Anthony Palomba didn’t know about the “Business Permission to Operate If Clauses” when he started but he does now. He started Thakgnosis, which means “to know peace” but he hasn’t found time for that as a new business owner. The business is located in Austin, Texas, but it would have been the same no matter where he was. The Business “If Clause” is everywhere and affects all businesses of every size.
What is this nemesis? Who is this desperado, this spoiler, who steals the joy of business ownership? It’s all the other “stuff” that is required in order to do business besides providing products and services to customers. The biggest culprit: compliance.
The Business Permission to Operate If Clause is translated and understood to mean “you have our permission to do business here if you….” (fill in the blank). It can be costly — as much as $83, 019 in the first year and it doesn’t get better. Older businesses spend 40 hours on average dealing with federal regulations and another 40 on state and local regulations. Non-compliance is expensive averaging $30, 651 in fines. These figures come from the January 2017 Small Business Regulations Study conducted online by the National Small Business Association. This doesn’t even mention the other certifications, requirements, orders from industry and professional groups who also control permission. It may be correct to be a little skeptical about the figures (only 1000 survey respondents) but whatever they are, they certainly impact the attitude and behavior of business owners like Palomba.
The Business Permission If Clause has been around forever — since commerce began. It is what gives every business owner the permission or right to have a business in a community and serve its people. It goes by over twenty-eight different names and 160 times more when you translate those into the major languages of the world. The two most common names “rules” and “regulations”. (See list below.)
Business Permission If Clause 28+ Terms
• International Terms for all of the above
Over twenty-two different groups plus international groups by country, decide external governance — not just the local, state or federal government control that permission. (See list below.)
Governing Bodies Who Control or Influence the Business Permission to Operate If Clause
• Federal Legislature
• Licensing Agency
• Trade Association
• Professional Association
• Home Owners Associations
• Grant Providers
• Location owner/developer
• Council of Gov (COGs)
• Insurance Providers
• Financial Institutions
• International Agencies
• EU and other groups of countries who have agreements
• Individual Countries (not including the US)
Big Problem: Keeping Up with Business Permissions
The biggest problem for new owners as well as more experienced owners is keeping up with all those names and all those external governance permissions. It is a moving target but something to add to the MUST DO Task list.
There are some general realities about them that are worth repeating to all businesses:
- Laws remain on the books after no one follows them or believes them.
- Conflict in governance exists because there are conflicting rules.
- Probably two-thirds of proposed rules won’t apply to you — one third will — so you need to read them all to find that one third.
- Government rules originate from those who gain enough power to make the rule (citizens, Unions, countries, those with a lot to gain) not from those we elect; professional rules originate from leaders of the organization and their goals.
- You will have to make choices to obey or not based on your own ethics and moral perspective.
- You will be in violation at some point.
- You will have to pay the price of your decision to comply or not to comply.
- External governance is one of the hardest parts of being in business.
It’s easy in an election season to focus on the candidates and forget about what also matters to business — those neglected Propositions. Each one has the potential to become the next Business Permission to Operate If Clause because they affect your business, your workforce, your customers, and your community. Don’t do that. Do your homework. Pay attention to them and encourage others to really think about them before they vote.