Becoming an entrepreneur is a great idea, but the process of starting a business is not a smooth one. Those who consider taking the plunge often face countless challenges and sacrifices. However, with proper preparation, you can avoid wasting time by focusing on the really important tasks. Find out in this guide the 7 things you need to do before your dream of becoming an entrepreneur becomes a reality.
Find the right business idea
Do you want to create a successful business? Then start by finding the right idea. To do this, study your own skills and observe the needs of those around you. You can also follow the current trends. Constantly look for ways to improve an existing concept or a way to bring something new or innovative to the market.
In all cases, it is important that your business idea is about solving a problem or improving a situation. Once you’ve come up with your business idea, you need to test it properly before you invest a lot of time and money into it.
Find a mentor and surround yourself with the right people
There are many things you need to do to start a successful business. But no one person can have all the knowledge, experience or even the perspective to handle all the situations involved in starting a business. This is why it is advisable to surround yourself as soon as possible with people who have already gone through the process.
Ideally, you should be accompanied by a mentor who will be able to guide and advise you at each step of your project: the search for financing, the preferred payment solutions, the writing of the business plan, the administrative procedures… If you do not have a mentor yet, you can find one for free on the SCORE website. While you’re looking for a physical mentor, continue reading this guide to get the essentials for starting your own business.
Write your business plan
Starting a business is risky enough. To reduce the risk and not spend all of your time and resources on an unsuccessful project, you need to define in detail the type of business you want to have. Will it be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation or an LLC? To answer these questions, put together a written plan: your business plan.
In this document, you will lay out your business plan in great detail. What product or service do you offer? What need does your offer meet? What is the added value you bring? What is your target market? What is the market situation? What are your forecasts and personal objectives?
Here is a concrete example. Imagine that according to your analysis, your business should bring you a net profit of $20,000. But you live in Quebec, you have a family to feed and elderly parents to take care of, you have to save for your children’s education… It is obvious that with all these expenses, your profit margin could not help you live serenely.
It is therefore important to take all the factors into account in order to know which levers to use to set up a business that will be able to generate sufficient profits for you to have at least a comfortable life. With a well-constructed business plan, you can also easily convince potential investors.
Register your business with the government
To start a legal business, you must formally register your business with the government. To register, you need to choose a name for your business. You must choose a name that is not already used by another entrepreneur. After you register, you will have a business number that you will use everywhere to identify yourself.
You must also register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Normally, if the gross revenue of your new small business remains below the $30,000 average for four consecutive quarters, you are not required to pay GST/HST. However, it is a good idea to register so that you can recover the GST/HST that your business will pay on business purchases early.
Apply for your business permits or licences
Although not required for all businesses, many new businesses are required to obtain business licenses before operating legally in their city. You can visit the Quebec City website to find contact information for the government agencies that grant business permits and licenses. You can also use the BizPal tool to get an idea of the permits and licenses you will need for your business.
Seek financing for your business launch
Starting a business usually requires financing. Generally, it’s rare to be able to rely solely on your personal contribution to launch your business. In addition to your personal resources, you must seek out investors. You must be able to sell your business idea to potential investors so that they will accompany you in your project (loan, equity sharing…).
In addition, there are national and regional business support solutions from which you can benefit. The government has set up these aids and subsidies to finance immigrant and native entrepreneurs. To benefit from them, you must meet specific conditions and build a solid file.
Make the final adjustments and get started!
After all the work done to organize and launch your business, don’t forget one of the most important steps: promoting your business. In fact, every business needs to get itself known and increase its notoriety among its target audience in order to grow. So, you need to start implementing the marketing strategy you have planned in your business plan.
Think for example about your online presence: the creation of a website, the creation of your pages on social networks, relevant to your business, the planning of the animation of these social networks, the techniques to create and develop a base of prospects, etc. Yes, it’s time to translate the broad outlines of your plan into specific objectives and actions to effectively launch your business.