There’s a lot of sacrifice and hard work involved in taking an idea and transforming it into a profitable business. That’s why it’s no secret that most small businesses fail during the first five years. To help ensure that your company is successful, you need to build a solid foundation – and that begins from the moment you decide to tackle the challenging (and rewarding!) career of entrepreneurship. We review the basics of starting a business, below.
Know Your Options
Most people think that owning their own business means having to start a company from scratch. However, there are other ways that you can be self-employed without turning an original idea into profits. Buying an existing, privately owned company, or buying into a franchise, are two alternative paths to becoming a small business owner. A little research should help you to understand which option is best for you.
Make a Plan
Whether you’re starting a business from scratch, or are buying a privately owned company or franchise, you need a business plan. Don’t skip this step! Putting your ideas into writing helps you to lay the foundation on which you will build your company. Your business plan will outline your goals for your organization and how those goals will be achieved – something that will be incredibly important as you work on creating a successful company.
Register Your Business
Every business in Canada needs to be registered. However, the registration process varies depending on your province. In Ontario for example, registering a business is required if its name is different than the business owner’s legal name. You’ll also need to find out whether or not you need a business license (check with your municipality to find out), and whether or not you meet zoning and bylaw requirements. Depending on the type of business you’re in, you may need to collect provincial sales tax, like HST, and apply for other permits.
Running a business means that you need to keep permanent books and records. If you don’t currently have a filing system for all of your important documents – get one. You’ll want to keep orderly records of all income, earnings, and spending related to the business, like receipts and invoices. Generally you should hold on to those documents for about seven years.
Establish Your Presence
Today, every business needs an active digital footprint. That means a website, and an engaging presence on social networks that are relevant to the company’s target market. Claim usernames on social media channels for your business even if you aren’t ready to start sharing anything yet. This way, you’ll have the basics of your accounts set up once you’re ready to start posting about your company.
If you’re starting a business from scratch, don’t wait to build your website. It takes time for new sites to generate a strong organic search ranking, so the sooner that you have your business website up and running the better. Spend some time writing blog posts that can be used immediately, or scheduled for a later date to ensure your site is packed with great content.
In the early stages of starting a company, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day management of various tasks. Don’t let this distract you from your overall goals for your organization. Carve out some time in your day to focus on your long-term goals for your company, and do something to help you to get there.
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