In an effort to help small businesses adapt to new rules and regulations, the NYC Department of Small Business Services has reached out to small-business owners throughout the city.
At a recent interagency resource fair in Flushing, laundromat owner Tony Li expressed concerns over new rules and regulations that would affect his business operations. Li, who immigrated from China in 1996, runs WL Parsons, a laundromat he opened in 2016.
Li was able to speak to SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop about how the organization could help him navigate new rules and regulations in order to avoid potentially costly fines. Bishop put Li in contact with the SBS staff for assistance through SBS’s compliance consultations.
The consultations, which are free to business owners, consist of SBS staff members touring small businesses to look for any potential problem areas and coach them on proper compliance. In addition to preventing any fines, SBS said it would work with business owners that have already been assessed for a violation and help them understand and resolve the violations to avoid repeating the offenses.
To accommodate foreign-born New Yorkers, who account for nearly half of the city’s small-business owners, the SBS offers consultations in major languages spoken throughout the city, including Chinese.
According to the SBS, the consultants helped Li resolve violations by helping him better understand different NYC enforcement agencies’ rules and regulations. The SBS staff also helped Li overcome language barriers and learn how to respond to violations issued by inspectors.
Li said the compliance consultations left him with meaningful resources to avoid costly fines in the future.
“SBS has provided tremendous help to my business,” he said. “Staff from SBS provided fast response as well as assistance based on my need. Through the compliance adviser on-site consultation service, I have a better understanding regarding different New York City agencies’ rules and regulations, as well as the most common violations. I strongly recommend SBS services to all business owners, since all services SBS offers are free.”
Commissioner Bishop said he hopes SBS can continue to be an ally to small businesses in the city.
“Running a small business, while a labor of love, comes with added responsibilities that business owners do not have to face alone,” he said. “As an ally to the city’s small businesses, we’re helping business owners like Mr. Li better understand how to comply with the city’s rules and regulations to avoid potentially costly fines.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart
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