People fantasize every day about what they would do if they owned their own business. They have grand plans for how their idea would change the industry. But far less people actually carry out these dreams and turn them into reality. 

While people often focus on what they perceive as the perks of being of a business owner — such as setting your own hours and being your own boss — they overlook the true scope of responsibilities. From the moment you hire your first employee and your business becomes a working entity, you are tasked with a host of requirements that you must meet. 

Safety comes first

Related: How To Hire Exceptional Employees

Keeping employees safe should rank as a top priority. Your work environment must meet federal regulations set forth by OSHA. All machinery must be in good working order and have the appropriate safety features. If you’re unsure about these, check with OSHA or the equipment manufacturers or dealers where you bought the equipment. 

Employees must be trained in how to safely operate machines and handle materials. If an accident does occur, you must report it to the authorities, follow protocol, and keep accurate records. 

Hiring practices

Related: Safety First: That Accident Cost How Much?

If your business has 15 or more employees, you must abide by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission laws, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that you cannot discriminate against applicants or employees based on: 

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Genetic information 

You must be willing to provide reasonable accommodations that allow them to perform the job. All hiring, firing, promotions, training and wages must follow these guidelines. You must offer everyone equal pay for equal work and give them the same opportunities to advance within their career. 

Sustainable business

Related: Safety First: Recording Injuries is a Key to Prevention

As the business owner, it is your responsibility to develop a sustainable business. This means that there is a consistent workload and it does not create undue hardships on employees because they are worried about losing their job or not having enough hours. They are able to focus on doing their job to the best of their ability, and as the employer, you have the funds to pay them accordingly for their work. 

Legal responsibilities

There are many legal responsibilities that come with owning a business. From obtaining the proper licenses and permits to keeping accurate documentation and paying taxes and fees, it can seem overwhelming. 

It is important to have a thorough understanding of exactly what is required so that you ensure you are abiding by the law. Hiring a legal consultant as well as a financial advisor or accountant can help you keep things under control. 

Building an effective team

To keep your company running smoothly, you need to build a strong team that has the ability to meet your diverse needs. Hiring employees and consultants that work in all aspects of the business, from finances and legal issues to customer service and sales, is very important. They will help to ensure that you are meeting requirements while continuing to grow and serve. 

Being a business owner requires a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment. You must look out for your own best interests, but also the best interests of your employees and customers. Though the legal responsibilities can seem overwhelming, don’t lose sight of the passion and inspiration that drove you to start your own business in the first place. 

About the Author

Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, Calif., and Dublin, Ireland. 

Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects and often engages in content and social media marketing, drafts resumes, press releases, Web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at

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