You have everything it takes to be an entrepreneur – a great idea, dedication, motivation and maybe even a little perspiration. But, what do you do next? Setting up a business is a project that can be done, but there are a lot of details to consider first. Whether you’re in the idea phase or you’ve already launched your business, here are our top 10 tips to help you when you’re just starting out. Elbow grease sold separately.
1. Conduct a market study
The most important thing in succeeding with a new business is to make sure there’s a demand for your skills and services. Doing some market research lets you see how you should position yourself against the competition, and it will help you and your backers decide whether your project is viable.
2. Think location, location, location!
Carefully consider where you want to set up shop. Think about your target audience: What are their habits? Where do they shop? Where do they live, work and play? All of those factors play into your choice. You need to be visible for your current customers and readily accessible for potential customers who just might want to swing by.
3. Determine structure and format
To start off, you have to register your business. But before you do that, you have to come up with a name. Think about your brand. Consider something that captures the essence of your business – something that makes you unique or something that conveys what you offer. This is what your customers will remember you by, so once you have some top contenders, conduct a survey. Run the names by your close family members and friends to get their feedback. When you’ve made your final decision, consider commissioning a logo design so you can use it for your signage, website and collateral material.
4. Draw up a business plan
A comprehensive business plan includes your financial and service goals, deadlines and budget. Your plan should give you a practical overview of what to expect, including the investment in equipment you need to make, as well as the number of clients you need to service in order to receive a decent wage. You may need help from an accountant for this stage of planning.
5. Secure business permits and licences
It’s important to find out about the permits and licences you might need to operate your business. That will depend on where you live. If you decide to start your business in your basement or garage, for example, you should find out which regulations apply.
6. Ask about taxes
Inquire about taxes payable at the provincial, federal and municipal levels. Don’t forget that you have to register to get a business number, which serves as identification for your business and your tax account. The taxes you pay depend on your location, the products and services you offer, the amount of income you receive, and whether you employ people.
7. Figure out your financing
There is no way around it: sometimes you need capital to start your business. Before you visit your bank’s commercial loans officer, thoroughly prepare your application. Occasionally there are startup funds available at the provincial level and at the federal level through Canada Business Network. Ask about grants and other kinds of financial support available to new entrepreneurs.
8. Evaluate inventory and suppliers
If you sell products, study the various suppliers and calculate the cost of storage to satisfy the customers’ demand.
9. Purchase insurance
Your business is not immune to fire or burglary. Shop around for the best insurance package available.
10. Be strategic about advertising
One of the most important things when starting your own business is getting your name out there. The possibilities for promotion are endless. Again, it’s important to consider your target audience. When looking for a business like yours, where would your potential customers look? That’s the key to finding out what marketing solutions are best for you. Consider getting support from marketing specialists, who will help you optimize your visibility with online, mobile or print solutions. Advertising your business is best way to get more calls and more people walking through your doors.
Remember that starting a new business means doing business. And you don’t have to go at it alone. If you’re a master in your industry but you don’t have a head for business operations, call in a business consultant. The success of your company depends on the quality of service provided, so surround yourself with qualified employees and consultants. Although the challenges faced by businesses owners vary, one thing remains the same: the passion and devotion they have for running their business is unrivalled.