So, you’ve finally got your business idea heading towards the finish line and it’s all starting to come together, exciting times! There’s a whole host of things to check off the list to ensure your business will get off the ground, be viable and of course successful. But before you even think of those, it can be a bit of an information overload for tasks in the ‘must-do’ list, especially when it comes to rules and regulations. But have no fear, we’ve got some pointers from the experts!
Trading Standards – top tips for new businesses
Take a step back for a second and think, have you given Trading Standards laws much thought? It may not be the most exciting part of your business journey but it’s certainly one of the most important when it comes to making sure the laws (and not just the obvious ones) are followed and set in place.
Some sectors face more regulations than others; the food industry for example. It may be worth seeking additional help from a Trading Standards professional to ensure every aspect of your business complies, so you can have peace of mind that that’s one thing checked off the list.
We’ve spoken to our local team at Norfolk County Council Trading Standards and they’ve shared the top tips and advice they deem essential to help businesses get it right first time. Here are their top 5 tips to consider.
#1 Is Your Product Safe?
It may sound like a silly question but ensuring that goods are absolutely safe for sale is vital. Cutting corners on safety could mean the devastating withdrawal or recall of a product and it could cause harm to consumers. No business wants the hassle of re-trialing or re-launching a product again, as well as the potential to have hard-earned reputation damaged.
#2 Labelled Up
Specifically for food industry businesses, ensuring product labels state the correct information is law. This is so the consumer can make an informed choice about the product by knowing exactly what they’re receiving. There are currently particular rules in place that cover a range of foods which could be high risk if lower quality ingredients have been used. For example, bottled mineral water, jams and meat products will all face extra scrutiny.
#3 Website Compliant? Check
It’s important to remember, even if you don’t sell a product from your website, certain information is legally required to appear on your domain. Basic information such as the business’ registered name, address and contact details must be included. As well as this, some less obvious information such as a privacy notice stating how collected data and cookie info will be used, is a must.
Make sure your website complies to all of the necessary laws and regulations by taking a look at the checklist Norfolk Trading Standard’s has put together here.
#4 Weights and Measures
Do you or will you be weighing or measuring your goods to sell to consumers? If yes, the law states that equipment needs to be suitable and accurate. It also covers the manufacture and approval of the equipment used, so it may be worth seeking specialist advice from a qualified officer at Norfolk Trading Standards or similar body to be on the safe side.
#5 Unfair Trading
Prohibited misleading statements and claims used by traders are controlled by The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (or CPR’s for short) to ensure fair practice and protection for consumers.
A great site to check out is the Government funded website, Business Companion, which gives up to date guidance and explanations of trading standards laws to individuals and businesses in more detail. https://www.businesscompanion.info/
If these tips still sound confusing or scary to you, don’t panic!
It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed, but there’s so much support for new businesses in our region and across the country. If you feel your business would greatly benefit from tailored advice and continued support; organisations like Norfolk Trading Standards are here to help.
Norfolk Trading Standards
Norfolk Trading Standards are hugely knowledgeable and great at dealing with a variety of business sectors, with qualified specialists in each. There are a number of different ways they are able to offer help. These may come in the form of chargeable business advice including things like signposting advice, general information, bespoke advice and also Primary Authority Partnerships. Also, if you have not received previous advice from them, they are able to provide two free hours of advice for your business to help you get started!
If you’ve heard the term or have been made aware of Primary Authority Partnership business advice; it sounds confusing, but it’s really simple. The service offers assured advice, meaning a business can receive advice from a local authority regulator (Norfolk Trading Standards). The business can then be confident in the decisions they choose to make. It’s a legally recognised partnership with a business and local authority regulator, meaning that they become the main contact for the business’ regulatory maintenance. They will provide advice that other local regulators must respect.
This can, when suitable, be in the form of Co-ordinated Authority Partnerships. These are available for an organisation or person representing a group of businesses and allows the local authority to work with existing business networks such as trade associations or franchises.
Get In Touch!
If you’ve accessed help and support from ourselves, Hethel Innovation, and would benefit from advice on Trading Standards, please feel free to drop us an email or give us a call. We can put you in touch with Norfolk Trading Standards to gain your first 2 hours of advice free and you can then be in good hands for any further support you may require.
Or get in touch with Norfolk Trading Standards directly with this link, or email to contact a specialist: