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Regulatory agencies: Be like a business, not bad for business

Find out the lessons regulatory agencies must learn from the businesses they regulate.


As the global economy struggles to get back on track, national, state and local governments are focused on growth and improving the environment for private sector innovation, investment and job creation. Licensing and regulatory agencies are under the spotlight more than ever to support economic growth by cutting red tape and becoming more business friendly.

Leading agencies are transforming their processes to create more efficient and business friendly operations that allow regulators to focus on the quality of regulatory policy instead of its administration and processing—supporting economic growth and delivering public service for the future.


Businesses generally understand the need for regulatory standards. It’s the inefficiency and confusion around compliance that compounds regulatory burden. They want licensing requirements and regulatory processes to be less heavy-handed—easier, faster, customer-focused and increasingly, like their own businesses, more digital.


Cutting unnecessary red tape is essential and progress is being made; the World Bank1 calculates that in 2012-13, 114 economies completed 238 business-friendly regulatory reforms—18 percent more than the previous year. However, there is much more to be done to make starting and running a business easier. In fact, the world’s business owners could save 45.4 million days a year on start-up requirements if regulators followed leading practices.


1. World Bank. 2013. Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises. Washington, DC: World Bank Group: DOI: 10.1596/978-0-8213-9984-2. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0.

With private sector approaches, regulators can help improve performance and meet the business community’s needs. Regulatory agencies must focus on:

  • Measurement

  • Technology

  • Interaction

  • Motivation

By tackling inefficiency, regulators can realize early wins that build on each other and, over time, create better relationships between business and government—delivering public service for the future.