Challenges For Small Business: Dealing With Regulatory And Legal Issues

Dealing with regulatory and legal issues for a small business owner can seem like a mountain to have to climb while wearing shorts and sandles. Knowing who to turn to for advice and general topics to discuss is key to successful compliance.

Dealing with regulatory and legal issues for a small business can be expensive or worse disastrous if ignored. Don't think you know the laws and regulations governing small businesses in your jurisdiction, you must know them or find someone to work with you who know them. Ignorance is no excuse for not knowing the laws and regulations in your town. Don't get burned or end up paying penalties and fines because you simply didn't know.

Ask people who have been there done that. One good source is SCORE, the Service Corp of Retired Executives, known as the Counselors to Americas Small Business. These executives can give you real world examples of what to do and what not to do, but maybe more importantly they will work with you to get answers to all of your regulatory and legal issues.

Other sources are professionals whose job it is to know the rules and regulations for small business, including lawyers, bankers and accountants. It is also a good source to find out if your community has networks of small business. Many chambers of commerce sponsor networking groups where small business owners can meet other small business owners and share experiences.

If none of the above satisfies you, there are of course additional resources. Look no further than your local town/city/county offices. There are generally in most local town/city/county offices guidelines for small businesses. Let's also not forget about the internet. If you have access to a computer you have access to many of the above listed sources as well as, references or links to other sources.

One can simply not ignore the need to understand the regulations and laws governing small business. Most jurisdictions are different and there are specific laws at the Federal, State, County, and City levels. You must comply with all the different jurisdictions. Ignoring one or more can cost your business hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars in penalties and fines.

Generally there are four areas that a small business owner needs to address from legal and regulatory aspects:

First is legal form of the business whether it is a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship or one of the offspring of these business types. These are best discussed with a lawyer and an accountant as each has benefits and drawbacks depending on the businesses overall need. In discussing the business forms you should address at a minimum the areas of taxes, licensing, investing, financing, risks, exit strategies, employees, and insurance.

The second area of consideration is taxes. There are four areas of taxes that need to be addressed, again dependent upon the need of the business, income taxes, payroll taxes, sales taxes and property taxes. Discussing these with a tax accountant or tax attorney and the particulars of your business will give you a good course of action and should provide the protections and headaches from tax avoidance.

The third area of regulatory or legal compliance that will need to be address is the area of licensing. Licensing rules vary vastly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Talking to a county clerk or a small business lawyer will undoubtedly save a lot of pain from non-compliance.

The fourth area to consider, and by no means the last or least area is that of insurance. Most small businesses are required to carry some types of insurance, such as property, liability, unemployment, and health insurance. Again a deep discussion with a lawyer, accountant and an insurance agent should give you adequate guidance and get you in compliance.

While the many legal and regulatory issues facing a small business owner can seem overwhelming, they are not. With the proper knowledge and guidance, compliance becomes a mere formality, an item to mark off the list as done. Now you're ready to move on to developing that product everyone needs as you head to the bank to enjoy your riches.

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