With tax, labor, occupational, and safety requirements, small businesses bear an inordinate compliance burden. “They might spend more than $7,000 per employee for compliance,” says Nancy Sternberg, program manager of the Business Gateway Initiative, a federally funded program to help small businesses.

To help make things easier, the BGI and the Small Business Administration manage a one-stop federal compliance Web site, www.business.gov. “People recognize buzzwords, but they don't know where to go,” Sternberg says. “We pulled it all together.”

Relaunched in September 2006 after considering the recommendations from a survey of business customers, the site offers a sophisticated search engine and access to more than 20,000 links to federal business compliance information. Users can search by industry or keyword, coming up with fewer but more specific results than with a commercial search engine. There's a business resource library with state and local resource information, and the site is integrated with www.forms.gov, a catalog of electronic forms.