How can compliance help emerging and scale-up businesses to grow?

Clare Daley
November 18, 2022
5 min read
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How can compliance help emerging and scale-up businesses to grow?

For many CPG companies, compliance is seen as a ‘necessary evil’.

Essential for meeting legal requirements, but not always conducive to growth. And for emerging and scale-up businesses, employing someone to manage regulation can be a major expense.

But product compliance doesn’t have to burden growing brands – quite the opposite!

Making legislatively-minded decisions early on can help your brand to manage compliance challenges quicker, supporting rapid innovation and creating products that work in multiple consumer markets. The key to achieving this setup is working with regulation experts that understand the consumer packaged goods environment, who can help your business to make effective decisions throughout the product lifecycle.

Compliance exists to support growth – not obstruct it!

Regulation has a reputation for getting in the way of product innovation; so many businesses believe that investing in compliance expertise will slow down their growth trajectory. But this shouldn’t be the case!

Contrary to popular belief, compliance experts don’t want to be obstructive or hold up progress. Actually, taking a moment to consider the legislative consequences of decisions can speed up the pace of innovation. It’s quicker to get things right the first time than to go back and rework product composition, packaging or marketing decisions further down the line. Which will ultimately help your business to grow and scale faster.

The goal of a compliance specialist – whether they’re in-house or an external compliance agency like Hooley Brown – is to develop processes that lead to consistent and reliable outputs. This could relate to the ingredients you’re including in a product, or the messaging statements you’re using on your packaging and in product marketing. Both areas need to be considered.

Keeping a clear record is critical to validate the decisions you’re making about your products and packaging, and to prove your goods and the content being used to promote them meet industry standards in your chosen markets.

Taking the regulatory burden off your hands

We’ve just mentioned the importance of documentation in running a compliant business – and that’s where regulatory experts lend practical support.

A compliance specialist will help your business to track progress by facilitating data collection, processing and analysing critical information, and keeping records, to establish a clear audit trail.

For emerging and scale-up businesses, this type of support is highly valuable as it takes much of the regulatory burden off your hands, so you can focus on sales and distribution. The challenge is finding a compliance expert that understands the wider context of what you’re trying to achieve, so legal decisions don’t dilute your proposition.

Contract manufacturers can offer some regulatory support, but they’re a step removed from the market – so they’re less concerned with whether one recipe or formula will work globally, or if you’ll need to change your product composition when launching into a new market. They may also only have regional or national experience, rather than the international expertise you need.

Investing in specialist CPG compliance support – for example, working with a compliance agency – delivers more comprehensive expertise. A good agency will supplement your manufacturer’s knowledge by providing the critical market data needed to approve manufacturers. And they’ll also give you the insight needed to reduce your reliance on a single manufacturer, to accelerate range building.

Providing support throughout the product lifecycle

Many brands see the value of bringing in consumer-focused compliance at the ideation stage. But stronger compliance support can add value at every stage in the product lifecycle, to help emerging and scale-up brands grow quicker.

For example, during product development, a compliance expert can support your business with:

  • Concept validation – analysing the compliance of new product propositions, calculating associated costs and advising on the legal implications of product recipes or formulas –  suggesting suitable alternatives to meet global regulatory requirements.
  • Compliance roadmaps – creating plans for meeting local and import regulation procedures such as trademark applications, organic accreditation and product registration.
  • Go-to-market legal documentation – developing product specification documents for each product line, along with capturing and documenting legal/safety information such as shelf life, stability, allergens, sources and suppliers.
  • Substantiating product claims – conceptualising product claims and collecting evidence to validate them.

Once you’re ready to go into production, compliance experts can help you sell at scale as quickly as possible – without compromising on product quality:

  • Manufacturer liaison – working with your manufacturing partners to ensure any recipe/ingredient changes made during ideation can be incorporated into product specifications.
  • Product and packaging localisation – adapting recipes for international markets and optimising packaging design/artwork for international or multi-language content (a select number of compliance agencies can also create and translate labels/packaging copy in line with industry and market legislation).

And for established products, regulatory experts can support you with recipe updates and refreshes, to maintain a compliant position as your brand evolves. They can also help you to research new market opportunities and develop suggestions for expanding your product range internationally.

Finding the right compliance support for your business

Hopefully, by this point, you can see the value that compliance investment can deliver for your business growth strategy. But there’s still one point left to discuss: budget.

Emerging and scale-up businesses tend to run lean, and employing a full-time Chief Regulatory Officer or Regulatory Affairs Manager has a substantial price tag.  For many growing CPG companies, a cost-effective alternative is to enlist the services of a brand compliance agency, which can offer targeted support and expertise to ensure effective product regulation.

Even if your business has a Chief Regulation Officer or Regulatory Affairs Manager, an external agency can support them with managing new markets and product ranges – filling in knowledge gaps regarding local and international regulations.

The benefit of outsourcing compliance to a specialist agency is that they take on responsibility for getting your business into a compliant position; they can assemble the experts needed to reach your goals. And they can either work within your business short-term to solve a targeted problem or provide ongoing services to make compliance an ingrained part of your company culture.

However you choose to manage product regulation, it’s important that your business views compliance as an important and effective piece of the innovation puzzle. Understanding the legal impact of the early decisions you make will facilitate faster product development and manufacturing – and create products that will resonate in all your target markets.

Hooley Brown is a specialist compliance and localisation agency, empowering CPG brands to launch and grow innovative products that meet market legislation. We provide a single, reliable source of regulatory intelligence to ensure you’re meeting customer needs in every market.

Whether you’re looking for short-term expertise or support throughout your product lifecycle, Hooley Brown can help you reach your goals quicker. Get in touch to find out more.

This blog post was written in November 2022. Facts were correct at the time of writing.

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