How the best entrepreneurial teams adapt to regulation

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

By Henry Brown

The general public believes that regulations are instruments of the state designed to protect consumers and ensure that competition is fair. But when you actually study them, you soon realize that many of them work against the interest of small business owners, trying to make headway in the world.

This state of affairs isn’t by chance. Large corporations will often lobby for more government intervention in the economy to reduce their competition. If it’s more difficult for founders to start their own companies, it helps to maintain the status quo. Incumbents get to make fatter profits for longer and the rest of society is damaged. People can’t get ahead.

While regulations are the law, the smartest entrepreneurial teams know the game. They understand that in a democracy, the best way to create financial success in the face of withering bureaucratic injustice is to adapt. You can’t always fight regulations, but you can bypass them or use them to your advantage. Sometimes, the mere act of compliance is a competitive advantage.

In this post, we take a look at some of the ways smart founding teams adapt and comply with regulations to get ahead.

Hire legal services

While regulations seem cut and dry, there are often legal loopholes and ways around them. It is often simply a question of knowledge. Once you understand how the game’s been set up for you, you can find ways around it.

There are firms, for instance, that specialize in government strategies for companies. These outfits essentially guide you through government policies that would slow down other businesses, helping you win.

Remember, the whole of society wins if you create a winning product or solution. So by looking for ways to beat the rules, you’re actually doing a good thing, so long as you’re being peaceful.

Outsource your compliance

Many business founders become jaded within the first few months of starting up. It feels like they’re spending all their time complying with government regulations, instead of actually focusing on their products. Sadly, this situation prevails in many enterprises.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. For centuries, companies have been outsourcing their accounting compliance with professionals. And today you can use third parties for practically any form of compliance you like. You pay a fee and they take over the process for you.

It seems like an unnecessary cost – and in the grand scheme of things, it is. But, remember, it is something that all your rivals have to pay for too. So if you can get the price of regulation down, you’re putting yourself at a distinct competitive advantage.

Create a culture of adaptation

Creating a culture of compliance is something a lot of companies strive for, but that tends to breed blind supplication. A better approach is to create a culture of adaptation. There’s relatively little that a sole small business can do about regulations. But you can create an attitude in your team that sees regulations for what they are – obstacles to be navigated.

This problem-solving approach can help improve your team’s productivity greatly and allow you to adopt new business models that enable you to thrive.

Start using time-tracking apps

Payroll and overtime laws mean that many small businesses have to carefully monitor the amount of time that their staff spends working in both the office and the field. And that can be an administrative nightmare.

Fortunately, you don’t have to get your HR team to enter all the hours worked manually. Instead, you can simply use time-tracking apps to keep tabs on the length of time that your employees spend in various places of work, including, but not limited to, your office.

These apps are usually quite sophisticated. Many, for instance, allow you to make arrangements for lunch breaks. Others come connected to GPS, allowing you to use an employee’s physical location to determine whether they’re on the job or not.

Time-tracking apps can usually save your enterprise a lot of money. You can cut payroll admin time by 50 percent or more and reduce your overall payroll costs by up to 10 percent.

Join a local business organization

Thriving as a local business in a world of heavy regulations can be a challenge, but you can take heart that almost everyone is in the same boat.

Companies have clubbed together to help each other through challenging political times and created small or local business organizations that provide resources, mainly for dealing with state interference.

For instance, many of these organizations provide up to date tax advice for small companies and can put you in contact with expert accountants who understand the issues.

These organizations also provide you with a wonderful opportunity to connect with other companies and find out how they’re dealing with the burden of regulation. Team members in your enterprise can often learn a lot from their counterparts in other enterprises, and vice versa.

Small business organizations can also provide your enterprise with a big-picture view. Sometimes, regulations can come down the pike which seem like they mean the end of your enterprise. But many entrepreneurs view their enterprises through the lens of competition. Most legal changes alter the structure of industries and affect all parties equally, so they’re not necessarily fatal. In fact, there could be ways to use them to your advantage.

Start using accounting software

Financial regulations on businesses are complex and severe. Government agencies provide facilities that enable owners to comply with them manually, but hardly anyone uses them. It’s too time-consuming and complex. In many cases, it requires a background in accountancy.

For that reason, a lot of small businesses have started using accounting software. Here you just enter an item as an expense or payroll, and the program will do the rest of the calculations for you, depending on your jurisdiction. You’ll be able to view your tax position in real-time and allocate the necessary funds to pay the authorities. You can also forward the information to your accountant to reduce bills.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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