Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Launching a Business? Don't forget those regulations

During yesterday's Economic Empowerment course, we discussed business ownership. Most of the women present were considering running their own business, but were unsure where to start. They had mentioned this during a prior class and I put together a presentation to help encourage them. What better way to help these women help themselves than to research the info and give them a starting point, right? Right. 

It went well and the women absorbed the info and asked several questions. Two of them were already creating their goods and either selling or sharing them with friends. But they wanted to start making real money off their crafts. So we discussed the various business entities available and potential locations. To avoid  paying rent, we discussed operating businesses from home or over the Internet. One woman in particular is aiming to open her own business, but she wants a small place to run it from.  She's a petite, soft-spoken woman with many challenges and apparently pretty bright. Her first question was: Is it difficult to run a restaurant?

It was an insightful question. As the group's director pointed out, many  women rush to launch businesses without considering the necessary regulations they must meet before they open their doors for service. Unfortunately, they are forced to shut down because of violations they innocently overlooked. 

Certain industries require specific licenses if they are regulated by government agencies. These regulations can be at either the federal or state level. Federal regulations apply across the board, so they're easier to  identify and apply for. The challenge comes is at the state level, because those laws differ across the nation. It's important to ask the right questions so you avoid violating any laws and keep your business running. 

Te Small Business Administration does the job for you. It provides links to the various state licensing and permit boards and federal agencies, and lists the types of regulations you may encounter. Visit the SBA site at to learn more. 

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