Starting a small business is no small task and federal regulations present one of the greatest hurdles for any small business owner to overcome. Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you’re exempt from complying with regulations. Full compliance will protect you from any potential legal issues with third parties, as well as your employees, and also ensure the success of your business.
Take a look at the following federak regulations, which govern all types of business including small ones:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversees truthfulness in advertising. Deceptive marketing is in direct violation of the Advertising & Marketing laws regulated by the FTC. So, when you start to advertise your business, consider your messaging very carefully and be clear about any sort of assertions you might make. Laws extend to areas such as product labelling, advertising to specific audiences (i.e. children), e-mail and telemarketing campaigns, and health or environmental benefits as related to your product or business.
As an employer, you should be dedicated to preventing discrimination and harassment in the workplace. You’re responsible for posting certain notices in the workplace that inform your employees about a multitude of topics such as Job Safety and Health, Equal Employment Opportunities, Fair Labor Standards, Family and Medical Leave among others.
Hiring employees also means wage regulation. Workers’ compensation benefits such as wage replacement, medical treatment and vocational rehabilitation are governed by different regulations, which have both federal and state-level components. We recommend taking a look at the U.S. Department of Labor website to determine what federal employment laws are applicable to your business. Find out more about what your state requires on the DOL website, as well.
Does your business employ any products that could potentially be hazardous to the environment and/or human health? Do you need to dispose of pollutants or hazardous/non-hazardous waste? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees all environmental regulations that impact most businesses, so it's worth putting in the time for both research and permit approvals - especially if you're launching a business, upgrading your facility, relocating, or changing production. Even as a small business, you may need to apply for environmental permits if your operation releases pollutants into the air, land, water or sewers, or if any part of your production process involves storing, transporting, or disposing of hazardous waste.
Providing both yourself and your employees with a safe and happy place to work is not only beneficial for your company - it’s also the law! Workplace Safety & Health laws outline the best ways to keep your workplace free from recognized hazards. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) also offers a step-by-step guide to pin-point which laws apply to your business, and how to go about complying with those regulations, as well. In addition, you can request an on-site consultation and free advice on safety in your workplace from an OSHA government professional. OSHA also offers a wide range of training and educational programs for employers.
Taking the time to research and investigate those laws is especially critical for those launching a new business. If you're looking for more information about any of these federal regulations, the Small Business Association (SBA) is a wonderful resource to help business identify and navigate through the laws and regulations. Even established businesses can benefit from regularly checking the SBA website, as these regulations are constantly being updated/revised. For all other questions about running or managing purchasing for your business, check out our helpful forums to get a response from our business community.