Commercial Leases 

If you own a business, chances are you may need to consider entering into a commercial lease. So how do these differ from ordinary, residential leases?

There are a number of things you need to look out for. This article will cover the four most important things to look out for before signing the dotted line.

1 . Terms of the Lease and Options

The term of the lease is extremely important for business tenants. There often exists a conflict of interest between landlords and tenants with regard to the terms of leases so it is important to be informed and look out for your best interests.

Generally, landlords prefer the security of a longer term lease (for example, 5 or 10 years), whereas tenants usually prefer the flexibility afforded by a shorter lease (3 years is about standard). This is especially the case for start-up business tenants who commonly either go out of business or rapidly expand and require a new lease to expand operations in the near future. Keep in mind that, as mentioned, if the relevant retail lease legislation applies to your lease, there may be restrictions upon the minimum term of your lease.

Another important consideration is whether the lease provides you with an option to renew at the end of the initial term so you have the option to continue trading. This is very important for commercial leases as a large proportion of your businesses’ goodwill may be attached to your premises, so you may want to protect this.

2. Rent and Security

The rent clause is probably the most obviously important aspect of any lease agreement. When it comes to paying out expenses, we all want to keep it to a minimum! The rent clause specifies the the amount of money the tenant must pay to the landlord in return for the landlord providing the use and occupation of the property. Rent is a significant operating expense for most businesses.

The rent for the initial term, as well as any changes to the rent, must be specified in the lease. The most common methods of rent review (i.e. changes in rent) are consumer price index (CPI), fixed percentage increase and market rent. It is important to ensure you will be able to afford any proposed rent increases during the period of your lease and any renewal period to avoid falling behind.

The landlord may also request a security payment from the tenant to protect against the tenant failing to pay rent (i.e. defaulting). This would either be in the form of a bank guarantee by an individual tenant, or a personal guarantee by a company tenant’s directors. The security deposit can be a significant amount of money, usually equal to three to six months’ rent. Therefore, you shouldn’t forget this cost when assessing the affordability of your commercial lease.

3. Termination

Lastly, you should also review the termination clause contained in your commercial lease. Keep an eye out for any clause which allows the landlord to terminate the lease before the end of the term. In most cases, it is highly advised that you seek to have this removed as it causes uncertainty of your lease which can be very damaging for your business. Further, you should be aware of any other circumstances which will cause your lease to be terminated.

Get Advice from a Professional

There are clearly some very important things to look out for when entering a commercial lease for your business.

Each of these factors has the potential to have a major impact on the performance of your business, so it is worth looking into obtaining independent legal advice to protect your best interests. As a potential tenant, if you are unhappy with any aspect of your lease agreement, you should negotiate with your landlord to reach an agreement that suits your needs.

Protecting your company’s online assets 

Yes, you do have online assets.

In an increasingly digital world and business environment, protecting your digital assets should be a prime consideration for any business owner.

Digital assets include anything you own or have rights to that is accessed via the internet or any other form of digital technology.

According to ZA Central Registry (ZACR)  a non-profit organisation (NPO) currently managing various .ZA second level domains, such as co.za, net.za, org.za and web.za, there are over 1 million domain name registrations, the majority of these domain names are under co.za.

Some of the main digital assets that you should have access to and control include your businesses’:

o   Domain name(s)

o   Hosting

o   Website files

o   Website login

o   Security certificates

Let’s explain these so you can be sure you have everything covered.

1.  Domain Name(s)

A domain name is a unique internet site address that allows people to access your website. You may have one or many domain names with different extensions (e.g. .com.co.za and .org). Overall, the details for your domain name(s) that you should obtain and store somewhere safely include:

o   a list of the domain names you own,

o   the Registrar account login for each domain,

o   the EEP Code for each domain name, and

o   ensure your details are correct as the Registrant.

 

2. Hosting

Who is billing you for your website hosting? You should ensure you have access to all of the necessary logins, such as an account login. With all of this information, you have the most important parts covered and are well on your way to having control of your website.

 

3. Website Files

It is also important that you have and maintain a recent copy of your website files and database. Certain technologies including plugins can be used to download copies of backup files and store them in remote locations. If you feel that these steps are outside of your technological capabilities, it is possible to hire someone to do a complete backup and have it sent to you. The cost to have this done is minimal compared to the potential cost-savings it could make for you in the future.

 

4. Security Certificates (SSL)

Security certificates are important for businesses that conduct online eCommerce and take payments through their website. You can check whether you have one using an online SSL Examination tool. If your domain has an SSL certificate, you should keep the following information stored safely:

o   Validity date

o   Issuer Company name and details

If your certificate expires, it may result in your payment facilities being suspended. This means potential lost business! Therefore, it is important that you are aware of the expiry date of your SSL Certificate(s) and set reminders to have them renewed.

 

FINALLY

Once you have taken all of these essential steps to protect your digital assets, it is important that you store all of the information you have obtained in a safe and secure place that you will remember. Also, as the digital world is a quickly changing environment, it is best to revisit these checks regularly to keep up to date with the digital assets of your business.

 

Taking these simple steps today can save you and your business a world of trouble and inconvenience later down the line.

 

3 Things that MUST be in your social media policy.

Your Social Media Policy

What is a social media policy?

A social media policy doesn’t need you to be tech savvy – it is a company code of conduct that concerns employee behaviour (i.e. what they post) on social media networks, blogs, messaging apps, forums, email, etc.

Who needs a social media policy?

You might think that if you don’t have a blog, Facebook page or Twitter account you are safe. You are wrong! You are never safe because your employees and customers have social media accounts, blogs and they chat on forums. What they say about your company affects you commercially and legally even if you decide to be just an observer.

That’s why every business needs a social media policy even if you choose to stay traditional brick-and-mortar.

How do you create a social media policy?

The thing with social media is you can’t predict everything that can happen. You can’t just say “If this, then do that” because the environment we operate in changes so fast — the policy from yesterday doesn’t make sense today. That’s why instead of trying to create rules, focus on creating a culture of the way we do things around here.

What do you do with social media policy?

Make everyone sign it! The best way to handle this is to have it attached to employment (and termination) contracts. If you want to make sure all your current employees understand and adhere to it, schedule a 2-hour training session in which you explain the policy, why it is important and when it is to be applied.

Social media policies are very flexible and should reflect the nature of your business.

In our legal experience however, there are a few things that every social media policy should tackle. For the safety of your company, your customers and your employee…

…and here they are:

The 3 things that should be in every social media policy:

  1. Prohibit the sharing of confidential, sensitive, copyrighted, trademark information on personal accounts, as well as, defamation of colleagues or customers.
  2. Explain when and how employees need to identify themselves as such (when talking about products or services) and how they can use the company name or brand.
  3. Set boundaries with customers – when are employees to enter an argument or make a comment, in what way they should respond to customers and how much of the customer experience are they allowed to post online.​

There is much more that can be included. The more complex the organisation, the more complex the policies will get.

One important tip is to consult a professional  first as to what are the regulations of employee – customer communications so that you make sure your policies are not breaking any laws (by posting personal information about a purchase like an address or telephone number of a customer, for example).

Not sure if social media is for you?

Consult with us so we can help your company in this digital age.

Contact us below

http://www.lenoma.co.za

info@lenoma.co.za

How to boost your business  with social media 

Social media is the new big thing in marketing!

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t use social media on a daily, or even hourly basis, so if your business isn’t taking full advantage of this great marketing tool – you need to. But having a social media presence isn’t enough. Most start-ups and even many big businesses still don’t have a clue on how to use social media effectively for marketing their business. This article will lay out the key rules you should follow to get the most out of your marketing on social media.

Develop a Specific Set of Goals

Hard work is pointless if it isn’t focused on your specific goals. Some of the goals you might want to achieve for your business include:

·      Increase brand awareness

·      Raise sales and profits

·      Generate more leads

·      Enhance your business reputation

·      Provide customer service and support

Adopt a Brand Personality and Voice

Social media is meant to be just that – social. People look for a more humanized brand voice and respond more favourably to business marketing that has personality. Think about how you want your business to be portrayed – think of personality traits such as friendly, professional, funny, positive, considerate, responsible, etc. Be consistent with your voice. Ensure it is known and used by all team members on all social media platforms. This will give your customers a sense of familiarity with your business.

Identify the Market Segments and Communities you want to Target

In today’s world where consumers are constantly bombarded with information, marketing at the generic level is no longer effective. Therefore, one of the greatest benefits of social media is that it allows you to target your marketing all the way down to micro-segments. This drastically improves your engagement levels and conversion ratios. Further, you want to identify the communities for these micro-segments.

Create an Action Plan

Now that you know your goals, brand personality and target market, you need to develop an effective plan to achieve your desired results. Good action plans include the following:

·      Listening plan

·      Channel plan

·      SEO plan

·      Content creation plan

You may want to engage in activities such as creating competitions, building relationships and groups, blogging, lead conversion, and creating funny or informative posts. The action you take will depend on your desired outcome.

Measure your Results and Respond Appropriately

Finally, you want to check whether your action plan is working to achieve your specific goals. Measurement should be all about maximizing your return-on-investment. This can include revenue growth, customer acquisition cost, profit, or whatever other parameters are key to your business success. Take note of what works and what doesn’t work for your business by observing these parameters as you adopt new social media strategies. This is not trial and error. You need to be calculated and deliberate with the changes you make so that they result in the best potential outcomes for your business.

Take Action Today

Marketing on social media is fundamentally different from conventional marketing. In turn, your action plan should take advantage of the unique opportunities it provides to get your business ahead.  Along with the added benefits though, come the added legal considerations you need to make to protect yourself from liability.

If you want to ensure your business is covered, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

http://www.lenoma.co.za

info@lenoma.co.za

3 Things that MUST be in your social media policy.

Your Social Media Policy

What is a social media policy?

A social media policy doesn’t need you to be tech savvy – it is a company code of conduct that concerns employee behaviour (i.e. what they post) on social media networks, blogs, messaging apps, forums, email, etc.

Who needs a social media policy?

You might think that if you don’t have a blog, Facebook page or Twitter account you are safe. You are wrong! You are never safe because your employees and customers have social media accounts, blogs and they chat on forums. What they say about your company affects you commercially and legally even if you decide to be just an observer.

That’s why every business needs a social media policy even if you choose to stay traditional brick-and-mortar.

How do you create a social media policy?

The thing with social media is you can’t predict everything that can happen. You can’t just say “If this, then do that” because the environment we operate in changes so fast — the policy from yesterday doesn’t make sense today. That’s why instead of trying to create rules, focus on creating a culture of the way we do things around here.

What do you do with social media policy?

Make everyone sign it! The best way to handle this is to have it attached to employment (and termination) contracts. If you want to make sure all your current employees understand and adhere to it, schedule a 2-hour training session in which you explain the policy, why it is important and when it is to be applied.

Social media policies are very flexible and should reflect the nature of your business.

In our legal experience however, there are a few things that every social media policy should tackle. For the safety of your company, your customers and your employee…

…and here they are:

The 3 things that should be in every social media policy:

  1. Prohibit the sharing of confidential, sensitive, copyrighted, trademark information on personal accounts, as well as, defamation of colleagues or customers.
  2. Explain when and how employees need to identify themselves as such (when talking about products or services) and how they can use the company name or brand.
  3. Set boundaries with customers – when are employees to enter an argument or make a comment, in what way they should respond to customers and how much of the customer experience are they allowed to post online.​

There is much more that can be included. The more complex the organisation, the more complex the policies will get.

One important tip is to consult a professional  first as to what are the regulations of employee – customer communications so that you make sure your policies are not breaking any laws (by posting personal information about a purchase like an address or telephone number of a customer, for example).

Not sure if social media is for you?

Consult with us so we can help your company in this digital age.

Contact us below

http://www.lenoma.co.za

info@lenoma.co.za