Having your own business can be rewarding – you get to call the shots and do work you are passionate about. However, while it can be an exciting time, starting a new business can also be daunting.
Whether your idea for a business struck you in the middle of the night or you’ve been carefully mapping out your business strategy for years, preparation is key! No matter what business you’re getting ready to launch, it’s important to map out the details to help bring your dreams to life and put yourself on the road to financial success.
If you’re ready to be your own boss, here are a few helpful steps for you to consider before taking the leap into entrepreneurship:
1. Do your research
Whether you’re hoping to start a small clothing business as a side hustle or take the plunge into starting a tech company, every business comes from the birth of a single great idea. Before jumping headfirst into a new business venture, remember to do your homework! Your business should help solve a problem or fulfill a need or service to Canadians, which currently isn’t being served by the industry you are hoping to enter.
Start by writing down ideas for your business as they come and fine-tuning them later. Conducting market research on the demand for the product or service you’re looking to sell, your competitors and pricing can help you determine whether your business idea has legs. Once you’ve got your idea worked out, pitch it to your trusted family and friends to gauge their response. This valuable feedback can help you gain a deeper understanding of the legitimacy of your business idea and whether adjustments to your vision need to be made before making any financial commitments. At the end of the day, knowledge is power. The more information you have, the better your business’s chances are for success.
2. It’s all in the plan
As the age-old saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. That’s where a business plan comes in! A well-defined business plan serves as an invaluable roadmap for your business that outlines where you are going and how you will get there. Taking the time to write a business plan can help you learn about the competitors in your industry, your short and long-term goals, and your business forecasts and financials. Simply put, a business plan is a crucial part of starting and growing your business, and a necessity when seeking external funding to get your business off the ground.
3. Map out your finances
Now that you’ve identified your business venture and have built a plan, it’s time to get your finances in order. We all know that it takes money to make money, and every business needs capital to get it off the ground. Need a little help funding your enterprise? Canada’s credit unions are the leader in small business lending, supporting hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized business in Canada. Credit unions offer business owners a number of financing options that are simple, flexible, and affordable. Access to financial support does not stop there! Take advantage of the Government of Canada’s Canada Small Business Finance Program, which provides small businesses in Canada with up to $1,000,000 for term loans for real estate, and up to $150,000 in lines of credit for working capital costs. The government also offers several additional grants and lines of credit you can apply for to help financially support your business.
4. Register your business
You’ve put in the hard work of researching your business idea and obtaining information on its potential success in the market, so what’s the next step? It’s time to officially register your business. To register your business in Canada, you will need to first decide what unique name you want for it, and whether you’ll be registering your business as a corporation or sole proprietorship.
To register as a corporation, you’ll need to:
- Get a federal business number and corporation income tax account from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
- Obtain articles of your federal or provincial incorporation
- Register as an extra-provincial or territorial corporation in all areas of Canada you plan to operate
- Apply for any additional permits and licenses required to run your business
To register as a sole proprietorship, simply register your business in the provinces you intend to conduct business, obtain a federal business number and business accounts, and apply for any additional permits.
So, whether you choose to incorporate or become a sole proprietor, you can get your business up and running in just a few simple steps!
5. Insure your Business’s Future
Starting a business takes a lot of hard work, time, and money. After all the work you’ve put into setting up your business, you’ll want to make sure you protect it. That’s where business insurance comes in. Business insurance helps protect your business and its assets in the event of an incident in the workplace. Whether you require property insurance to cover the loss of materials equipment, inventory, and property damage; or general liability insurance to protect yourself against incidents where an employee is injured at work, having the right insurance could help preserve your company’s future . Invest in your company’s longevity by consulting with an insurance broker to identify the type of insurance coverage that is right for your business.
Build the business of your dreams with the help of a credit union
There are several pieces of the puzzle to consider when you transition from being an employee to running a business of your very own. Credit unions are an excellent option to help you kickstart your new business and manage the financial realities of being a business owner. To find your nearest credit union, click here.