Starting a business is a big and exciting decision. Being well prepared before you start operating is an important step towards increasing your chances of being successful.
Having an idea for a business is a good place to start, but it takes a lot of work to turn that idea into a reality.
Research and planning
Before you start a new business it is important that you do some research and planning. Consider the following:
- Is there a market for your business? Where are your potential customers located, and how will you reach them with your product or service?
- What makes your idea unique? How will your business compare to the competition?
- How will you market your business and attract new customers?
- What government regulations do you need to be mindful of that could affect your business?
- How much money do you need to start up? What will your operating costs be? How will you secure appropriate financing?
- What type of staff will you need? How will you handle human resources functions like hiring, payroll, benefits?
- Will you run your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation?
- Does your business need legal assistance?
Create a business plan
A business plan is a document that defines your business, your goals, and what you will do to achieve them. Your plan is both a roadmap to guide your business decisions, as well as your sales pitch to potential lenders, suppliers or investors. The Canada Business Network has a great summary of how to write a business plan.
One of the biggest challenges for new businesses is securing adequate financing to get up and running. Learn about the business grants and funding opportunities available to businesses.
Set up your business
Where you decide to locate your business is a critical decision. Will you be setting up a home office, or do you need to build, purchase or rent a commercial building? Do you need to be close to your customers or suppliers? Do you need to be located in a specific land-use district?
Apply for permits
You may need to apply for municipal, provincial and federal permits depending on the nature of your business. Nearly all forms of building and development, including starting a home-based business, requires a permit to ensure the proposal complies with the Land Use Bylaw. Be sure your timeline factors in time for permits to be processed.
BizPal is a tool to guide you through business permiting and licensing.