· If you are doubtful about training and venues ring the BII 01276 684449 for accredited trainers and their venues in your area.
· Ask the BII for the number of the local Membership Development Consultant who will advise you about the best course to take in respect of your business.
· Look into everything whilst you have time.
· Shop around for the best insurance deal and make sure that they specialise in licensed property. The BII will give you several reliable companies. For example, The Bateman Group www.thebatemangroup.co.uk , email: firstname.lastname@example.org. They are at present looking into a Trade Legal Protection Policy rather like Legal Protection with cars. This could be essential to lease holders and other small businesses.
· Make sure that you understand how an EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) till or similar works, which most pubs have these days. Ensure that you can, if possible, connect it to you computer. This should enable you to keep a check on all your stock, sales etc., which will in turn make it much easier to identify your profitability week by week.
· Try and make time for yourself and family, and avoid having the same day off every week. You can find the business drops on that day if you do. It is important to see other businesses, taking a day off lets you look objectively at what you are doing. Working seven days a week is fine occasionally or to get the business going, but you can lose sight of the main objective through overwork. All work and no play makes Jack a dull lad.
· Do be careful how you word staff adverts.
· Always think about employing mature staff. Obviously if you have a young persons venue, you may need young staff. Young staff can be very fickle and move on quickly, unless they are catering students. If they are catering students, then you know how long that they are going to be with you.
· Check in the nearby pubs for any adverse stories about your intended business, drugs, dubious customers, etc. There are always a couple of licensees or barmen that will tell you the bad news, then verify that it is correct. I saw a delightful pub near Longleat many years ago, the car park was full of Range Rovers, four wheel drives and pick ups. The bar was packed with what appeared very good business, if slightly rough looking customers. It was a gypsy pub, run by a gypsy who had recently died. The agents omitted to mention this, though it’s reputation for trouble was well known round the district. Not all gypsies are the same. I have had very good customers who were gypsies; some came to buy horses on Exmoor where I had the local pub and one who was head of the family in Sussex and remained a good friend for years.
· Check why the property is up for sale especially if there is no obvious reason. The vendor and the commercial agent are often very economic with the truth on this subject. The locals will always give you an opinion, a local shopkeeper is often a good source.
· Check the neighbouring pubs and businesses for any kind of price war or cut price sales. Avoid buying a business close to a members club. If the members club is very active, they buy their stock at free trade prices and, because they are a members club, they do not have to achieve the same level of gross profit on their sales that you are expected to do by the Inland Revenue. They will sell their wet sales at way below all of your prices purely because they only need to break even. Check with your accountant before you get involved in any drastic price cutting.
· Schools: if you have children check the quality and availability of the local schools.
· Check that all the fire equipment, etc., is tested and up to date, with a local company.
· Contact the local Performing Rights Agent if you are going to play music. If you wait until he finds you he can charge you more than if you contact him first. If you can restrict your music to a specified area, the smaller the area the cheaper it is. Ask his advice on the legal aspects of playing music in respect of the Performing Rights.
· Phonographic Performance also want their dues. This normally comes into play when you hire a music system. The company renting the system add the fees in with the rent, which makes it easier
. Ensure that you are fully aware of exactly what you are signing up for in respect of all Service Companies, Gas, Electricity etc. If you are new to the business without trade references they will stack the rates charged, seek good advice www.energyhelpline.com/business will always talk to you, if you get it wrong it is profit going out of the door or up the chimney.