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There are a lot of hoops to jump through and regulations to follow when getting a business started. A lot of it is based on state and local laws, so there are differences depending on location. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re free and clear once your business is off the ground though. There are still regulatory agencies your business will have to comply with as it operates.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for protecting consumers from unfair business practices, deception, and fraud. They enforce federal protection and antitrust laws, the later of which help protect competition within the market. In general, as long as your business is honest and transparent in business deals and marketing, and doesn’t participate in anticompetitive mergers, you probably won’t need to worry about dealing with the FTC too much. Familiarize yourself with the FTC advertising guidelines to help your business stay in compliance.


If your business is involved in the food, cosmetic, or medical industries, you’ll need to maintain compliance with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA enforces Good Manufacturing Practices that relate to health and safety. Keep in mind that some products require premarket approval, while others do not but are still subject to FDA regulation and inspection. Products such as drugs for both humans and animals, food ingredients and additives, medical devices, human tissues and cells, and color additives belong in the first category. Compounded drugs, tobacco products, cosmetics, infant formulas, dietary supplements, and food labels belong in the second.


Most businesses will need to maintain compliance with OSHA regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for setting standards that protect the health and safety of the country’s workforce. Business owners who fail to comply with regulations can expect to see fines levied against them and may face jail time. There are some businesses that may be exempt from OSHA regulations, but considering the benefits of maintaining a safe environment at work, it’s a good idea to follow the standards regardless.

Maintaining compliance with regulatory agencies is an important, if sometimes tricky, part of operating a business. The FTC, FDA, and OSHA are just some examples of regulatory agencies you’ll be expected to answer to. Make sure you understand clearly which agencies you need to be in compliance with for your business so you can continue to operate without incurring penalties.

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