Starting a Business
Hey! Welcome to my first blog post! I'm starting with this topic, because it's probably one I get asked about the most.
"Hey Sabrina, what can you tell me about starting my own business"?
Well, what can I tell you... really, lets just say - I could actually probably write a book on the topic - and maybe one day I will, but, for your sake, I will do my best to keep it short.
Also, before I give you the run down - these are my thoughts and opinions only.
The first thing you need to do is think about feasibility. (Will my business work - financially) This is definitely something an accountant can do (see below), but also something you can do on your own, if you know how. You want to calculate what your expected monthly costs will be and determine how much you need to sell just to break even. If at this point you don't feel it's realistic, time to reconsider or add something to your plan. Even if you thought it looks good on paper, there is always a chance your estimates are wrong - be prepared.
Assuming you already have your feasible business idea, and you feel its rock solid - the next next best place to start is with some research and resources. I will link them below. Yes, you could just hire someone that knows all of this as well - but my belief is that a good business owner needs to have a high level understanding of everything. Plus if you don't know what the requirements and legislation are, how can you ever be sure that the person(s) you hire to deal with it are doing what is necessary. In the end, it is all up to you - it's your business and your responsibility.
Get a referral for a good business lawyer as well as an accountant. You NEED an accountant. Yes, I probably preach this because I am a Chartered Accountant BUT I understand the importance as well. An accountant will help you plan & understand your finances and taxes, and ensure you know what is expected. Yes, they cost money but if you're already concerned about money - stop here. (More on that later). Trust me when I say, you NEED an accountant. Unless you understand GST/Taxes/Payroll etc, because those are not items that you can just ignore... but they are items that can financially ruin you if you aren't prepared.
Now, as far as money goes. In my opinion, be prepared not to make any. For real, for a bit anyways. My favourite saying is 'hope for the best, but plan for the worst'. If you want to make a real go of it, have a financial plan so that you don't have to take a pay cheque immediately - because trust me when I say, it doesn't usually happen. I say 'usually' because, yeah, I am sure there are those lucky few - the ones who make it big overnight and voila... but for most of us small business entrepreneurs - that's just not the case. It has taken me 2+ years in some of my other businesses before I could pay myself. So, maybe you have some savings, or your spouse is helping, whatever it is, have something so you're not stressing and giving up one month in.
The other things you'll need to consider once you have your legal and accounting underway are things like: Insurance, Social Media, Design, Website, Advertising (because even though you think you may have the BEST idea, trust me - people don't just flock to you when you 'open'). I will discuss some of my tips/trick and suggestions in another blog. Oh, and be prepared for failure. I know this sounds kind of harsh. I don't mean it that way - I certainly hope you are super successful and have absolutely no struggles... but I am a realist too. So, if you are at the very least - prepared and have a back up plan, who cares if you never have to use it! It is helpful in the fact that it will ease your mind, and you have a next step should you need it.
So, I certainly say that running your own business isn't for the faint of heart - but, it is SO worth it, if its for you. It's not for everyone - and that's ok because we can't all be the same. I absolutely love it and I thrive off of the excitement of building a business and watching it grow - it's not all about the money for me, and for me, that's enough.
Canada Revenue Agency - Starting a Small Business
BDC - How to start a business in Canada