Entrepreneurs may have transactional and business lawyers to help them draft contracts. Yet as the business grows, leaders should also think about risks in the marketplace. They cannot live like an ostrich.
What does an ostrich do? Theory has it that an ostrich buries its head in the sand while in the presence of lions and hyenas; foolishly, the ostrich believes that if it cannot see the predator, the predator will not be able to devour the bird because the predator won’t see it either. That strategy doesn’t work out so well for the ostrich. And, it won’t work out so well for business owners or executives that try to ignore the threat of big government.
The best offense is a great defense, so invest in writing out the corporate story. Create messaging that details every aspect of the corporate strategy. Document everything from how the company processes incoming mail, to how the company attracts customers, to how the company sanitizes the bathroom, to how the company deals with complaints. The writing may seem tedious. Yet a written plan will demonstrate attention to detail, the kind of detail that lets investigators know the company takes compliance seriously. A compliance plan should protect the business and all team members.
To the extent possible, hire an attorney that specializes in white-collar crime. Task the attorney with assessing pertinent parts of the compliance manual. Business leaders protect themselves when they invest resources to show a commitment to comply with laws and regulations. Such an investment may open opportunities for leniency, deferred-prosecution agreements, or non-prosecution agreements in the unfortunate event that a government investigation begins.
The best chance to negotiate for leniency is before investigators bring charges. If a business gets appropriate counsel, leaders may minimize disruptions that could obliterate the business, and lead team members to prison.