After a year or two of planning, budgeting, and studying the market, you finally feel ready to take the plunge and officially take some steps to start your business. While these are important and necessary steps, you still feel ill-prepared to enter your chosen industry on your own as an entrepreneur. The good news is: there are many steps you can take to put yourself in a great position to be competitive and successful.
1. Select your business structure
One of your first steps before launching your business venture if choosing what structure best meets your needs. In Canada, there are four different business structures. Sole proprietorship is the simplest choice and this involves an individual acting alone with low start-up costs. While this person is the only recipient of all profits, they are personally responsible for all debts incurred as well.
Partnerships involve each partner sharing profits and debts and requires a shareholders agreement that specifies everyone’s rights and obligations. Corporations have more regulations and higher start-up costs. In this structure, shareholders have little responsibility regarding any debts. The final structure available is a co-operative where the business is controlled as a corporation by members that buy into it and profits are shared.
Before you get your business off the ground, explore each option and see which one best coincides with your goals to prevent any serious issues in the future.
2. Find a mentor
In order to launch a successful business, you need to find someone who has endured the process themselves and has enjoyed prosperity after doing so. Your first step in finding a mentor should be exploring options through your family, social circles, and people from your past such as teachers and coaches. These are the people who will not mind helping you launch your small business.
While you may be able to make some connections through local businesses or social media platforms such as LinkedIn, these people are not familiar with you and because your new business could be construed as being competition and a potential threat to their business, they may be reluctant to help you.
3. Be smart with money
Although you have been smart with your money thus far and have budgeted enough for start-up, you may need more after you open your business especially if you do not develop a reliable client base right away. Before you open up shop, confirm that you have enough money for things such as heat and hydro bills, inventory, equipment, administrative supplies, and hiring staff if needed.
While you can rely on sales to help with some of this, they are never a sure thing and you need to budget for this. Also consider small business grants offered by the government to assist with these costs.
Recipients of these grants often do not have to repay them but some fees are usually required up front so make sure you are eligible to apply first or you will be wasting money on a grant that you have no chance of receiving.
4. Get online
Every successful business is online nowadays and if you are not, you may miss out on a significant amount of business. Hiring a developer and having a website designed shortly before you launch your business will make people aware of your business and what you can offer.
If you do not have a page designed shortly before, it should be completed shortly after you open for business. Also consider paying for ads on all popular social media platforms and relevant websites to draw attention to your business, develop a solid client base, and increase sales.