Every year, thousands of new businesses open – and a lot of them don’t survive their first year. It’s hard work being an entrepreneur, but if you have the drive and determination to strike out on your own, here are some tips to help you on the road to success.
- Follow your dream
Being passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated is crucial to business success. Assess your interests, skills and knowledge, and develop a business that fascinates you and demands all of your talent.
No matter the business, the first step is to do your homework. Research the industry and investigate the competition. Industry Canada is a great place to start. The more you know, the better your chance for success.
- Choose an organizational structure
You’ll need to decide whether to organize your business as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited or incorporated company, or a co-operative. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and your choice will be determined by the number of people involved, your business type, tax issues, liability concerns, and the financial requirements of the company. A lawyer can help you make this decision, and an accountant can spell out the tax implications of each structure.
- Name your business
Your company name has a way of becoming your identity, so this is important. Try for something short, memorable, and descriptive. Make sure your name doesn’t conflict with an existing trademark or someone else’s intellectual property. If a web presence is important for your business, check to see if your desired domain name is available.
- Blueprint for success
You need a plan for your business to thrive. Writing a business plan is challenging and time-consuming, but very worthwhile. A typical plan includes an executive summary, a description of the business and its products or services, a marketing strategy, an operations plan, financial data and projections, a management description and analysis of the market, the competition and the risk involved.
- Location, location, location
The right location matters – even with the internet – especially if you’re planning a storefront or retail operation. Most local governments can give you a demographics package, local population projections and information about future development plans. Evaluate and compare different sites before making a decision.
- Money, money, money
Raising the money to start a new business is almost always the most difficult part. The equity in your business is the amount of money you have invested personally. Debt financing is also something to look at and Affinity offers an array of options.
The federal government’s Canada Small Business Financing Program may also be able to help you get started.
- Make it legal
You may need licenses and permits for your business. Get them. In some cases, it's as simple as paying a licensing fee, but you may need to comply with certain regulations. Canada Business can help you find out what you need.
Look into a business owner's policy that includes, at the very minimum, property, liability and business interruption coverage.
- Work, work, work
A small business takes a ton of work. You need to be 100% committed to your new business because you’ll be investing a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money into it. Address any doubts or hesitations you have before you take the plunge.
- Lean on the experts
There are plenty of experts out there who can help your business succeed. Accountants, lawyers and other professionals can be expensive, but they can also be a worthwhile investment – saving you time and money in the long run. Learn as much from them as you can.
If you’d like to learn a little more about entrepreneurship and the money to make it happen, call our Contact Centre at 1.866.863.6237.