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What is a Tattoo Business?
A tattoo artist is a type of professional artist who creates permanent images, words or symbols on a person’s skin.
Tattoos are one of the oldest art forms, with evidence of tattoos dating back more than 5,000 years. Tattoos can be done for decorative purposes, or in some cultures for religious purposes or as a symbol of a person’s status.
Tattoos are done by injecting ink under the surface of the skin using a small needle. Tattoos can range significantly in size, style, design and colour.
Many tattoo artists specialise in a specific style of tattooing, such as:
- New school.
- Japanese Irezumi.
- Stick and poke.
Many tattoo businesses usually have a gallery of existing images and designs for customers to choose from. You could also offer custom tattoos or allow your customers to provide their own designs.
When creating your tattoos, you will usually first transfer an outline of the design onto your customer’s skin. This allows the customer to see the placement of the tattoo and gives you a guide from which to begin the tattooing process. You will begin with the outline of the tattoo before adding any shading, colouring or detail. You may need to use different sized needles for different parts of the tattoo.
Some of the daily duties you will likely need to fulfil as part of your tattoo business include:
- Creating new designs.
- Researching and keeping up to date with new tattoo styles and trends.
- Ordering and replenishing tattoo equipment.
- Cleaning and sterilising tattoo equipment, work areas and the tattoo studio.
- Meeting with customers.
- Handling appointments.
- Designing and applying tattoos.
- Cleaning, wrapping or covering tattoos, if necessary.
- Handling payments.
- Educating customers on correct tattoo aftercare.
- Ensuring health and safety procedures are followed at all times.
- Advertising and marketing.
There are several different ways you can set up a tattoo business; you can choose to:
- Open a tattoo studio with you as the sole tattoo artist.
- Open a tattoo studio and hire other tattoo artists.
- Work as a freelance tattoo artist in an already existing studio.
- Run a mobile or at-home tattoo business.
If you are thinking of starting up a tattoo business, there are some skills and traits you will need to have. You will need to be artistic with a flair for design and creativity. You will also need a steady hand, patience and great attention to detail.
To make your business succeed, you will also need to have a flair for business and good advertising and marketing strategies.
Types of Customers
Although tattoos are most often associated with younger people or bikers, in fact, people of all demographics visit tattoo studios.
Tattoo customers choose specific tattoo studios for different reasons.
Some of the factors that may influence the typical customers who attend your business include:
Your business name, logo and the aesthetic and design of your shop will all influence your customer base. Some customers will be attracted to studios that look dark, mysterious and edgy, whereas others would prefer a shop that looks bright, clean and stylish.
Your style of tattooing:
This will be one of the biggest influences on your typical customer base. Many potential customers will already have a tattoo idea in mind when they visit your business. The style of tattoos you specialise in will impact which customers choose your tattoo studio.
Your advertising and marketing strategy:
How you opt to advertise and market your business can impact the potential customers you reach. For example, you will reach different customers if you advertise on social media, compared to if you use flyers as your main form of advertising. To reach more customers, you could also attend tattoo conventions and other events in your area.
Equipment You Will Need
Equipment is an essential part of a tattoo business. You will need to purchase the equipment before your business begins operating and much of it will need to be replenished regularly.
Your equipment requirements will vary depending on the type of tattoo business you set up. For example, if you are a freelancer in an already existing tattoo studio, you will likely not need to purchase any furniture. You should therefore consider the type of business you will run and your business plan when determining which equipment you require.
Some of the equipment your tattoo business may need is listed below.
You will need multiple different types of equipment for tattooing including:
- Tattoo machines (sometimes called tattoo guns) – You may need a minimum of three machines: one for lines, one for colour, and one for black and grey shading. Machines can be made out of light materials, such as aluminium or steel, or heavy materials such as copper or iron.
- Needles and cartridges of different sizes – Different sized needles are required for different sizes and styles of tattoos. Finer lines require a thinner needle.
- Ink in a variety of different colours and shades.
- Tattoo grips – These provide extra cushioning and make it much easier for you to grip the needles and steady your hand, especially if you are tattooing intricate designs or for a long period of time.
- Tattoo tips – You will need round tips, diamond tips, flat tips and magnum tips depending on the types of lines you are tattooing:
– Diamond tips are used for thin, straight lines.
– Round tips are used for thicker lines.
– Flat tips are ideal for shading or making neater lines.
– Magnum tips are used for larger areas, blending and shading.
- A cover bag for your machine.
- Ink bottles and containers.
- Tattoo parts and power supplies, such as a power unit, a footswitch and a spring clipboard.
Medical and sterilisation equipment:
This type of equipment will help you keep your equipment and your tattoo studio sterilised and clean at all times. You will also need some of the equipment for cleaning the area before you begin tattooing and for tattoo aftercare.
Some of the medical and sterilisation equipment you may need includes:
- Disinfectant wipes.
- Antiseptic creams.
- Surface disinfectant.
- Cleaning brushes.
- Adhesive tapes and dressings.
- Paper towels.
- Ultrasonic cleaners and cleaning solutions.
- Tattoo aftercare creams.
- Sterile ointment.
Tattoo studio furnishings:
You will need to furnish your tattoo studio with all the appropriate furnishings and equipment to allow you to run your tattoo business. Your furnishings should be clean, in good working order and in fitting with your business’s aesthetic.
Some of the furniture you may require in your studio includes:
- Sinks with clean, running water.
- Tattoo beds and chairs.
- Magnifying lamps with attached lights.
- Stools or chairs for the tattooists.
- Sofa or chairs for the waiting area.
- A desk and chair for the reception area.
- A till and Point of Sale (POS) system.
- Disposable razors (all hair will need to be removed from the area before tattooing).
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including latex gloves and aprons.
- Display pictures of previous work.
- Display folders of previous work.
- Needle trays.
- Medical waste bins.
- Cover sheets for the tattoo chair and bed and the headrest.
- Numbing cream.
- Tongue depressors.
- Medical scissors.
- Organisation trolleys – To keep all of your equipment together and organised.
- A vehicle (if you run a mobile business).
- A fully stocked first aid kit.
Being aware of the typical costs associated with setting up and running a tattoo business can help you to better plan your business and maximise your profits.
Some of the typical costs associated with a tattoo business include:
A full set of tattoo equipment usually costs between £500 and £3,000. The more equipment you require and the higher the specification of the equipment, the more money you can expect to pay. If you need to furnish your tattoo studio and purchase tattoo beds and chairs, you can expect to pay an additional £2,000–£10,000.
A tattoo studio
This will likely be your biggest expenditure. You will likely rent your studio on a monthly or annual basis. Rental prices will vary significantly, with city-centre locations typically having the highest prices. Prices will also vary depending on the size of the studio. Rental costs are often calculated per square metre. They can range significantly, from £500 to £15,000 per square metre annually.
Renovation and refurbishment
You will likely need to renovate or refurbish your premises to fit your business aesthetic and make it fit for purpose. Your studio should be attractive to your customers, easy to clean and have appropriate spacing for the tattooing areas. Renovation costs can vary, depending on the level and scale of work required.
Replenishing equipment and stock
Much of the equipment that you use such as the needles, latex gloves and disposable cleaning materials can only be used once, meaning these will need to be replenished regularly. You will also need to make sure you have enough ink and the other equipment you will need to conduct your business. You will likely need to make monthly orders to replenish your equipment.
Branding can help you to establish your tattoo business’s identity and help your business to stand out from any local competition. Branding could include creating your business’s visual identity, a logo, your business name, your business website and the design and aesthetic of your studio. You can hire a professional to help you with branding or do some of the work yourself. Branding can cost between £500 and £10,000, depending on the amount of branding you require.
Advertising and marketing
Advertising and marketing are essential ways to attract clients and grow your business. It is recommended that you spend between 1% and 3% of your annual turnover on marketing. For example, if your annual turnover is £100,000, it is recommended you spend between £1,000 and £3,000 per year on marketing. You may need to invest more money in advertising and marketing when you first set up your business, in order to ensure your business is well-known and potential clients are aware of you. You may be able to save on your advertising costs by advertising online via social media. This could include advertising on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok.
These are the everyday costs associated with running your tattoo business. Most of these costs will be paid monthly, although some will be paid annually. Your running costs could include your overhead costs such as electricity, gas and water. If you keep the running costs as low as possible, this can help to maximise your profits.
You may initially operate your business independently and then hire staff as your business grows. You could hire staff as permanent employees or as independent freelancers. If you hire staff permanently, you will need to pay them at least the national minimum wage of £9.50 per hour and account for other expenses such as holiday pay, sick pay and maternity/paternity pay. Alternatively, you can hire them as freelance tattoo artists and take a cut of their profits or charge them a flat fee.
Some of the insurance you may need for your tattoo business includes:
- Employers’ Liability Insurance
- Professional Liability Insurance
- Treatment Risk Insurance
- Contents Coverage
- Income Protection Insurance
- Design and Copyright Infringement
Insurance prices start at £10 per month, depending on your insurance provider and the level of coverage you need.
Once you have determined the costs associated with your tattoo business, you can then determine your pricing policy. You can choose whether to charge customers per tattoo or per hour.
Your pricing policy will depend on several factors:
- Your experience.
- Your location.
- The style and design of the tattoos.
- Your reputation.
Tattoo artists in the UK tend to charge between £50 and £150 per hour, although in-demand tattoo artists tend to charge higher rates.
Safely Running a Tattoo Business
A tattoo business can be a high-risk business with the potential for injury, unsafe practices or even the transmission of infections or diseases.
Ensuring safe practices is therefore essential. Some ways you can safely run your tattoo business include:
Protect against diseases and infections
As you will be dealing with blood, it is important you protect yourself and all of your customers from potentially dangerous pathogens and diseases that can be transferred through blood and other bodily fluids. This includes discarding needles after every customer and sterilising all tattooing equipment thoroughly.
Educate clients in proper tattoo aftercare
Ensuring proper tattoo aftercare is a great way of ensuring the health and safety of your customers. Before beginning the tattoo and during the tattoo process you will need to ensure the area remains clean. You should also educate your customers on the importance of cleaning the tattoo regularly to prevent infection and encourage healing, and keeping it moisturised. Ensure you recommend the correct moisturiser or ointment depending on the type of ink you use and where the tattoo is located.
Ensure furnishings and flooring is easy to clean
All furnishings and flooring should be made of a wipe-clean material. Ensuring they are resistant to liquid, such as bodily fluid, can make them much easier to clean and result in better hygienic practices. You should also cover the tattoo beds and chairs with a disposable covering that is changed between clients.
Implement cleaning policies and procedures
Strict cleaning procedures must be in place in your tattoo studio. This includes cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising all equipment and surfaces and employing ultrasonication cleaning techniques. You should clean between every customer and then perform an intensive clean at regular intervals, such as every day. If you hire any other tattoo artists or other members of staff, you must also ensure they are following your cleaning procedures.
Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Some of the PPE you may require include latex gloves, arm coverings, face masks, protective aprons, protective footwear and eye protection. Some PPE, such as your gloves, will need to be changed between every customer.
Employ an air-filtration system
A good filtration system can reduce the number of airborne microorganisms and germs in your studio. It can reduce the spread of infection and keep your tattoo studio safe.
Implement handwashing policies
Germs and bacteria spread very easily on hands. Even if you wear gloves, correct handwashing procedures can help protect the health and safety of everyone who visits your tattoo business.
Appoint trained first-aiders
All tattoo businesses must have an appointed first-aider on the premises at all times. In the event of an accident or injury, you will then be able to administer the necessary first aid. Although a first aid qualification or certificate is not legally required, it is the easiest way to demonstrate your first aid training.
Pay attention to use-by dates
Many people think that use-by and best before dates only apply to food. However, inks, creams, ointments and other products all have dates that you must pay attention to. Check the date before using any products and never use products that are out of date.
Ensure good lighting
Poor lighting can be potentially hazardous when tattooing. If you do not have complete and clear vision of the area and a good view of the tattoo and your machine, you may nick the skin, do the tattoo incorrectly or cause an injury. Ideally, you should aim for a good mix of natural and artificial light. If this is not possible, ensure the artificial light gives you a good enough view.
Protect staff from abusive or threatening behaviour
As the business owner, it is your responsibility to protect your staff from threats or abuse. Implement procedures for dealing with threatening behaviour, record any incidents and ensure you support your staff as much as possible.
Keep dangerous objects away from customers
This includes tattoo equipment, needles and cleaning products. Any potentially dangerous objects should be kept out of the reach of customers, and where possible in separate rooms.
Implement security measures
Security measures can help protect your business from potential break-ins or protect you if a customer accuses you of causing an injury or not protecting their safety. Install a CCTV system and ensure your studio is properly secured when you are not on site.
Carry out risk assessments
You should identify any potential hazards and risks in your business and how these can be reduced or eliminated.
As part of your risk assessment, you should:
- Identify hazards.
- Determine who could be at risk.
- Evaluate any potential risks.
- Implement relevant safety measures.
- Record the results of the risk assessment.
- Review the risk assessment regularly.
Complying with all legal requirements is essential when setting up and running your tattoo business.
Some legal requirements you should be aware of include:
Register with your local Environmental Health department
All tattoo artists in the UK must register with the Environmental Health department of their local authority. As part of your registration, you will need to undergo an inspection. Once your registration has been approved, you must display your registration certificate visibly on your premises. You will then undergo regular inspections in order to maintain your registration.
Comply with the Tattooing of Minors Act (1969)
Tattoos are prohibited in people below 18 years of age in the UK. Ensure your business is complying with this Act by asking for a form of photo ID before agreeing to give a tattoo.
Comply with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998
These regulations apply to you and any other employees or freelance tattoo artists who use tattooing equipment. You must ensure the equipment is fit for purpose, is maintained and inspected regularly, that health and safety risks are minimised to an acceptable level, that you have the correct knowledge and training to use the equipment, and that protective measures are put into place. You must also ensure the equipment is used under appropriate conditions.
Comply with the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (1992)
Under these regulations, if your business has five or more employees you must ensure you conduct appropriate risk assessments, minimise any risks and maintain all equipment. Under the regulations, you (the business owner) must ensure correct ventilation, room temperature and lighting are maintained in your studio at all times. You must also make sure high levels of cleanliness are maintained and you have appropriate spacing.
Comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations
The COSHH regulations state that you must control any substances that are potentially hazardous. You should also assess, control and reduce any risks or potential hazards and protect people from harm. This could include chemicals in the ink, sterilising materials and any other substances you use as part of your business.
Comply with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013
RIDDOR states that you must report all injuries, diseases and dangerous events that occur when your business is operating. Reports must be made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) using an appropriate recording document.
Comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992)
Manual handling is an inevitable part of tattooing. The strain on your fingers, hands, wrists and arm could result in pain or injury. Following manual handling regulations can help to protect you and your employees from sustaining an injury or illness as a result of manual handling tasks.
Comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (DPA)
You must comply with both pieces of legislation when storing or sharing personal information, such as your customers’ contact details. You must also apply for a Notification to Process Personal Data Licence. If you use a CCTV system or process personal information such as payroll information or customer accounts and records, you will need to apply for a licence with the Information Commissioner’s Office and renew your registration every year.
Be aware of copyright infringement laws
If you copy another artist’s design or work, you could be infringing on copyright laws. Ensure you do not knowingly copy anyone’s work and register your own work with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to prevent it from being copied by another tattoo artist.
Dispose of waste appropriately
Some of your business’s waste will be classified as clinical or hazardous waste. This includes needles, materials containing blood or other bodily fluid and disposable gloves. This waste must be disposed of by a registered, authorised waste carrier. Contact your local Environmental Health department for more details.
Implement health and safety policies and fire safety procedures
All businesses should have health and safety policies that help to manage health and safety in your business. They protect the health and safety of you, your customers and your business. You are also responsible for fire safety on your premises (if relevant). This could include conducting fire risk assessments and implementing fire safety measures and emergency procedures.
Register your business
You must register your business with HMRC before you begin operating. You can register as a sole trader or as a limited company. You will need to register your business name and any other relevant information.
Register for self-assessment tax
This allows you to calculate and pay your own taxes each year. You will need to track your finances every month and submit any expenses as part of your tax assessment.
Positives of Owning a Tattoo Business
Owning a tattoo business can be extremely rewarding in many ways.
Some of the main pros associated with this type of business are:
Be part of a great community
The tattoo community is very close-knit and can be a great community to be part of. You will likely create connections with other studios, tattoo artists and even tattoo lovers. People within the tattoo community frequently inspire each other and teach each other new techniques and styles.
Do what you love
Tattoo artists are usually passionate artists and love their work. You can create beautiful artwork and design your own art and apply it to your customers’ bodies forever. If you love being artistic and tattoos, running a tattoo business is a great career choice.
Create your own schedule
As the business owner, you can choose which days of the week to work, your working hours and when you are going to take holiday. You will have the complete freedom to design your schedule. You can choose how little or often to work.
Seeing your artwork on other people’s skin and seeing your customers’ satisfaction can be extremely rewarding. Doing what you love for a profit is extremely rewarding. Many tattoo artists consider tattooing a vocation.
Design your dream business
Regardless of what type of tattoo business you choose to open, you can design your perfect business. This includes the style of tattoos you offer, your pricing, your business aesthetic, and your branding.
A positive work environment
A tattoo studio can be a great place to work. You will likely be working with other tattoo artists who will all bring something different to the studio. You will also be sitting with your customers for hours at a time, giving you the chance to chat and really get to know them.
Once people find a tattoo artist that they like, they usually use the same artist or studio every time. This repeat business is not only flattering but is also great for your business growth. Satisfied customers may also recommend you to friends and family or to people online.
Few start-up costs
Compared to many other businesses; a tattoo business is a relatively low-cost enterprise. You can increase the amount of equipment you have as your profits grow and start with just the basic equipment. You could even begin by operating a mobile or at-home business and then open a tattoo studio once your business has grown and you have more expendable income.
No qualifications required
You won’t need any specific qualifications to set up a tattoo business. What is most important is your creativity and a steady hand, although previous experience will also be beneficial.
Pick and choose your clientele
You will have the power to accept or decline any potential customers. If a potential customer seems difficult, or you don’t think the type of tattoo they want plays to your strengths, you can decline to work with them and recommend them another artist instead.
You can offer a personalised customer experience
You can offer customer consultations where you discuss what your customer wants and offer advice and insight. Your customer will receive a personalised experience and the possibility for you to design them an individual tattoo. With a personalised experience, the customer is more likely to be more satisfied with your service and recommend you to their family and friends.
Gaining exposure as a tattoo artist is relatively easy, especially with the rise of social media. You can post your designs online and utilise platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to reach more people. Your customers may also tag your business in photos of their tattoos that they post online. Attending tattoo conventions is another great way to gain exposure.
Unlimited income potential
The more experience and exposure you gain, the higher prices you will be able to charge. If you find yourself consistently busy and have a waitlist, you can begin to charge premium prices. You can also increase your income by expanding your studio, hiring more staff or partnering with freelancers and opening other studios. A tattoo business can be extremely lucrative.
If you enjoy being around other people and connecting with new people, running a tattoo business can be extremely rewarding. Most of your day, every day, will be spent with other people and you can meet lots of people in your local community.
Negatives of Owning a Tattoo Business
However, there are some negative aspects of owning a tattoo business that you should be aware of:
Building your clientele can be difficult
Successful tattoo artists often spend years building up their client base. This could mean you initially receive less custom and earn a lower income. If you have invested a lot of money into your business and can’t initially make a profit, this could result in your business failing.
Your income can be inconsistent
Particularly in your first few years of operation, your business can have periods with less custom and you can experience a drop in your profits. The instability that can exist in the tattoo industry can have a detrimental impact on your finances, especially if you have consistent outgoings, such as rent and overhead costs to pay.
Most tattoo artists are busier at the weekend when most of their customers aren’t at work. Although this can mean more business at the weekend, it does mean you are working less sociable hours and miss out on important family and social events.
You may think you’ll get to sit down for a lot of the day but don’t underestimate the physical strain on your fingers, hands and wrists. You will need to keep the tattoo machine completely steady at all times to ensure you don’t make any mistakes and this can cause a lot of strain and even result in pain or injury. You may also experience neck and back pain or strain from leaning forward so much.
The possibility of making a mistake
No matter how skilled a tattoo artist you are, mistakes can always happen. Whether the mistake is through your error, the customer moving or something out of your control, mistakes will be on the customer’s skin forever and can have a negative impact on your business.
Tattooing can be a competitive industry, with there already being many established tattoo studios in the UK. If you have an already established, successful tattoo studio in your area, this can make it more difficult for your business to succeed.
It can be stressful
Not only is there a lot of pressure to get every tattoo perfect, but as the business owner, you will face the additional pressure of trying to make your business succeed. You will have a lot of important responsibilities, such as ensuring health and safety. As the business owner, you will also need to make sure the other tattoo artists are happy and that your customers are satisfied.
A tattoo business has many potential risks that could result in liability issues for you and your business. This could include employee accidents or injuries, the risks associated with using certain products and equipment, incorrect tattoos or mistakes and the risks of causing injury to your clients. Not only can this be stressful, but it can also be detrimental to your business.
High time commitment
Tattoo businesses are often more popular in the evening and on weekends. This could result in you working unsociable hours. You also need to factor in the time you will need to spend on administrative duties, ordering equipment, cleaning, and advertising and marketing. Running your tattoo business can be time-consuming.
High risk of your business failing
Starting up a tattoo business can be risky. Many new businesses fail which could result in you losing money or getting into debt. Your business could fail for several reasons, such as high local competition, an ineffective business plan or if the UK encounters another recession or period of financial difficulty.
As you are self-employed, you won’t receive benefits such as pension contributions. You will also be responsible for doing your own taxes and organising your National Insurance contributions.
Planning Your Tattoo Business
An effective and well-designed business plan is an essential tool when setting up your tattoo business.
Your business plan should include data such as:
- Your company information.
- Your company description.
- The services you will provide.
- Your branding, marketing and advertising plan.
- The structure of your business.
- The operational plan for your business.
- The financial plan for your business.
When creating your business plan, you will need to make the following considerations:
Decide what style of tattoos to specialise in:
Consider your artistic strengths and your local competition when deciding what style of tattoos you will specialise in. Many people look for a specific style of tattoo when searching for a tattoo artist so the style of tattoos you offer can impact your customer base. If you prefer not to specialise, you can offer a variety of styles.
Decide what type of tattoo business you will set up:
Are you going to set up your own studio, work as a freelancer in an already established studio or work as a mobile or at-home tattooist? You can set up one type of business initially and change your business as your profits grow.
Determine your typical customer base:
Determining the types of customers you are likely to have can help you to plan your branding and your marketing and advertising strategies. Your typical customers can also influence your price points.
Consider your local competition:
What other tattoo businesses operate in your local area? Are there any businesses specialising in the same tattoo style as you? If so, consider their pricing, the services they offer, their branding, marketing and advertising strategies and what they do well.
Determine your equipment requirements:
Consult the list above to determine your equipment requirements. The equipment you require will depend on the type of tattoo business you run. The types of needles, ink and other equipment you purchase will also depend on the tattoo style you use. Once you have determined your equipment requirements, you can then calculate the initial costs of purchasing the equipment and the monthly replenishment costs.
Calculate your start-up costs and running costs:
Consult the list above to help you calculate the approximate costs of setting up and running your tattoo business. Estimate how much initial investment you require and when you are likely to start turning a profit. Calculating your start-up costs can help you determine whether you can finance the business yourself or whether you need to source outside investment. Creating your budget is an important step in your business plan.
Calculate your pricing policy:
There are several considerations you need to make in relation to pricing, such as:
- Will you charge by the hour or by piece?
- Will you charge different prices for black and colour tattoos?
- Will different styles of tattoos have different prices?
- Will you offer a discount if someone books multiple tattoos with you?
Determine your business objectives:
Your business objectives are crucial for creating a successful business plan. Your business objectives highlight the targets and goals of your tattoo business and help you to create a one-year, three-year and five-year business plan to help you grow your business.
Your business objectives should be SMART:
- S = Specific
- M = Measurable
- A = Achievable
- R = Realistic
- T = Time-bound
Check you have complied with all legal requirements:
Consult the list of legal requirements above to check you have complied with all requirements and regulations and that all your paperwork is accurate. Failure to comply with legal requirements could have a detrimental effect on your business or could result in a fine, the forced closure of your business or, in serious cases, prosecution.