As a values-driven business ourselves, we understand the challenges of balancing the commercial realities of running a sustainable and profitable business while also achieving your social goals.

So how can you maximise your impact? Where are the opportunities? Over the coming months, our team of commercial lawyers will share a series of e-briefings with you, which aim to provide an insight into some of the legal and practical solutions for meeting the business challenges we all face. These will begin with a series of e-briefings outlining our advice about working with social housing, local government, health and social care, education and charity clients, intending to give you an understanding of some of the specialist sector knowledge we have gained from working in these sectors for over 40 years.

In the meantime, you can start thinking about who you work with and how you work with them. Whether you are a start-up, an established SME or a large organisation with a sizeable workforce, the following issues will be key to your success:

  • Making your supply chain work for you  the level of service you can provide your customers with is only as good as the level of service you receive from your supply chain. This year, consider reviewing your supply contracts. Are suppliers delivering on all of the promises they made pre-contract? Are their standards still matching your expectations? And are lines of communication, data transfers and key contacts still working smoothly?
  • Understanding the supply chain you are in  for those of you who work 'business-to-business', taking the time to understand the needs of your clients' own sectors can save you a headache further down the line. This is particularly important when working with some of the specialist sectors that we are particularly experienced with, such as social housing, local government, education, charities and health and social care. We know from our own experience that specialist clients need their supply chain to understand and respond to their unique challenges, such as regulatory issues, data management, safeguarding, funding and procurement.
  • Making the most of partnering  effective collaboration with partners can be a way to promote real growth. Our clients are choosing a plethora of partnering models, from sophisticated contractual or organisational joint ventures to contracting arrangements with enhanced partnering provisions. There is never going to be a 'one-size-fits-all' model for partnering arrangements, so take your time and seek advice at the negotiation stage to ensure that the model you sign up to secures a proportionate return on your investment.
  • Making sure you are not restricting your own growth  internal governance problems can be a greater threat to businesses than external issues. Take the opportunity in 2017 to consider whether your board’s structure and decision-making processes are still fit for purpose, or whether a change could have a positive impact on the productivity of the whole organisation.
  • Managing your workforce effectively  workforce challenges can be the most time-consuming issues for any employer, as they use up valuable resources that could be used to grow the business. One simple task that you could undertake this year to help smooth the management of your workforce and reduce the risk of any challenges is to review and update your policies and procedures. Ask yourself, do they actually reflect what you do or need to be doing in practice? Are they compliant with the latest law in this area? Does non-compliance increase your risk of legal challenge?

Whatever steps you are taking in 2017 to increase your impact, we would be pleased to help.

Further information

We have a dedicated business law team experienced in acting for a range of private, public and third-sector clients. If you have any queries, please contact Sarah Webb or Laura Golightly.