If you are setting up a venue styling business, then one of the very first things you will need to think about, possibly before you have even started selling your services or products, is Data Protection.
What is data protection?
Data protection is about protecting people’s information that you have collected from them and ensuring that it is only used for the right purposes. People need to be able to trust you if they are giving you their information.
Why do I need to worry about it?
- because there are laws governing the privacy of data, and you may be fined if you don’t comply
- because if people aren’t happy with how you are using their information, then you run the risk of damaging your reputation which will ultimately have an additional cost to your business. We’ve all read about data breaches in the news and the bad publicity this has brought to companies.
What does the law say and how does it apply to my business?
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) regulates data protection in the UK. Their website www.ico.org.uk clearly states that the law applies to any “processing of personal data”.
They recognise that every business or organisation is different and there is no “one-size fits all” solution. It’s therefore similar to Health and Safety, where the onus is on you, as a business owner, to think about and justify how and why you use data.
What is personal data?
Personal data means information about a particular living individual. This could be a client, employee, partner, business contact or member of the public.
Data may be a name or a number, or it could include things such as an IP address or a cookie. The general rule of thumb is that if it is possible to identify an individual directly from the information you are processing, then that information may be personal data.
It doesn’t need to be ‘private’ information, so even if the information is public knowledge or is about someone’s professional life, then it can be personal data.
So even if you only collect someone’s name and email address, then this is almost certainly personal data.
What is processing?
- The law applies to the “processing of personal data that is:
wholly or partly by automated means; or
- the processing other than by automated means of personal data which forms part of, or is intended to form part of, a filing system.”
Basically, this means that almost anything you do with the data counts as processing, whether you are collecting it, recording it, storing it, using it, analysing it and even deleting it!
And this is regardless of whether it is written down, typed into a spreadsheet or database, or captured for example by a mailing system for you to use for marketing.
What other rules may apply to me?
- There are also special categories of personal data which are considered to be more sensitive and have tighter restrictions over them. For example – people’s religious views. A great example of this is a caterer who has to deal with dietary requirements and would therefore be able to deduce someone’s religious beliefs from that data.
- Information about companies is not personal data. However, information about individuals acting as sole traders, employees, partners and company directors where they can be identified as individuals may be classed as personal data. So someone’s email address, even if it is a company email address, will most probably be personal data.
Become a successful Venue Stylist
We hope this blog post has been useful to you.
However, if you feel slightly daunted by anything you’ve read in them, then do not worry as we take a deep dive into all of these topics in our Training & Mentoring programme! A programme dedicated to helping you make the right decisions when setting up, running and delivering your venue styling business.
Liz & Doug are a husband and wife team who have been running successful wedding and event related businesses for 28 years, most notably Stressfree – The Venue Transformers, one of the UK’s first venue styling companies. From working for big companies as consultants in the 1980 and 1990s, they went solo in 1995 and now believe that with the right know-how and support, anyone with the right attributes can become a successful venue stylist!
And if you’d like some one-on-one assistance, our Stressfree Business Audit is just one of the other ways in which we can help you.
The contents of this blog are for general information purposes only. You may wish to seek professional advice in relation to specific circumstances.