In this transcript, Clay Clark (U.S. Chamber National Blue Ribbon Quality Award Winner) and Wes Carter (Published attorney) discuss the importance of abiding by all state laws as a business coach on Thrive15.com, the best business sales training program.
Clay Clark: Wes Carter, how are you doing you beautiful business coach client?
Wes Carter: I’m well. How are you doing?
Clay Clark: I’m doing great. I’m feeling funky for a business coach. I’m feeling fresh. I’m feeling like I have an opportunity to connect with a legal eagle.
Wes Carter: Lucky you.
Clay Clark: Okay. Now here we go. We’re talking about the steps you need to take to ensure that you’re abiding by all state and federal regulations. Now that’s a broad, broad topic, but we have a Thriver who wants to know the business coach steps they can take to make sure they’re abiding by the state and federal regulations.
Wes Carter: Okay.
Clay Clark: Before we hop into it, all the Thrivers want to know, all the kids want to know, all the adults want to know, the men, the women, all the Samoans, all the Puerto Ricans, people in Canada, they all want to know, are you related to the NBA basketball player, the guy who first played at North Carolina, then he went on to play in the NBA, Vince Carter?
Wes Carter: I don’t think so.
Clay Clark: Okay, that’s interesting. Okay, now that we have that huge legal business coach risk out of the way, Wes, what are the basic steps that this Thriver in particular and all the Thrivers can take to make sure that they are abiding by all of the state, all of the state and federal regulations?
Wes Carter: It would be quite an accomplishment to abide by all of the state and federal regulations.
Clay Clark: Would you repeat that again?
Wes Carter: It would be quite the accomplishment to be able to abide by all of the regulations around the books. You can do your best. You strive for perfection, but chances are within your first five years you’re going to break about 100 business coach regulations.
Clay Clark: Can I give an example of something that I did?
Wes Carter: Sure.
Clay Clark: One that I didn’t know I was breaking the law and then one where I continue to break the law even though I knew it. One was I was in a build out in my building and I did not know it was violating a law, so I just built out a building. This was years ago in a very different building than this building. I’m over there building and as I’m building, one day I finished the building, I’m doing the best job I can, the team’s working, I’m just writing checks. I’m the check writer. People were building. A state inspector walks in and says that the kind of ceiling tile that we were using was perforated and it could not be perforated because of the potential fungi, E. coli, some sort of health code violation. Slaps a big sign on the door that says we cannot be in business because we are in violation of the health code. Thrive15.com offers sales training.
You could imagine what it would be like to have a business in the food industry with a big sign on that says “violation”. I called the guy. “Hey what’s going on?” Of course I get the voicemail, the voicemail, the guy who knows the guy, the guy who knows the guy. I finally got a hold of the guy after many voicemails, many days and he says, “Oh, the ceiling tiles are in violation of the city ordinances, so you’re going to need to pay a fine and you’ll need to fix that.” “Okay.”
Now I’ll give you an example where I have an attorney, I had a good attorney, it wasn’t you at the time, but I had an attorney and he was helping me out and he didn’t know, I didn’t know and I had to pay a fine.
Wes Carter: There’s rules for everything now. You just do your best to get started on solid ground and keep improving from there.
Clay Clark: Now, sometime, many years ago, back before I was educated and smart, Thrivers if you were to do this, legally we’re not taking any responsibility for this, this is just we’re just telling you some stories about what you can do and not do. I was doing another build out about the time I had this issue and I thought you know what I’m going to do, I’m going to call up to the city. I found out in the city that anything that had already been built in a building, you didn’t have to … When you moved into the building, you didn’t have to go pull a permit. You can just move in because it’s already existing.
I thought I’m just going to go ahead and build out the space and not tell anybody about it. I did that and I did just fine. Then I found out later that somebody had told the city that I was building without a permit and I paid a fine on that too. It seems like in one case I’m trying to do the right thing and in one case I was trying to not do the right thing, but in both cases I paid a fine, I learned a little bit and I just moved on.
Wes Carter: You focus on the ones that can kill your business, those are the laws that if you break them can incur dire consequences and then work your way down from there.
Clay Clark: You don’t want to launder money.
Wes Carter: Correct.
Clay Clark: Or get involved in a drug cartel.
Wes Carter: Correct.
Clay Clark: Or ship automatic weapons back and forth between cities and states. These are things you don’t want to do. These are major laws. If I am litigious and I am a little bit … I am a business coach Thriver and I say, “Gosh, I’m just worried sick. I’ve been up late at night and I wake up, I worry. The federal regulations and the state regulations are just … They’re overwhelming and I have some extra money. What can I do?” What should I do if I just want to have a complete sense of just …
Wes Carter: Your attorney or your legal team could make a laundry list for you if you give them the right information. With you, you had a good attorney, but you never thought, “I should ask my attorney what kind of ceiling tiles to put.”
Clay Clark: I did not ask him.
Wes Carter: We can give you a laundry list of the most common issues you’re going to run into, what kind of things you’re doing that will require a permit here, you need OSHA safety regulations here …
Clay Clark: I love OSHA.
Wes Carter: But all that is dependent on have you thought to ask the question or give us the information that would even trigger that question. You can do very good but again, unless you ask your attorney, “What kind of ceiling tiles should I put in my leasehold when I build it out,” you may miss something.
Clay Clark: Let’s ask you this question, this might be a good one. Let’s say I have a men’s grooming lounge, which I do, and I said, “Could you as an attorney come on to my property and do a deep dive where I pay you just to find any possible regulation I’m breaking,” what would that cost?
Wes Carter: It’s usually by the hour. There’s guys who or ladies who specialize in things like workplace safety. You can call the state to come out and they’ll do it for you.
Clay Clark: Yes, they will, they will.
Wes Carter: I would be hesitant probably to go down that road for free, but I would pay a contractor and an attorney to come in and probably a couple thousand dollars depending on how extensive the services are.
Clay Clark: Okay and this is stuff that you can do if that’s what you wanted to do. Wes, if I am starting a business and I want to get off to the right start and I really do want to make sure that I’m following the state and federal laws, what would you recommend that I do?
Wes Carter: I think the first thing is going to be sitting down with whoever your legal team is and saying, “Can you just give me … Give me an hour here, give me two hours, sit down, walk me through what I’m likely to run into.” Second one is if you have someone who’s in a similar business, the same business even better, maybe they’re in a different state, take them to dinner, go take a drive to see them and have them talk to you about what issues they ran into. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. If someone’s in a similar business or even just an entrepreneur in general, pick their brain because they’ve made some of these mistakes before and you can avoid them.
Clay Clark: Now third step I want to give you is that once you’ve done this, you’re going to have to just emotionally and mentally come to grips that at some point you’re going to violate some law accidentally. When you do, you just want to own it, find out what you did wrong, try to make it right, pay the fine, pay the fee, learn, chalk it up as a learning experience, that’s what you have to do.
Wes Carter: Yes.
Clay Clark: Wes, I appreciate you for being here and as always, I just really look forward to suing you, as a business coach…you know.
Wes Carter: I can’t wait.