Keeping your business legal and up to code is crucial for the owner of any company. If your business is not compliant with different rules and regulations, you won’t be able to legally operate on the market. You can also run into issues with lawsuits that can cost your business thousands in damages. But how do you make sure that your business is legally compliant? Well, the first step is to make sure you know and understand the legal requirements of your company. There are quite a few to take into consideration here. There are both internal and external regulations that businesses must abide by.
Internal Company Regulations
Internal regulations cover requirements within the company such as forming a board to manage and update bylaws. To ensure that internal regulations are abided by, it is important that businesses keep accurate and up to date records of any proceedings in the company. This is the easiest way to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Business owners can use compliance kits containing internal agreements and examples of bylaws to ensure that everyone follows the set rules.
Internal regulations are designed to ensure that everything within the business is kept up to a certain code of ethics. With internal regulations in place, businesses are able to avoid issues with corruption and embezzlement. However, it is important to realize that businesses are held by government regulations as well.
External requirements can vary depending on the state your business is operating in. For this reason, business owners who aim to remain compliant must look up local laws and regulations. Or, hire a legal advisor. They will be able to help guarantee that your business is always compliant, even if regulations change as they often do.
Typically, external regulations can include franchise tax. A franchise tax is charged as a fee for operating, and the amount can vary based on a number of factors including the number of shares a company holds.
Beyond regulations like this, you need to understand the responsibilities you have as a business owner. Particularly, how you can be held accountable when running your workplace. For instance, you do need to protect the health and safety of your workers, as dictated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
OSHA ensures that the rights of workers to operate in a safe environment are protected. It covers a broad range of responsibilities for the employer. For instance, employers must provide a work environment free of serious health hazards as recognized under the OSH Act. One example of a serious hazard would be poor air quality. If the air in the environment where employees operate is filled with dangerous pollutants, businesses are legally accountable for any injuries sustained.
OSH law is also in place to ensure that employees are using the right tools to complete certain jobs in the workplace safely. For instance, workers in the industrial industry should be provided with safety gear such as harnesses.
According to OSH law, business owners should also make sure that they are training business employees about potential hazards. They should have a plan in place to prevent potential injuries and ensure that workers are provided with all the information they need to stay safe.
These are just some of the responsibilities an employer has under OSH law. There are many more, and they are all designed to protect the rights of American workers with regards to health and safety.
If you are concerned about an issue with OSH law, it is possible to arrange a consultation. OSHA provides free on-site consultation services to all business owners. As such, you will be able to check that your business is legally compliant and go beyond what is expected of you.
Of course, in some cases ensuring you are legally compliant is about taking the right steps to protect yourself. This is the case with PCI DSS compliance.
PCI DSS is another example of a legal area where your business must remain compliant with specific regulations. It stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Essentially, this is about keeping sensitive data safe by merchants, no matter how big the business might be. To do this, there are a number of set rules that you must follow.
Many business owners find checking business compliance in this area is incredibly difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Some of the requirements include managing security, software usage, and network development. There are 12 requirements in total, but the main aim is to show that you are abiding by PCI DSS standards.
To prove that you are compliant and check that your business is up to code in this area, you can fill in a self-assessment. The questions on this assessment will vary depending on the type of business you are operating. For instance, an online company accepting credit card purchases will be held by different regulations compared with another business that only offers direct forms of payment. There are tools available online that can help you become and remain compliant in this area for your business.
Read more about PCI DSS compliance here.
Industry Specific Compliances
You may find that compliancy laws can differ depending on the industry your business is operating in. An example of this would be businesses operating in regulatory environments. Most businesses these days are using some form of cloud-based software. The benefits of a cloud server are too expansive to explain here, however security levels can differ. Businesses operating in regulatory environments may find that the server they are using does not provide the level of security to ensure their company is legally compliant. This is why businesses must always check specific industry legal requirements and ensure they are keeping their company up to code.
To close, there are a number of business compliance requirements that companies must abide by. Some are tied to certain circumstances such as hiring your first members of staff. Others will be industry specific, and many more are universal for any business. While there are tools online and plenty of resources for information on legal requirements, the best way to stay up to code is to consult a lawyer. You should also be checking for changes regularly. Regulations and legal requirements are constantly altered so you must stay up to date.
Getting started in business
When you are thinking of starting a new business, one of the first things you need to ask yourself is what business model your company will adopt. Your business model is your company’s blueprint for making a profit. It explains what product or service your company plans to sell, how you will market your product or service, how much your business will cost to run, and how your business will turn a profit.
The best business plan is the one that allows you to fulfill your clients needs at a reasonable cost, while still remaining true to your company values and objectives. Three good questions to ask yourself in the business model planning stage are:
- Do you have a unique value proposition that makes your product or service valuable?
- Who is your target market, and do they have a need for your product or service?
- What makes you different from your competitors? Will your business model be difficult to copy?
Without these essential elements, you don’t have a way of generating revenue for your business. Some other elements to ask yourself when selecting a business model include: cost structure, key metrics, resources, problem and solution, revenue model, revenue streams and profit margin.
Some of the most popular business models include the manufacturer model, which is utilized by Dell Computers and Hewlett-Packard. This business model sees a manufacturer convert raw materials into a product. Another popular business model is the retailer model. Retailers purchase goods from distributors and then sell them to the public. Stores such as Nordstrom and Target have seen great success in this space.
Even companies that are innovating the business world tend to adopt characteristics from more traditional models. For example, Netflix has transformed the way you watch shows and movies but their company essentially runs on the subscription business model. This model asks customers to pay a monthly fee in order to utilize the product or service. In the case of Netflix, you pay a monthly fee to access their app.
You should start writing your business model in the beginning stages of your business plan. This way, you answer some of the most important questions about your business right out of the gates, rather than realizing at the end of your planning stages that profitability is not an option.
There are twelve main business models for you to choose from. Once you’ve found one that fits your business needs, you can begin to adapt it and make it your own. The right business model for you depends entirely on what you are selling, how much it costs to produce, and who you plan to market it to.
If you don’t know where to start, the visual below details the main business models explained with coffee.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Hard From The Start: Which Industries Are Best For Female Entrepreneurs?
Equality in society is something which is always improving. Rights have steadily been becoming increasingly universal as time has gone by, with more and more people being afforded the same level of living standards. Of course, though, there are still some areas which are severely lacking.
The gender pay gap has been highlighted in media very frequently over the last few years, and what we really want to know – is the wage gap between men and women shrinking?
Gender Pay Gap
The gender wage or pay gap is the average difference in pay between men and women. There are a couple of primary reasons for the gap.
Why the pay gap?
Women have chosen to work less hours, they may choose to work part-time so they can work around the school drop off and pick up times. They also take maternity leave and may extend it longer than the standard number of weeks of ‘paid maternity leave’.
There is also another reason, and it’s not voluntary, discrimination in the workplace and the value of a female worker versus a male worker doing the same job. The good news is the gap is shrinking and while it exists from the shop floor to the boardroom, women are fighting back.
Some industries are more male centric and they have been harder to win around with equal pay for equal work. The good news is there is upwards movement for women in all roles in and saying this, what about the most critical positions out there? How many female entrepreneurs make it to executive levels, and which industries are best for this half of the population?
Females In Executive Roles
In 2018, Fortune 500’s companies list only featured 23 female chief executives. Dropping 25% from the previous year, it seems as though the number of women in high levels of business is dropping, though this may not be the case. Sheryl Sandberg is an excellent example of a COO at one of the world’s largest companies; Facebook. Having been at the company for more than ten years, she is living evidence that it is possible for women to achieve positions which men have traditionally held.
To get a good idea of where women seem to do best in this field, it’s best to take a test sample. In this case, we’re going to be looking at an organization which works towards equality in a range of fields, one of which is business.
Where Are The Women Executives?
You can find Involve’s top 100 Female Executives at list link. While this list doesn’t cover all of the women in business, it offers a good range of different people.
We’ve taken each of the women on the list and put them into one of eight categories; technology, finance, retail, infrastructure, politics/activism, business, health, and manufacturing. You can find the results below.
As you can see, finance and business are the clear leaders when it comes to fields with female executives. Technology doesn’t happen too close behind, though, and it’s good to see that so many types of business make a showing. It makes sense that finance is so prevalent here.
Financial companies make up a vast amount of the world’s trade, and you don’t tend to get a small one, making them all need their executives. Some of the companies on the list are massive, while others were started by the lady in question. M62 Vincis’ Nicci Take is an excellent example of this and is someone who pushes for equality in business.
Which Field Is Best For Women?
It’s hard to say which field is best for women, especially when you break it down like this. If you look at success as working for a large company, someone like Michele Evans could be a good source of inspiration, as she heads the $21 billion giant known as Lockheed Martin. This company makes all sorts of machines, with a heavy focus on those with military applications. This isn’t the sort of work a lot of people would associate with a woman, as war is a heavily male-dominated industry, but this shows that the world is getting better at recognizing merit over gender.
Home Based eCommerce: Solving the Storage Issue
How much do consumers spend online? According to a 2018 Omnichannel Buying Report, consumers spend a third ($1 in every $3) of their discretionary income online. While Amazon steals the show for the top seller, there are thousands upon thousands of home-based entrepreneurs behind those Amazon numbers. From skincare to books to clothing and other consumer goods, sellers and resellers are not only in the sales game they’re also in the inventory shipping and storage game.
The fact of the matter is, adding storage for an eCommerce business is a common problem that many online entrepreneurs face. Are you facing this issue? If so, don’t stress about renting storage units or renting commercial space if you don’t have the budget right now. If you take the time to make a plan for adding the right type of storage space to your home, you’ll avoid facing hefty storage fees month after month.
Storage Containers, and Lots of Them
The most affordable way to add additional storage to your home is also, thankfully, the easiest: DIY storage containers. If you have a closet that you’re not utilizing, you’d be surprised by how much room you can squeeze out of it just by A) organizing everything, and B) putting everything into a large, multi-tiered plastic storage container. You can find these both on the Internet and at any home supply or container store.
Organized storage containers will enable you to fit more items in the same-sized area, and you’ll also have easier access to inventory whenever you need it. This is the perfect choice for small eCommerce products that have high turnover rates, such as make-up, crafts, or other small niche products.
Convert and Enclose a Patio
Do you have a patio area on the exterior of your home that you don’t utilize? Perfect, you’ve got the makings of a storage room right outside your door.
Get quotes from a few local construction partners to convert and enclose the patio into a usable space. If the temperature for storing your inventory is important, be sure to get a quote for adding heat and AC. If you’re concerned about aesthetics or future use of the room, add windows to give the room a bit of additional lighting.
Once the patio is enclosed, you can follow traditional inventory storage advice or treat it as a garage space and organize accordingly. If you’re keeping resale value in mind as you make changes, Forbes offers a few tips to keep in mind for home improvements that boost value. Although the article doesn’t mention storage, the Mud Room and Smart Features concepts will ensure your investment yields a return.
No Basement? Look Up
Most homes have an attic or a crawl space that is accessible through pull-down stairs or an opening with a ladder. Before you consider this option, call in a handyman or contractor to evaluate the strength of the flooring.
You may have to reinforce the attic floor before you can use it to walk around or store items. There are two main reinforcement techniques available: sistering and engineered floor joists. Sistering involves installing newer, larger floor joists side by side with your existing ones. Engineered floor joists offer an increased level of structural reliability and as a bonus, you won’t have to worry about crowning, bowing or other related problems. When in doubt, call in a professional, as attic storage without proper reinforcement can be a hazard.
If you’re going to be converting your attic into storage, it’s probably best to use it for items that aren’t temperature sensitive. If the space is too good to pass up, you can look into adding extra insulation and heating/cooling options.
Invest in a Separate Building
If you absolutely need additional storage onsite but lack the space in your home, pre-engineered metal buildings are the most affordable way to go.
Even if you’ve only got a limited amount of land, you may still have room for this option. Steel buildings come in a variety of shapes and sizes with many custom options. Prefabricated metal buildings are erected very quickly and can solve your inventory storage problems right away. As an aside, if you require storage for large items, you can also experiment with triple roof structures, carports for covered outdoor work areas, or combinations of the two, depending on your needs.
Regardless of which onsite storage option you choose to explore, it’s clear that you have many options to help you manage growing inventory without paying storage fees to a third party facility. All of these options will add value to your home should you decide to move in the future.
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