How Do Small Businesses Feel About Government Regulations?

There is much to talk about when it comes to the government cracking down on small business owners. So, what do they think about it? Are the government’s tight regulations good, or bad? First, let’s take a look at what exactly we are talking about.

Marketing and Advertising Regulation

The government says that any and all advertising must follow these basic principles. They must be fair, honest, based on evidence and they can’t break the law. Yet, somehow, I always feel like I’ve been outsmarted by commercials and billboards. Everything in this topic is regulated by ‘The Federal Trade Commission‘ (FTC) from how products are labeled, to advertising to children.

Labor Laws

Labor laws usually generate a lot of public drama. Employees want more money and benefits, while employers are usually hesitant to give it. This is why labor laws have been placed into effect. Labor laws regulate wage and hours, discrimination, benefits and much more. They are designed to protect employees as well as employers.

Privacy Laws

Privacy laws, protecting that which could potentially effect customers, are regulated through the FTC. In general, this means any information received from customers is not allowed to be sold to anyone for any reason. This includes, but is not limited to, online privacy laws and regulations, use and disposal of customer and employee credit reports or other private information, security plans, and more. Privacy laws benefit everyone, customers, employees, and business owners.

Finance Laws

These laws deal with things like antitrust, bankruptcies and securities.

Intellectual Property Laws

Just about every business has a logo, or slogan of some sort. When you have something like this, it is most important to protect it. There are laws that regulate trademarks and copyrights, patents, etc. and even a company’s name needs to be protected.

Online Business Laws

There are laws regulating online sales, international sales, and even collecting sales tax. Collecting sales tax online is different than “human to human” sales interactions. These laws are important, and set a guideline for all online-based business transactions.

Environmental Regulations

Businesses that produce certain products that may potentially harm the environment/consumers especially have to watch these laws and regulations. These laws are regulated through the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as state agencies. There are state-specific laws and laws that are specifically directed to small businesses.

Financial Contract Regulations

The Uniform Commercial Code is a series of rules and regulations that must be complied with regarding borrowing money, leasing, making contracts and selling products outside of your state. Small business owners see this a lot when borrowing money from out of state.

Health and safety

Health and safety laws are crucial to have, and protect everyone involved. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) states the workplace has to be cleared of all that may cause death or serious injury to employees. All of these laws are regulated through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and state-specific regulations.

Employee Eligibility/Foreign Workers

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), oversees immigration processes in America. They regulate employment by identifying who can and cannot legally work in the United States. They protect against things like discrimination and more.

Even without going into much detail about fines and taxes, you can see that small business owners have a lot on their plates, so the question is how do they feel about it? According to a survey by Wells Fargo, one in three small business owners worry about going out of business. The survey results state that of these individuals, about 22% says having to comply with government regulations is the biggest problem they have to face. According to another source, Politico, 41% of all business owners complain about government regulations as their number one problem. Many feel a wave of uncertainty with new regulations and higher taxes. The head of the National Federation of Independent Business, Dan Danner, calls this a “massive federal regulatory nightmare, that stifles innovation, grinds small businesses down and prohibits job creation” (according to the New York Times)

Looking at the big picture, the majority isn’t very worried about government regulations and laws. The Hartford Financial Group shows different results, with a mere 9% claiming government regulating as their biggest concern, and 2% claiming the taxes were too high. Some of these percentages include some who claimed other factors as their concerns as well. It just goes to show it really does depend on who you are asking. We did note that those with organizational leadership degrees were less concerned with the structuring of their company. Across the board, less than half of all small business owners worry about government regulations as their main concern. All of these laws and regulations are put in place for one reason and one reason only, to protect the people and the environment.