Starting a small business involves more than just passion and a good product. Amid the enthusiasm to get the business off the ground, entrepreneurs often overlook unique but essential rules and regulations.
Pamela Foley is a former lawyer and a brand management and online visibility expert who founded AOU Legal, is here to shed light on certain aspects that are often overlooked due to a lack of awareness.
The Cookie Law
Having a website today is a business necessity, but it also comes with a plethora of regulations, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This means entrepreneurs should implement cookie consent banners and offer opt-out choices for non-essential cookies, or risk facing significant penalties.
“You might think GDPR is a European issue that won’t affect your U.S.-based small business. However, the reality is that if your website is accessible in the EU, you’re on the hook for compliance,” Pamela warns.
The Sound of Music and Licenses
Believe it or not, even the music played at a business location can be subject to regulations. Licensing from entities like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC is required for public performances of copyrighted music.
“It’s easy to think that music playing in the background is harmless, but it’s actually regulated,” says Pamela. “Being ignorant about public performance licenses could end up costing you more than you’d ever imagine.”
ADA: Not Just Ramps and Doorways
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is generally associated with physical modifications to brick-and-mortar establishments. However, the ADA also extends to digital accessibility.
Pamela advises, “Many entrepreneurs don’t realize that ADA compliance includes their online presence. It’s not just about physical accessibility; your website needs to be navigable by those with disabilities as well.”
The Lesser-Known Business Licenses
While most business owners are aware of the need for a primary business license, additional permits related to specialized services or products are often neglected.
“You’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs forget to secure specialized licenses for things like food handling or professional consulting,” Pamela shares.
The Importance of Employee Handbooks
Employee handbooks are sometimes viewed as optional by small business owners. However, these documents are crucial in handling legal risks associated with workplace issues.
“An employee handbook isn’t just paperwork, but it’s your first line of defense against potential legal challenges,” emphasizes Pamela.
To safeguard their ventures, entrepreneurs should not only focus on building their businesses but also pay attention to these often-overlooked regulatory aspects. Consulting professionals for advice is a small but wise investment that could prevent substantial legal issues down the line.
Imelda Perez is the Digital PR Executive at HelloSEO.