Before you start your business, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all of the laws your business must adhere to. Start by contacting your industry association. There may be specific regulations, such as food and beverage laws, for example, that you need to comply with. You should also pay a visit to your city’s business development office to see if there are any local laws that pertain to your business.
What if you’re starting a business at home? There are many laws home-based business owners should be aware of. Your city’s business development office can help with these too.
Here are some other areas that may have laws relevant to your business:
- Advertising laws: You need to be truthful and not misleading in your advertising efforts. Whether you’re advertising on billboards or over the Internet, there are many consumer protection laws to follow. Also, familiarize yourself with laws concerning online marketing such as spamming, telemarketing laws, and what you can and can’t say on a product label.
- Employment and labor laws: Be sure you understand laws pertaining to employee rights such as discrimination and harassment, termination, safe and drug-free work environments, benefits, and wages.
- Finance law: Finance laws require businesses to follow certain guidelines when it comes to antitrust regulations, bankruptcy, and securities.
- Intellectual property: As a business owner, you’ll want to protect your trademark, patent, or trade secrets. Learn the correct procedures to take to safeguard your company’s property.
- Online business law: Now that almost every business is online, your company needs to be in compliance with laws dealing with online privacy, security, copyright, and taxation issues.
- Environment: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and your state government have very specific laws when it comes to regulating the impact of business on the environment. Find out how your company must deal with disposal of toxic materials, your responsibilities for air pollution control, and more.
- Privacy laws: The government (and your customers) want to know you’re doing everything you can to protect the personal information your business obtains. Research the privacy laws relevant to your business to avoid landing in hot water.
- Foreign workers, immigration, and employee eligibility: Because immigration reform is hot news right now, you should be sure you’re doing all you can to vet employees for legal status.
- Workplace safety and health: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has many outreach programs in place to help small business owners comply with workplace safety regulations. Be sure you know which laws protect employees from hazardous work environments, because the fines for failing to comply with these laws are substantial.