The three things you must do before starting your own business
(NC) Got an awesome idea for a cool new service or one-of-a-kind product, and truly believe it's the greatest thing since sliced bread? If you're wondering how to take it from floating thought bubble to market, you're not alone. If you decide to join the ranks of small-business owners, yours will become one of more than one million small businesses in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. While putting your passion out there and taking a risk investing in yourself seems like some pretty scary stuff, it shouldn't deter you from opening your own shop. Sure, starting a business isn't a piece of cake, but it's a lot more doable than most of us realize, and there are reliable resources out there to help.If you're considering a change of career and are ready to bring your idea to life, here are the three most important things to have under your belt before taking the plunge.
Research, research, researchGet your hands on everything about your potential market. It doesn't matter whether you're planning a service-based business (like hairstyling, computer hard-drive fixing, etc.) bottling your grandmother's secret-recipe pizza sauce, or selling handmade jewellery, your job is to read everything you can and speak to anyone who can offer information and/or guidance.
Focus on your business plan“This is the single most important document you'll produce before your business idea becomes a reality,” says Dominik Loncar, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, a non-profit organization that offers financial support, mentoring and expert advice to budding entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 39. The plan details every aspect of the business – from company profile and goals, to financials and human resources. Have your vision and research ready before putting pen to paper. “Offer as much detail as you possibly can,” says Loncar. “Take a look at examples of successful business plans, and make use of CYBF's free online Business Plan Writer and many other helpful resources at cybf.ca.”
Figure out financingYour big idea is one thing, but whether you have the funds to finance it is another. Start brainstorming where you'll get money – whether it's from your savings account, loans from parents, the bank or organizations like CYBF. Cash is key for creating your product and marketing yourself so the public knows your must-have creation is for sale.
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