Starting a business is a stressful affair for most people. Aside from getting an actual product or service ready, there are so many things to organize, from website design and marketing to packaging, registration and customer service. In fact, government laws and regulations require a great deal of attention from business owners and this attention can cost both time and money!
And that’s just part of the story…
You see, government laws and regulations are strict for good reason. It’s true, nefarious individuals exist and not every business is as honest or trustworthy as the next. For this reason, we have many factors to consider before taking on employees or selling to customers. The truth is, there are many legal requirements to follow and in this article, we take a look at some of the most important aspects that you might want to consider as a new business owner.
9 Legal Requirements Every Business Must Follow
1. What You Should Know About Taking on Employees
If you employ any staff, you must comply with various laws and regulations. For instance, you must provide a full written statement to every member of staff regarding the terms of employment. As part of these terms, employees should be given a full description of the role along with working hours, sick leave and the amount of payment they can expect to receive. More specially, these terms must be provided within two months of the employee starting work for the business.
2. Understanding Business Laws and Stipulations
State and federal labor laws are created by the government to help regulate business conduct. However, there are many of these laws and not every law is relevant to every business. In other words, you will need to determine what regulations apply to your business and the Department of Labor provides a free advisory service to help business owners get to grips with the specifics. In case you might be asking yourself, these laws can refer to issues such as working hours, equal opportunity or health and safety.
3. About GDPR Compliance and ADA Compliance
Are you familiar with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)?
GDPR came into force last year and imposes certain legal obligations on businesses that collect data from their customers. In short, GDPR requires every business to have lawful grounds to collect personal data from consumers and abide by other laws as stated in the GDPR principles. Although relatively new, this is a very important and significant area of focus when it comes to legalities. If you are unfamiliar with these laws, it’s essential to carry out research and ensure your business is GDPR compliant.
4. The Importance of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)
As you may know, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lays out specific guidelines that must be followed when it comes to the business website. Under this act, websites must provide clear and reasonable access for people with disabilities. At the same time, businesses should really welcome these kind of regulations, for they inevitably improve the website and cater to customers that wish to use their product or service.
5. Consumer Contracts and Selling to Consumers
If you sell a product or service to consumers, you must be familiar with the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013. Simply stated, these laws require businesses to provide full written terms for the sale of their products and services along with other important consumer information. For example, there must be a clear policy for refunds, and the ability to cancel a purchase at the very least.
6. Know the Rules and Regulations for Advertising
Government laws and regulations state that advertisements must not be deceptive and provide clear and honest information. What’s more, any adverts with testimonials must abide by even more laws, while any violation means the business is open to heavy fines and penalties. While many rules fall under this one umbrella, these laws are mostly concerned with ensuring that businesses provide all information in a clear and transparent manner. Moreover, there are different rules for different industries and sometimes a lawyer is needed to siphon through the various rules and regulations.
7. Ensure Your Email Marketing Campaigns are Transparent
Everyone knows that email marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing but there are laws to follow for this method. In fact, all email marketing campaigns must abide by the CAN SPAM Act and there are many stipulations under this act such as the following:
- Headlines should not be misleading.
- Business should show their full name and address.
- Customers should be shown how to opt-out of the emails.
- Advertisements must be labeled as an advertisement.
8. About Collecting Sales Tax
Tax is a headache for most business owners and sales tax is one that is often forgotten. If you sell physical items, you must collect a sales tax from the customer and send this to the revenue department. In some instances, it’s also necessary for online businesses to collect this sales tax and only a few states in the United States are exempt from this law – Montana, Delaware, Alaska, Oregon and New Hampshire.
9. Purchasing Insurance
If you take on employees, you will need insurance and this is mandatory for every business in the United States. What’s more, businesses must buy workers compensation insurance which protects the business and employees regarding any on-the-job accidents. More specifically, this will provide insurance to cover medical bills or loss of income in the event of an accident. At the same time, this is one of several types of insurance and the requirements will depend on the industry or type of work involved.
As you can imagine, this article is only scratching the surface of legal requirements for every business in the United States. However, this should still give you an idea of what your need to consider and the most important aspects of law that pertain to your chosen business or industry.