeholders.

Consent

We collect, hold, and process your personal data on the basis that you give us consent when you accept this Privacy Notice.

We will seek your consent to hold and process your data when you sign up to our mailing list or we need to ask for any sensitive data as part of the application process. If you chose not to sign up to our mailing list, we will still communicate with you when necessary as part of our contractual obligations.

You remain in control of the personal data you share with Transmit. You can change your preferences at any time, by choosing whether you want to give consent to your data being processed for specific types of communication and / or communication channels.

Vital interest

We may use your personal information to contact you if we reasonably believe that the processing of your personal data will prevent or reduce any potential harm to you. This type of notification is in your vital interest.

Legal Obligation

We may use and process your personal data to comply with our legal obligations such as HMRC requirements, if it is genuinely needed for law enforcement, to identify you as an individual if you contact us, or to verify the accuracy of your data.

Who we share your personal information with

Our service providers and suppliers

In order to make certain services available to you, we may need to share your personal data with some of our service partners. These include HMRC, cloud storage and IT providers.

Transmit only allows its service providers to handle your personal data when we have confirmed that they apply appropriate data protection and security controls. We also impose contractual obligations on service providers relating to data protection and security, which mean they can only use your data to provide services to Transmit and to you, and for no other purposes.

Where your personal information is stored

Your information is stored on dedicated hardware used by Transmit Startups and all data is held and backed up within the UK or EU or is covered by the  EU-US Privacy Shield Framework .

The data is stored within a MariaDB database in a secure hosting environment. The only way to access the database is via a server console or via SSH. 

User data is also synced into Hubspot – a cloud-based Customer Relationship Management system.

Images & Assets are securely hosted on a service called S3 - which is an Amazon Web Service (AWS) service. Only authenticated users within the site have access to push files to this location. 

Where you communicate with us by email, we may store copies of the emails. Our email service is provided through  Google G Suite .

How we keep your personal information secure

We are committed to keeping your personal data safe and secure.

Our security measures include:

  • Encryption of sensitive data

  • Back up of data

  • Password management

  • Implementing risk management and data impact assessment analysis

  • Regular cyber security assessments of all service providers who may handle your personal data

  • Security controls which protect our IT infrastructure from external attack and unauthorised access

  • Internal policies setting out our data security approach and training for staff.

Only authorised and trained personnel can access your personal information if required to do so as part of their legitimate job role.

How long we keep your personal information

We will not retain your data for longer than necessary for the purposes set out in this notice. As long as you wish to be a customer of Smarta or be displayed in our directory we will retain your data for that purpose.

Your personal data stored in the website’s database will be automatically deleted from here after five years. You can request the amendment or deletion of your data at any time.

Automated decision making, including profiling

We may retain some data for reporting and statistical purposes however this will only occur after removing all personal information that would allow an individual to be identified. This is called anonymisation.

Transmit do not engage in any profiling activity.

When do we collect your information?

Website forms

Our website has forms built-in to allow the user to create an account and interact with the site via the submission of data. When you use our forms, the information submitted is securely stored in the website’s database. Your personal data stored in the website’s database will be automatically deleted from here after five years. Your personal data is encrypted by the website.

The website is built using a framework called Laravel (it is an open-source PHP MVC framework for bespoke platform development). 

The forms are built within this stack using VueJS, form data is submitted via Axios (AJAX HTTP requests) to a controller that parsers the data and stores in within a data store. 

Sensitive data and passwords are encrypted using OpenSSL and the AES-256-CBC cipher. 

Mailing list

If you opt-in to our newsletter when registering we collect your email address and name so that we can correspond with you. Your personal data will be stored on the website and Hubspot, which we use to send our newsletters. You can request to be removed anytime by clicking ‘unsubscribe’ in any newsletter/mailout or by contacting us.

Online data management (analytics and security)

When someone visits our website, we use a third-party service, Google Analytics, to collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns.

We collect information about your computer and about your visits to and use of this website (including your IP address, geographical location, browser type, referral source, length of visit, entry and exit points and the number of page views).

We do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site.

This information is only processed in a way which does not identify anyone.

We do not make and do not permit Google to make, any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website.

If we do ever want to collect personally identifiable information through our website, we will be upfront about this. We will make it clear when we collect personal information and will explain what we intend to do with it.

Website security and backups

Our website has HTTPS encryption via a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate to ensure any data passed between your browser and the web server (where this website is hosted) is encrypted. When you are on a secure page, a lock icon will appear on the bottom of web browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer.

This website and its database are automatically backed up every day via our hosting provider AWS (Amazon Web Services). Backups are stored for 90 days in the EU Region.

Links to Other Web Sites

This Privacy Notice does not cover the links within our site linking to other websites. Those sites are not governed by this Privacy Notice, and if you have questions about how a site uses your information, you will need to check that site’s privacy information.

Cookies

Like most websites, the Smarta website uses cookies to collect information. Cookies are small data files which store information on your browser, your computer, or other connected devices (such as smart phones or tablets). Cookies allow us to recognise that you have visited our website previously.

Cookies are essential for the effective operation of our website; they make it easier for you to maintain your preferences on our website and improve your web browsing experience.

The cookies stored on your browser, computer, or other device when you access our websites are designed by Smarta, or on behalf of us, and are necessary to improve your use of our site.

Some cookies collect information about browsing behaviour when you access this website via the same browser, computer, or device. This includes information about pages viewed and your journey around a website. We do not use cookies to collect or record information on your name, address or other contact details.

A cookie often includes a randomly generated number which is stored on your device. Many cookies are automatically deleted after you finish using the website.

Use of Cookies

This website does not store any information that would, on its own, allow us to identify individual users of this service without their permission. Any cookies that may be used on this website are used either solely on a per session basis or to maintain user preferences. Cookies are not shared with any third parties.

The main purposes for which cookies are used are:

  • For technical purposes essential to effective operation of our websites, particularly in relation to site navigation.

  • To enable us to collect information about your browsing patterns, including to monitor the success of conveying our information to you.

Types of cookies that may be used during your visit to the website are listed below:

Cookie Name

Expiration Time

What It Does

smartabusinessdirectory_session

1 Day

Session cookies are a way of storing the user information across multiple user requests via secure encrypted cookies. This cookie will be deleted after the current session is finished.

XSRF-TOKEN

1 Day

CSRF "token" for each active user session managed by the application. This token is used to verify that the authenticated user is the one making the requests to the application.

_ga

2 Years

Registers a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website.

_gid

1 Day

Registers a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website.

_gat

1 Day

Used by Google Analytics to throttle request rate.

_fbp

3 Months

This cookie is used to measure, track, and retarget with Facebook ads.

How do I disable cookies?

Most browsers allow you to reject all cookies, whilst some browsers allow you to reject just third-party cookies. For example, in Chrome, you can block or allow all cookies by default. On your computer, open Chrome. At the top right, click ‘More Settings’, then under 'Privacy and security', click Cookies and other site data and select an option.

How you can do this will depend on the browser you use. Further details on how to disable cookies for the most popular browsers are set out below. Please be aware that blocking all cookies will, however, have a negative impact upon the usability of many websites, including ours.

Microsoft Internet Explorer
1. From the Tools menu, select Internet Options.
2. Click on the Privacy tab.
3. Select the appropriate settings.

Google Chrome
1. Choose Settings> Advanced
2. Under “Privacy and security,” click “Content settings”.
3. Click “Cookies”

Safari
1. Choose Preferences > Privacy
2. Click on “Remove all Website Data”

Mozilla Firefox
1. Choose the menu “tools” then “Options”
2. Click on the icon “privacy”
3. Find the menu “cookie” and select the relevant options

Opera 6.0 and further
1. Choose the menu Files”> “Preferences”
2. Privacy

International transfers

To deliver a full range of services to you, it may be necessary for us to share your data outside of the European Economic Area. This will typically occur when service providers are located outside the EEA or if you are based outside the EEA. These transfers are subject to special rules under GDPR.

If this happens, we will ensure that the transfer will be compliant with data protection law and all personal data will be secure. Our standard practice will be to use ‘standard data protection clauses’ which have been approved by the European Commission for such transfers. Those clauses can be accessed on the  European Commission website.

How you can help protect your personal information

If you are using a computing device in a public location, we recommend that you always log out and close the website browser when you complete an online session.

In addition, we recommend that you take the following security measures to enhance your online safety:

  • Keep your account passwords private. Remember, anybody who knows your password may be able to access your account.

  • When creating a password, use at least 10 characters. A combination of letters, symbols and numbers is best. Try not to use easy to guess words, your name, email address, or other personal data that can be easily obtained. We also recommend that you frequently change your passwords.

  • Avoid using the same password for multiple online accounts.

Your rights in respect of the personal information we hold

We fully support and facilitate the ability of people to exercise their rights in respect of the personal information supplied to others. See our Privacy Policy -  https://transmitgroup.co.uk/privacy-policy/

If you wish to correct, complain, object, or otherwise control the data we hold please contact us and we will respond accordingly.

Please contact us if you have any questions about how your personal information is being used or if you are unhappy about our service or anything we do. We will do our best to resolve the issue.

An overview of your different rights

You have the right to request:

  • Access to the personal information we hold about you, free of charge.

  • The correction of your personal information when incorrect, out of date or incomplete.

  • For example, when you withdraw consent, or object and we have no legitimate overriding interest, or once the purpose for which we hold the personal information has come to an end.

  • That we stop using your personal information for direct marketing (either through specific channels, or all channels).

  • That we stop any consent-based processing of your personal information after you withdraw that consent.

Your right to withdraw consent

Whenever you have given us your consent to use your personal information, you have the right to change your mind at any time and withdraw that consent.

Where we rely on our legitimate interest

In cases where we are processing your personal information based on our legitimate interest, you can ask us to stop for reasons connected to your individual situation. We must then do so unless we believe we have a legitimate overriding reason to continue processing your personal information.

Direct marketing

You have the right to stop the use of your personal information for direct marketing activity through all channels, or selected channels. We must always comply with your request.

How you can access the personal information we hold

You can access a copy of the personal information we hold by submitting a Subject Access Request to us using the contact details below.

We will respond to as soon as possible, and in any event, within one month of verifying the request. Our Subject Access Request policy can be provided on request.

To protect the confidentiality of your personal information, we will ask you to verify your identity before proceeding with any request you make under this Privacy Notice. If you have authorised a third party to submit a request on your behalf, we will ask them to prove they have your permission to act.

Getting in touch with Smarta

We can be contacted at:

Smarta,

Northern Design Centre,

Baltic Business Quarter,

Abbott's Hill,

Gateshead,

NE8 3DF

Phone: 0333 355 4886

Email:  info@transmitstartups.co.uk

The Supervisory Authority in the UK

The Supervisory Authority in the UK is the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

Transmit Start-Ups Ltd can be found on the Data Protection Register. The registration number is ZA047144.

Complaints

If you would like to make a complaint about the way your personal data has been handled by Smarta, you can contact us using the details given above. Our complaints policy can also be provided on request.

Alternatively, you can refer your complaint to the ICO -  https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/