Starting a business comes with a lot of rules to follow, which means that understanding the appropriate regulations is critical. As a small business owner, it’s your job to make sure all your compliance ducks are in a row. Here’s a quick breakdown of small business regulations you should be aware of.

There are 32.5 million small businesses in the U.S.[1] and they come in all shapes, sizes and industries, from creative sole proprietorships to industrial warehouses with 1,000+ employees. Each company and industry has to meet specific requirements, and knowing yours can help you build a secure, successful business.

Annual Requirements

All businesses need to meet these requirements regularly every year, regardless of what industry they’re in. 

  • File federal and state taxes each year.
  • Pay estimated quarterly taxes.
  • Pay payroll tax if you have employees.
  • Send W-9s to independent contractors.

Depending on your company structure, there may be one-time, annual or ongoing internal regulations you have to follow to stay in business. Be sure to double-check the rules for the state you do business in.

Corporations (S-CORP, C-CORP)

  • Hold and record director and shareholder meetings.
  • Create and maintain bylaws.
  • Sell stock and record transfers.
  • File annual reports and financial statements.

Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs)

  • Create and update an operating agreement.
  • Issue membership shares.
  • Record all membership interest transfers.
  • Hold annual member meetings.

Sole proprietorship requirements vary by state.

You’re not done yet! Once you’ve met those basic business requirements, there are still industry standards to keep up with.

  • Maintain and update local business permits.
  • Stay on top of federal licenses.
  • Meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) compliance standards.
  • Follow health and safety rules.

Keeping Employees Safe

Sole proprietors don’t need to worry about this just yet. But if you’re building a team, there are a few regulations to look out for. 

  • Stay up to date with employee and labor laws.
  • Offer legally required employee benefits.
  • Support the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Make sure contractors meet employee status qualifications for your state.

Make Your Business Regulation-Proof

Staying compliant means researching your business type, industry, location and business model to make sure you’re following all the right rules. But you don’t have to do it alone. Hiring qualified professionals from the get-go, especially legal and tax experts, will help navigate the rules and regulations so you can keep your business on track.