You want to start your own business in the town of Caledon, a booming town that continues to grow, and you’ve found a business that our town needs. You’ve decided to check out the Caledon Chamber of Commerce’s website because you know we are here to help. We want you to be successful in business and we will help you get there. Around 80,000 businesses are started each year in Canada so let’s make sure yours is in that number, and is prosperous at the same time!
If you haven’t done so yet, you first need to determine whether you want to sell products or services. By deciding if you want to sell a product or service, you’ll be able to figure out what you want to sell, and how you will be different from others who do the same.
From there, you’ll need to select a great business name. Make sure it’s unique to avoid a name that another business already has ownership of. A simple online search will help you.
Once that is completed, you’ll need to decide which type of business you want to form: sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. If you’re planning on keeping your business small, or don’t have a lot of liabilities, like employees, a sole proprietorship is your best bet. If your dreams are big, require tax breaks, and need the protection of avoiding personal financial liabilities, consider a corporation. If you’re going to have one or more partners, then consider a business partnership, but know you have to work with a lawyer and tax professional to layout the type, terms, and tax implications associated with it. Either way, make sure you understand the pros and cons of each and know that you can always change as you grow.
Consider talking to a lawyer as well to get proper legal advice. You should consider asking your lawyer questions like:
Different laws apply to every type of business, product or service, and knowing what laws apply to your business will be your best, and safest bet! Also, if you do decide to register as a trademark, you will need to do so at some point.
Once decided, you’ll need to register or incorporate your business, obtain a business number, a GST/HST account, and any other tax-related accounts required with the Canada Revenue Agency. If your business requires other specific regulations, you’ll need this completed before you can start your company as well.
Please, whatever you do, do not create any business logos, websites, business cards, etc., before registering your business name as it will be a lot of time and money spent if someone else owns the rights.
The next part can be daunting for most but necessary for all: creating your business plan, which should be done before your business event starts! It’s an excellent way to map out exactly what your next steps are, but it also allows you to create the big picture plan of what you want your business to look and feel like, and what it will look and feel like in the future. The business plan doesn’t have to be perfect, its meant to be a guide but will need to be as clear and to the point as you can possibly be.
Some even prefer putting together a business model canvas, a one-page document that covers critical information: your product or service, your target market, your competitors, your market size, your pain points, your costs, and then legal and financial. By creating this one page document, you can expand on it to create your business plan.
Your next step will be to figure out where you will be getting your funding from. Plan on it taking at least three to six months before you starting making a profit; some businesses take even longer. Two-thirds say the first year of business is the toughest, and only half of small businesses survive five years or more.
Competition, cash flow, and taxes are a new businesses top three threats, and the number one regret of business owners who look back on their first year is that they didn’t spend enough money learning about financial management.
The majority of start-up businesses start with less than $10,000, and approximately three-quarters relied on personal savings to start their business. A majority require $50,000 or less in annual revenue to feel confident about their financial health. Once you’ve mapped out all the costs you anticipate having in the first year, you can then determine how much you need to earn every month to stay in business. Keep in mind that it can take a few years to build up your revenue.
Now, determine how you will fund your business if you don’t have the required start-up cash to do so. You can consider crowdfunding, like an online Kickstarter campaign; a microloan, which is a small business loan of less than $10,000; a personal loan; grants; and/or friends and family to help you out. Either way, arrange a meeting with a business banking specialist to determine which type of account is right for you as some can help you save money and grow faster.
Of consumers rely on the internet to find a small business.
Of consumers search for local businesses weekly
of consumers visit local businesses’ websites after reading positive reviews
So the next thing you need to seriously consider is having a website for your business. In today’s day and age, if you’re not online, does your business even exist? It’s time for you to get a URL with your business name in it, and an email address associated with it, making it easy for your clients and customers to find you and get in touch.
Think www.yourbusiness.com with an email of firstname.lastname@example.org. Nothing looks more unprofessional than email@example.com.
From there, build yourself a great website, one that doesn’t just have text on it, as people usually only read the first four hundred words, but with photography and/or videography on it as well. Your clients will want to get to know you through your website before contacting you. Another thing to take note of is to learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because it can help your website rank higher in all search engines.
Next, get on social media. Facebook has over eighteen million users in Canada alone, which includes Instagram. LinkedIn is great for business-to-business connections. By connecting with your clients and potential clients via social media, you’ll be able to reach more customers than ever before.
Ever heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” Well, the Chamber can help you with that! We can connect you with networking groups, set you up to sponsor various events, provide events you can volunteer at and help with referrals and recommendations. Contact us today about how we can not only help you start your business, but have it grow and be successful in the Town of Caledon.