Why do small businesses try to sidestep regulations?

In the retail industry, regulations are everywhere. Whether you are looking to build your own property or spearhead new products, regulation is the umbrella that keeps every business functioning in an ethical manner.

However, many small businesses’ regulations feel like a burden. There are many businesses that are trying to navigate their way around the regulations, but this has a negative impact in the long run. So why do small businesses try to sidestep regulations, and how can businesses work towards a happy medium?

The overall burden

Many businesses find that the burden of paperwork and guaranteeing the business is compliant in every area is a strain. One way to bypass this would be to use contractors and outside help, which is abundant in many forms. For example, construction design and management (CDM) regulations demand CDM consultants for additional support, and in the computing sector, many companies outsource to an IT support company. And, the most prominent example for many businesses is accounting. There is no way around this, because it needs to be done, which is why there are accounting companies to provide invaluable help. 

Complying with regulations takes more time

During the startup phase businesses are hit with regulations left, right, and centre, which demand they conduct various health and safety risk assessments, comply with specific laws relating to the products, as well as understand the paperwork the employees should provide. This steep learning curve is overwhelming. Partly, this is to do with the fact that information is not made abundantly clear. The official websites, such as GOV.UK, offer tailored regulatory checklists but do not provide strict timelines. The biggest burden for business in this respect is being given inadequate time to get up to speed. However, while businesses are actually allowed this time, it is not made clear. 

small businesses sidestep regulations

The pressures placed on a single person

Many small businesses comprise one person. When a single person is expected to comply with a number of regulations, this doesn’t just cause personal pressures, but financial ones too. Business owners are expected to have knowledge of a variety of regulations across different sectors. 

The stresses of under complying or over complying

In total, the array of regulations can hinder a business in the long run. This usually means the owner either under complies or over complies with regulation, usually unintentionally. Many businesses will turn to external advice such as specialist consultants, but can lead to extra fees and different burdens.

What is the answer?

The solution may lie in the design of the policies. Many costs are transferred to a business in a haphazard manner and perhaps making regulations more about good business practice rather than having to comply with almost hundreds of different micro rules could be a blanket approach. The reality is that it is not so easy to comply with regulations. As you can see, there are many reasons why small businesses would try to sidestep regulations where they can. But maybe it’s time to put the wheels in motion and address a more holistic approach to rules and regulations, allowing people to trade safely and ethically, but also without feeling burdened.