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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 corporate governance 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 business 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 receivable, 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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