When you think of running a business, you tend to focus on the practical elements of keeping things up and running. You think of what cogs you need to work on to keep everything turning. This could be taking time to consider product development. It could be conducting market research to see how your products and services can be altered to better meet your target demographic’s needs and preferences. It could be expanding your staff base with recruitment. It could be establishing a following on social media and collaborating with social media influencers. These are all exciting and progressive areas to think about and engage with, so it’s not all too surprising that we want to focus on them. But you do need to focus on less exciting areas of your business to protect yourself from legal action, to maintain a good reputation and to make sure the basics are in order. Taking time to focus on rules and regulations isn’t as fun as other areas of your business, but it is an absolute essential. Here are some to take into consideration!
Data protection is a set of laws that have been put in place to ensure that your business properly stores any data that is taken from customers, staff, employees, clients, partners, or anyone else who engages with your company. It could include names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, bank details and more. Should this information get into the hands of the wrong people, they could commit cases of identity theft and fraud. This is why it’s absolutely essential that you protect any data that you take. You need to focus on data storage, Cloud Compliance and various other areas to ensure everything complies with data protection laws. This will protect everyone who has provided you with data, as well as your business’ reputation.
Every business has to pay tax on profits. But so few of us are competent with the ins and outs of the tax system in order to know exactly how much we should be paying, how much is permitted to be detracted in the form of expenses, and other information that could impact our final sum owed. You need to file a tax return, but you also need to make sure that the figure is correct in order to ensure you pay the right amount – no more, no less. This is why it’s important that you use the services of a professional accountant. They’ll be trained and qualified in this area and will have plenty of experience sorting out other companies’ tax returns, so will be able to ensure you’re paying the right amount. This will prevent you from getting into any trouble with tax services later down the line. You don’t want your business to be associated with tax evasion. Not only can you face fines and other forms of punishment, but your company’s reputation will be tarnished.
When you take on employees, you become responsible for their well being in the workplace. You need to ensure that you’re following all of the different rules and regulations that are in place to ensure that you do this. Here are a few areas to focus on for now.
Minimum wages vary around the world. But generally speaking, the majority of countries have a minimum wage in place in order to ensure employers don’t excessively exploit their staff. You absolutely need to ensure that you are paying all workers at least the minimum wage for the country you’re operating within.
Maximum Working Hours
The working time directive highlights a recommended working time for employees. Your employees shouldn’t be expected or requested to work any more than 48 hours a week on average. People can opt out of this 48 hour agreement, but it should only be of their absolute free will and refusal to work more than 48 hours a week shouldn’t be punished.
Freedom from Prejudice
Your employees should not face any form of prejudice in the workplace. You can’t discriminate against people based on their age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, or being or becoming a transgender person.
If your company is doing something wrong and an employee blows the whistle to implement change and highlight wrongdoing, you cannot discriminate against them or punish them for their actions. You cannot fire them from their position. You simply need to acknowledge wrongdoing and make appropriate changes to prevent similar circumstances in the future.
Health and Safety
Health and safety regulations are in place in order to keep your employees safe at all times. You have to comply with them. They focus on creating a safe workplace and ensuring that employees aren’t at risk while in the workplace. You also need to ensure that you aren’t asking staff to complete any tasks that they haven’t had proper training for, that they don’t have the proper personal protective equipment for, or that they cannot carry out safely. You need to conduct risk assessments into all areas of your business’ operations and to ensure that everything is safe, covered and done properly. If you fail to do so, your workers could become injured or ill as a result. Not only is this awful from a moral stance, but you also lose a worker for the period of time of their recovery and you can find yourself facing court cases that could result in compensation payouts that could dent your business or even put it under.
There are plenty more rules and regulations that your business has to abide by on a day to day basis. But those listed above tend to be some of the most important and, surprisingly, can be commonly neglected. Hopefully, highlighting them will allow you to see what your business may need to work on and will let you know what changes you may need to make in order to comply!