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Complying With Government Regulations

Implementing Sarbox-style strategic governance changes can help small businesses woo---and win---more big customers.

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This story appears in the December 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Brent Longnecker didn't need to worry about complying with Sarbanes-Oxley to run his Houston-area consulting practice, which specializes in and executive compensation. As a private company with 15 employees, Longnecker & Associatesdoesn't generally have to answer to anyone except its customers. But given that it routinely doles out advice on corporate governance issues to its clients, the CEO thought it might be a good strategy to take a dose of his own medicine.

So during this past year, Longnecker implemented several governance changes. For example, where previously only one employee would review , accounts payable and other key financial data before sending a report to the boss, Longnecker now has three sets of eyes scour the numbers. He is also putting together a formal, paid advisory board. "Now," he says, "I can tell a prospective client what I'm doing from a standpoint of understanding and not from some ivory tower [strategy] I read in a book and want to make money on."

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