Compliance, Who Needs It?

As a former business owner myself, I know that most owners like you spend all of your time working on building your company. You’re too consumed with your vision of success to spend time thinking about laws and regulations. Anyway you won’t run afoul of the law as long as you are a good person, right?

Wrong! Today, laws and regulations are designed not only to punish bad behavior, but to “guide” businesses to do the things politicians and bureaucrats believe are good for society. Some of the guiding is gentle, as in tax breaks for certain activities that politicians like. Some laws have real teeth that can take much more than a pound of flesh if you’re found in violation. The Small Business Administration has a web page buried on its site that says this:

As a small business owner, you are subject to the same regulations as large corporations. Even if you’re starting out on a small level and planning to grow, you must comply with business laws and regulations from the day you open for business.

The SBA web page then lists 10 areas of law and regulation that you should be aware of and comply with, and it provides a link to a deeply nested set of additional pages that give you contacts to all the federal agencies who are supposed to have specific contacts who can “assist you” with regulatory compliance. The list includes laws and regulations involving advertising, employment, finance, intellectual property, doing business online, privacy, the environment, commerce, workplace safety, and employment of foreign workers.

Truly, following the law is not difficult. Sure, there is a lot of it, but you can learn all of this stuff on your own. Just like you can learn and do your own accounting and bookkeeping.

But as you might imagine, it will take a lot of your time to keep abreast of all the laws and regulations that politicians and bureaucrats have designed to “guide you in the right direction.” That’s time that you could be devoting to those things that only you can do, like building and selling the reputation of your company’s products and services. In fact, successful business owners tend to bring on one or more trusted advisors to keep them compliant with the mundane, esoteric requirements found in tax laws, employment laws, commercial laws, registering their intellectual property, etc.

Or you can assume you’ll be fine without paying attention to all of this, because, after all, you’re a good person. Right?

Please read, use, and comment on what you find here, but remember this: Random advice, even the advice you find at Argent Place, cannot supplant the personal legal advice you receive from your own legal counsel. If you agree that Personal Legal Counsel could help you create more wealth, please contact Argent Place Advisors to have an exploratory conversation.

© 2012 Argent Place Advisors, LLC

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