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Setting up a business involves complying with a range of legal requirements. Find out which ones apply to you and your new enterprise.

What particular regulations do specific types of business (such as a hotel, or a printer, or a taxi firm) need to follow? We explain some of the key legal issues to consider for 200 types of business.

While poor governance can bring serious legal consequences, the law can also protect business owners and managers and help to prevent conflict.

Whether you want to raise finance, join forces with someone else, buy or sell a business, it pays to be aware of the legal implications.

From pay, hours and time off to discipline, grievance and hiring and firing employees, find out about your legal responsibilities as an employer.

Marketing matters. Marketing drives sales for businesses of all sizes by ensuring that customers think of their brand when they want to buy.

Commercial disputes can prove time-consuming, stressful and expensive, but having robust legal agreements can help to prevent them from occurring.

Whether your business owns or rents premises, your legal liabilities can be substantial. Commercial property law is complex, but you can avoid common pitfalls.

With information and sound advice, living up to your legal responsibilities to safeguard your employees, customers and visitors need not be difficult or costly.

As information technology continues to evolve, legislation must also change. It affects everything from data protection and online selling to internet policies for employees.

Intellectual property (IP) isn't solely relevant to larger businesses or those involved in developing innovative new products: all products have IP.

Knowing how and when you plan to sell or relinquish control of your business can help you to make better decisions and achieve the best possible outcome.

From bereavement, wills, inheritance, separation and divorce to selling a house, personal injury and traffic offences, learn more about your personal legal rights.

How messaging apps transform customer communication

4 May 2021

More than half of UK businesses now use mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to keep in touch with their customers.

Businesses are increasingly turning to mobile messaging to communicate with customers, according to research conducted by PwC for Esendex. The survey of more than 4,000 businesses on their use of mobile messaging apps in customer communication has revealed that sectors including IT and telecoms, retail, finance, professional services and manufacturing have significantly increased spend in this area over the past three years.

Overall, 52% of UK businesses are using messaging apps for customer communication. However, it seems that large firms are ahead of the curve, with 62% of large organisations using mobile messaging apps to reach their audience compared to 45% of SMEs. The number of people using mobile messaging apps is projected to grow to three billion by 2022; WhatsApp is already used by 54% of millennials every day.

The findings suggest that there has been a marked increase in the use of messaging apps because of the pandemic. More companies have used mobile channels for emergency communications and alerts (up 42%), event-driven marketing (up 40%) and customer notifications and reminders (up 38%), compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Amy Robinson, senior brand development manager at Esendex, said: "COVID-19 has … forced companies across all industries to reflect on the way they communicate with their staff and their customers and to make necessary adjustments and improvements in order to avoid getting left behind while their competitors harness the power of various communication channels including SMS, social media and online chat.

"The UK has a higher-than-average uptake of mobile messaging with 52% of firms utilising this form of communication channel, compared to 47% globally. There is a lot of talk that the pandemic has changed the way we live and work forever, with hybrid workforces expected to become the norm. The same can be said for customer engagement - many businesses have taken a real step forward over the last year in the way they connect with those who pay for their products and/or services; it's likely that this trend will continue as companies put more emphasis on customer growth and retention during what is still a very tricky time."

While messaging apps are in the ascendancy, new research has suggested that business leaders are losing faith in social media as a sales tool. A new report by Bango, Board to Death, concludes that "meaningless metrics" are "putting the board to sleep".

Its findings show that:

  • 59% of CEOs do not believe social media generates sales for their business;
  • 62% believe too much marketing budget is wasted on activities that don't deliver meaningful results;
  • 60% of CEOs say the marketing potential of social media has been exaggerated.

"Nobody's saying that social media can't add value," said Anil Malhotra, CMO at Bango and co-author of the report. "The problem is that this value isn't translating to the boards of the businesses surveyed. Digital marketers have got so wrapped up reporting on clicks, likes and engagement rates, that they've lost focus on the business metrics that actually matter in the boardroom - leads, sales and profits.

"The rise of Facebook and Google as ad platforms has convinced marketers that what people like and share is an accurate reflection of what they will buy, so today's marketing budgets capture browsers, not buyers. That's why our report argues that digital marketers need to start targeting their audiences based on actual purchase behaviours. This is what will impress the board - the ability to turn social into sales."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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