I’m a stay-at-home mum and I have an idea for a new style of
children’s pushchair, but I have no idea on how I would go about
manufacturing it and generally turn it into a business idea. Can you advise
Michelle, by email
Coming up with a product idea is often the easy part – it’s getting it off the
ground that can be the biggest challenge! Before you do anything, I would
advise you to thoroughly research the pushchair market and establish if your
design is indeed completely new. If you’re unsure if your invention is
unique, the British Library (Bl.uk) runs a free ‘patents searching’ clinic
for people carrying out initial searches on the internet, and has extensive
online patent resources. If it turns out that your product is completely
unique, congratulations – you have yourself a business! But as with any
business, you need a robust plan and it’s important that you patent your
design to protect your idea. Once you have these two things in place you can
begin approaching both financial backers and manufacturers to take your idea
forward and, all going well, turn it into a successful business!
My employer has just asked me to work every other Sunday and have one other
day off in the week instead. I’ve always worked Monday to Friday, often late
nights, so I really cherish spending the weekends with my family and am not
keen to do it. Can they make me?
Jenny, by email
You need to look at your contract to find out if your working hours are at the
discretion of your employer – if they are and these hours are essential for
you to be able to do your job, it’s highly likely you’ll have to do it.
However, if this is not the case and your contract spells out your current
working hours, you can speak to HR and decline these new conditions. If you
are unsure on how to proceed, visit the Citizens Advice Bureau
(Citizensadvice.org.uk) for advice.
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