4 Compliance Management Tips for Small Businesses

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Compliance Tips

Compliance TipsNEW YORK – BUSINESS – Every so often, news headlines are dominated by a large corporation that ran into trouble with laws and regulations. The non-compliance could range from a minor oversight to downright illegal activity. In the best case, the company may escape with a warning or a fine. In the worst case, non-compliance can lead to license revocation and prosecution.

Whereas news headlines can create the impression that it’s only big businesses that must be deeply concerned about compliance, nothing could be further from the truth. For both small and large organizations, compliance touches on virtually every activity of the business.

Small businesses do not enjoy the battery of lawyers and a large in-house legal department, so the laws and requirements can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are ways small enterprises can maintain compliance without taking their eye off the overall business goals. We share a few below.

1. Separate Compliance Areas into Those You Know and Those Needing External Expertise

From the hedge fund transacting billions of dollars to the small neighborhood bar with a turnover in the thousands of dollars, every business irrespective of size has compliance issues to deal with. Compliance requirements begin from when you start the business and grow in number and complexity as you move along. From how you pay employees to what disclaimers and warnings should be on your website.

To further compound matters, these regulations aren’t static; they’re constantly changing. Depending on your skills, experience, and educational background, it may be easy for you to understand and comply with certain regulations. However, some areas may be out of your depth. Separate compliance issues into those you can easily handle and those you need external support on.

2. Identify Trustworthy Partners

Once you have singled out compliance issues that are outside your expertise, identify external partners that can help you comply with them. In the same way, you are the subject matter expert when it comes to your core business, there are businesses and professionals out there that are skilled in specific areas of compliance. Examples include accountants, attorneys and vendors.

For example, if you are a bar owner, you could benefit from technologies such as Minor Decliner that would help ensure compliance with age restrictions around alcohol consumption. Leveraging the strengths of vendors who understand the compliance requirements frees you to expend your energies on growing the business.

That being said, vendors and professional services providers are not all created equal. Pay close attention to service agreements so you can understand what it is they are responsible for and what will remain within your domain.

3. Tap into the SBA’s Knowledge Base

If laws and regulations are driving you up the wall, why not turn to government itself for assistance? When people think about the Small Business Administration (SBA), the first thing that comes to mind is loans programs. Yet, the SBA is much more than that. It’s a dependable resource for breaking down new and existing regulations affecting small business.

In addition, the SBA has a Learning Center where one can browse self-paced online courses covering a wide range of compliance and general business topics. It also hosts regular online chats and webinars as well as publishes videos and blogs. The SBA has local offices all over America where entrepreneurs and managers can obtain advice, counseling, and training as needed.

4. Local and Industry Business Forums

Local or industry-specific business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce can be a useful source of practical advice. Even though some of the members within such organizations are direct competitors, they share certain objectives such as ensuring laws and regulations do not stifle enterprise.

Information may be shared with members through newsletters, white papers, annual reports, workshops, seminars, and webinars. Members also have the opportunity to have a direct conversation with peers during dinner events as well as build networks that could come in handy later on.

 

Compliance is not optional and this can make it a burden to the small business. By following the above tips, small enterprises can remain on the straight-and-narrow without losing focus on their primary goal of actually building the business.

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