If you were to read a guide book on starting your own small business, you’d probably need a few weeks. So what we’ve done is summarized the seven steps to help you start your business faster!
Seven Steps to Help You Start Your Business
CanadaStartups.org is pleased to be able to introduce this quick guide with the 7 steps to help you start your business in Canada.
This “how to start your small business” guide is right for you if you are a individual with a business idea, is ready to put in the work and is looking for the steps to take to get started.
As you read the seven steps to help you starting your business in Canada, you will have exactly what is needed to successful startup.
With the Canadian economy growing, local businesses are the ones who are taking a greater role within the communities, stimulating the economy and creating jobs.
The seven steps are divided into the following:
- Understanding what you want to do
- Knowing your customer base
- Having a support network
- Making it all official
- Having all of the requirements
- Writing your business plan
- Getting funding!
So let’s get started shall we?
1. Understanding what you want to do
Starting a small business takes a lot of work, you already know that.
One of the most critical steps you need to do to help you start your small business is understand what you actually want to do.
Sure you want to start a small business, be an entrepreneurs, be in charge of your own, quit the 9 to 5, make you own hours..etc, who doesn’t. This is the ultimate entrepreneurs dream.
However to get to that point there are key steps you have to understand. These include:
- Being committed and motivated
- Knowing the risks
- Having the skills
- Enjoying what you do
It takes a lot of time to start and run a small business.
Think about how hard you work for somebody else to make sure you get to keep your job. Now times that by 10 if not by 20 – that is the start of how much time you have to invest into your own business. At least in the initial stages. There just isn’t enough time in a day to get it all done, so time is critical.
So do you have the time to invest into starting a small business?
Being Committed and Motivated
While time is one of the factors needed for a successful business, being committed and motivated play a major role.
Do you have what it takes to try and fail multiple times before you finally hit it out of the ball park?
Do you have what it takes to stay in the game and constantly motivate yourself to move forward?
Most people think that starting a small business is all about glamour, yet 90% of “new ideas” get thrown out at the business plan writing stage – why?
Well, people just don’t have the time or the motivation to sit there and write a plan.
Knowing the Risks
Starting a small business is risky.
It take money, time and effort.
Whatever you put into the business, unless you are willing to take a risk, you won’t get very far.
There are many people who don’t’ want to invest in their business – this is usually a sign that you simply don’t believe in yourself.
A number of risks existing when staring your small business, so before you get into business it’s important to know these risk and be able to accept or move on.
Having the Skills
Generally speaking, the most successful business owners are ones who go into business in their own field.
A field which they have knowledge and experience in.
If you spent all of your life as a auto mechanic, your ideal business model will be a mechanic shop due to the skills and experience. You don’t want to start a dance studio!
It’s important to have the skills and knowledge in your field of interest so that you can apply it to your business to make it successful
Enjoying what you do!
Being in business for yourself can get very stressful. As you put in long hours, work hard and dream about your business each night, enjoying what you do is critical.
The best way to get into business is doing something that you love.
This has a lot to do with your experience, having the skills, and all of the above.
Finding a business that is right for you
If you are ready to start your small business, finding a good business idea is somewhat of hard choice unless you already have an idea in mind.
Ideas come from observing trends, determining what people or other businesses might want or need in the future, or simply from seeing a potential opportunity.
In other words, you must find a demand in the marketplace for a product or service that other local businesses currently don’t supply
The best business ideas often come from your experience, personal interests or perhaps education.
By considering your own talents, skills, and the sources of enjoyment in your life, you may find the beginnings of a good business idea.
You may think that your experience restricts you from starting a business in a particular field. Don’t rule out applying your skills in a variety of areas.
While there’s always a learning curve, good management skills can be transferred to virtually any business.
2. Knowing your customer base
Let’s say you spent some time and taken care of the first of the seven steps to help you start your business and finally understand what you want to do.
No matter how good your business idea is, the next step is to understand your customers!
The more you know about your customers, the more effective your sales, marketing and all of your business efforts will be.
General questions to better understand your customers include:
- Who are they?
- What do they buy?
- Why do they buy?
- When do they need it?
- How do they make their purchases?
- How much can they afford to pay?
- What will they expect of you?
You can learn a great deal about your customers just by talking to them. Ask why they’re buying or not buying, what they may want to buy in the future and what other needs they may have.
Sales are driven by the benefits that your product or service provides your customers. It’s much easier to offer your product or service as the solution.
3. Having a support network
Having a strong support network to fall back on is critical when starting a small business in Canada.
A support network can be as simple as just having your family members be supportive, for them to be there for you. Emotional support is important.
But on top of that, as one of the seven steps to help you start your small business, building a business up take a lot of work and sometimes connections can go a long way.
At times, advice, support, guidance can be provided free of charge (keeping your funds in your pocket), so it’s important to go all out.
A lot of information can be obtained from friends, your family, your work colleagues, directly from the banks, lawyers, online! Taking advantage of what is available and surrounding yourself with the critical information and people is important to your business’s future.
Even if you are getting into business as a sole proprietor, doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone.
4. Making it all official
Depending on the type of business you are thinking of starting, the process of making it all official is an important step to take in ensuring your business is, well – official.
Making it official can mean registering you business. This means you can be a sole proprietor if you’re in business alone, or a partnership type of business if you have a partner or partners; you can incorporate your bushiness provincially and federally or you can go a different route and register as a charity or a non profit. All depends on what you want to do.
Additional rules and regulations of your location and industry may require you have different documents, licenses and things you need to “become official”, so be sure to reach out to your local business office to learn more about what is needed.
5. Having all of the requirements
Sort of like “making it official”, having all of the requirements when starting a small business can mean a number of things.
Depending on the type of business you’re going into, weather you are selling a product or a service, if you need a physical location or not..etc; the requirements may be different.
Let’s take a look at a cleaning business and what the requirements may be:
- Equipment needed to clean
- Transportation (perhaps a van where all of the equipment can fit)
- Marketing materials (business cards, flyers, website, car stickers, branded confirms..etc)
- Tools (way to accept payments, invoice document, printer, customer management system)
- A team! Who will work for you.
Having a detailed business plan will help you figure out what all of the needs you have would be, which takes us to the next step.
6. Writing your business plan
Ahh the good ol’ business plan.
Remember from above, over 90% of new ideas get shut down in this stage. The sad part is that the “new entrepreneurs” usually gives up due to the amount of work required.
A business plan is a scary though. Imagine all of that writing that you need to do.
Sort of funny how things go back to that first step; Enjoying what you do!
If you want to start a business and you enjoy what you do – you will not be scared of a business plan.
The scary part of a business plan is maybe not being able to write professionally, or not knowing the order of things..etc; but the information needed should not scare you.
This is your business, your idea, your dream!
The good thing is that there is so much help when it comes to writing a business plan.
There is help, guidance, step by step support from Canada Startups if you decide to use the Business Plan Builder Tool.
When writing your business plan, a few key points about your small business need to be covered. These include:
- A clear description of the type of business and how to set it up
- Your goals and objectives, and the strategies you will use to achieve them
- A description of the industry and business sector you are in
- The potential strengths and weaknesses of your business
- Financial information that shows how your business will make a profit
- If you need a loan or financial contribution, the reasons why your business is a good investment
- A chronology of events and financial milestones against which you can compare your actual results
- A listing of your competitors
If your goal is to obtain funding (which is the next step), it’s important that your business plan also shows and explains your funding needs.
7. Getting funding!
The final step of the seven steps to help you start your business is getting funding.
Since starting a business costs money, being able to successfully startup and cover your startup expenses, it’s important to cover this last step before the launch of the business.
Depending on you, getting your business funded, the funds can come from various sources. These sources often include:
- Family and friends
- Personal Savings
- Personal Credit (line of credit, credit cards, mortgages..etc)
- Business Partners
- Private Investors
- Government funding agencies
The funds you need can be obtained via any of the above sources, but this entirely depends on your funding needs.
Government funding agencies across Canada help provide a lot of funding to new startups. This is why it’s critical to access these funds if your looking to startup or even to expand.
The government funds can help you fund your business and the various needs you have such as:
- Money to startup
- To hire and train staff
- Cash flow improvements
- Purchase of tools, supplies and inventory
- To make leasehold improvements
- Importing/Exporting costs
- Research and Development
- and much more
These funds often come from various levels of the government such as your local government, provincial government or the federal government. The funds are obtained by applying to the various agencies who provide the funds as a government loan, a tax break or a government grant.
Depending on your type of business, your location, your industry and specific needs you mkay be eligible to get government funding.
Try this Government Funding Search Tool to see what you may be eligible for.
That summarize the seven steps for help you start your business; so hopefully by reading this quick guide you’ve got it figured out.
Keep in mind that though Canada Startups and the Small Business Startup Portal, help is available 24/7 and from experts who can help guide you though the startup process, through the funding search and much more.
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