A high level of competition in an ever-more globalized economy makes it tough for a business to stand out from the crowd and establish itself as an industry player. You have to be creative with marketing and management, and be backed up by an honestly great product. But before you can even begin to think about rising above the noise, you need a foundation to stand on.
Compliance is that foundation, meant to bring your operations in line with regulations and standards that solidify your reputation as a trustworthy brand and free you up to focus on growing your business instead of doing damage control. Simply put, compliance is that process of reviewing your business operations and then making sure they fulfill various legal conditions and industry best practices.
Every business needs to deal with some, if not a lot of, regulation – and it’s easy to get frustrated. Of course you don’t want your customers, the environment or your own business to be unprotected, but regulation can slow down your progress towards realizing your goals and dreams, especially if you don’t fully understand them.
And no one would blame you for not having a good grasp on regulation; there are dozens you’re expected to comply with at once and each one is complicated in its own way. We also shouldn’t be too quick to judge legislators and regulators, however – it’s tough to translate the ideals and theory behind regulation into a practical framework that offers protection while also giving you the flexibility to succeed.
The consequences of failing to meet regulations, however, are not something you ever want to deal with. Lawsuits, fines, longer sale cycles and profit loss are just a few of the problems that could result – and catch you quite by surprise – if you aren’t keeping regulations in mind. Dealing with these kinds of issues repeatedly could be a death-blow for business. To make matters worse, regulations are occasionally updated and changed while new ones emerge regularly, requiring that you be on the ball and adapt along with it.
On the less legally-binding side of things, you want your business to meet industry standards and best practices like ISO 27001 and PCI DSS. But, if this isn’t a legal requirement, what’s the benefit of achieving compliance with standards like these?
Think of it this way: You are interviewing candidates for a new position in your company. One of them says he studied a relevant topic in university, but can’t produce a diploma. Do you trust him? Probably less than if you were able to hold that diploma in your hands.
But meeting industry standards is even more important, since they tell clients and potential business partners that are you conducting business in a responsible, safe and trustworthy manner. Do you want to maintain and grow those relationships? Then it’s best to get familiar with the relevant standards and practices.
But regulations and standards don’t just keep you out of trouble, they often outline the best way forward for your business to keep you solvent and growing. Instead of seeing regulations and standards as a drag, use them as a framework – guidelines to show you the way forward when you aren’t so sure of yourself.
Now you face the dilemma of how best to achieve compliance. How do you keep up with all the changes and finer points that you might misunderstand or miss altogether? Well, the answer is that you can’t shoulder all the responsibility yourself. If you want to protect yourself from disruption and use regulations and standards as a helpful tool to your own development, you need to include experts who know the ins and outs and can help you review your business to achieve full compliance. From there, you can only go up!Share this on...