Are You Overlooking Areas That Need Your Attention?
Every business whether new or just thinking about starting up needs to know & reevaluate many things. Some of these things may be minor or important & they are:
The Legalities That Affect Your Business
Online and off-line businesses both have legalities they must comply with if they wish to stay in business and avoid potential legal troubles. Some of these are:
- occupational licenses
- business licenses
- specific staffing requirements
- professional licenses or degrees
- continuing education requirements
- written employee policies and procedures
- compliance with wage and hour laws
- compliance with OSHA rules
- specific types of insurance
- the collection of sales tax
- HIPAA compliance
- privacy policies when you collect data
- compliance with the ever-changing FTC rules
- compliance with state laws and licensing for certain professions
- compliance with the laws associated with unemployment compensation, state and federal taxes if you have employees
- and many, many more
In addition to the laws and rules that may apply to your business, you need to establish good bookkeeping practices so that you can prove to the IRS that you are complying with their laws if you’re ever audited.
Every business owner that has an online presence needs to keep up with FTC rules so that they can stay out of trouble. If your website or social media profiles cross a line that you are not aware that it existed, could face some heavy fines or lawsuits for which you will have no defense.
If you publish testimonials from satisfied customers on your website, you’d better be able to prove to any authority that asks that you were actually given the testimonial in writing and that the customer gave you permission to use it in your marketing.
Never make claims about a product or service that you can’t verify or that you know the state or federal regulatory agencies don’t allow.
For example: If you’re selling a product that is a supplement that has not been FDA approved, you cannot claim that it heals anything even though it may be the best thing ever invented.
You can state that it creates an environment that allows the body to repair itself but if you use the word heal you need to have gone through the FDA approval process and have double-blind studies to back up your claim.
Providers of alternative therapies such as the providers of supplements, weight loss programs hypnotherapists, etc. are also restricted on the terminology that can be used within their respective industries.
You need to know the terminology that you can and cannot use in marketing your business or you will be leaving yourself open to lawsuits from dissatisfied customers or problems with state or federal authorities.
If you sell products online, you need to be aware of which items you have to collect sales tax on, whether it’s legal to sell a product in a particular region of the state, country or world.
You need to know the privacy policies for each country that you do business in as well as each state that you do business in so that you know whether or not you have the proper personnel and policies in place to maintain the records as the law requires.
Website security is another issue that is becoming increasingly important. It’s so important, in fact, that Google is now factoring in whether your site has an SSL certificate when they determine where you should be placed in the search engine results.
The presence of the recommended policies for the type of business your website conducts is also taken into consideration.
Google and the other search engines need to provide their users a quality search experience or the searcher will find a different search provider to find the answer to their problem.
The health of your business both online and off-line is dependent upon your reputation and complying with local, state and federal laws and guidelines can only help your reputation because it would only take one intervention by the authorities to reduce or eliminate the goodwill that you work hard to build up within your niche.
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