For most of you, business owners, compliance is not the primary cause of anxiety and sleepless nights. Instead, it is sales: “Will there be enough money to pay expenses or hit our profit objectives?” Next in line is risk, specifically legal risk: “I don’t know what I don’t know.” When it comes to compliance, you might hear about new changes in employment and privacy laws that took effect on January 1st.
But, between anxiety 1 (money) and anxiety 2 (risk), you may dismiss them as not important today or not important at all. Before you know it, there are 2-3 years of laws in place that you haven’t tackled because they never made it to the top of your to-do list. And this is entirely understandable. As the owner of your business, you’ve got a million things on your plate. Most of those things tie back to critical business activities: driving sales, managing employees, and delivering high-quality work. Compliance doesn’t seem “critical” and falls behind.
For at least some of you, the knowledge that you’ve procrastinated on compliance issues causes anxiety. For many of you, it’s justified – lots of things don’t get done, and that’s just the reality of being in business. Either way, at some point, it will rear its ugly head and cause you trouble. You’re right to be a bit anxious, but here are some tips to help you understand your exposure and put some of that anxiety at bay:
- Find a Guide. So many websites and newsletters catalog legal and regulatory changes by legal topic or by industry. Your professional advisors may also do this for you. For example, Equinox offers a quarterly legal update for clients to stay abreast of pertinent changes. The guide can make it easy for you to look in one place for what you need.
- Applicability. When you hear about a new law, please pay attention to which businesses it affects. Many laws only apply to companies of specific employee size, revenue size, or location. You can immediately cut to the chase and understand if you even need to read further.
- Effective Date. Find out when the law takes effect. Some laws are immediately applicable, and some don’t take effect for months. Knowing these dates provides you a timeline for implementation.
- Consequences of Non-Compliance. Understand what is the exposure to your business if you fail to comply. Some laws have proactive enforcement procedures and penalties by administrative agencies. In contrast, others are triggered only by the filing of a complaint. Some penalties are calculated by occurrence or number of violations and add up quickly. By knowing the scope and scale of your risk, you can better determine how to prioritize it.
With a quick way to understand your risk, you can take deliberate action – and surely sleep better at night.
Seek Guidance for Compliance
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night? Do you worry about the unknowns lurking around the corner that could rise and wreak havoc on your business? What do these unknowns look like for your business? What are you doing to alleviate the anxiety?
Equinox offers a complimentary Business Health Assessment that helps you understand your risk exposure and provides recommendations on what you can do to limit the risk. Contact us today to learn more and schedule your Assessment.