It all started with a bright idea, and now you're ready to map out the road to launching your new entrepreneurial reality. There is much to consider when planning the development of your business, and careful steps need to be taken to see success in the earliest stages. Here are four areas to focus on to ensure you are heading in the right direction.
Understand the Market
The key to business success is mapping out a clear strategy and approach for your goals - whether that is to be the most reliable heavy duty mechanic or the most popular Italian restaurant in town. Strategic planning is vital to the success of your business, every step of the way.
You may have a great business idea, but before you invest too much in an idea that may not be viable, sit down and do your market research. A market feasibility study is an assessment tool that looks at trends in your current market, identifies if these trends have worked in the past and detects potential problems your competitors face. This market analysis guides you when assesssing the quality of your business idea and helps you craft the most appropriate strategy.
Once you have clear direction on the path to your goals, of utmost importance is writing a concise business plan. Every reputable company has a business plan at its foundation; a written document outlining your business' future including your strategy to succeed. Your plan should determine specific objectives with target dates, an outline of your financing needs and considerations of what marketing efforts you will conduct.
When you decide to start your own business, you need to determine what type of business structure best suits your needs. In general, businesses fall into four categories; sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and co-operative. Each structure has a different degree of liability, financial requirements and taxation issues to consider.
There are many items you'll need to start checking off your list as you embark on your journey starting a new business. Most are simple, and all have a vital role to play.
Keeping accurate business records may seem like a hassle, but it is essential to staying accountable and on top of operations. The Canada Revenue Agency requires you to keep all financial information about your business, such as sales, expenses, wages and salaries. In the event that you are audited, you'll need this documentation as evidence to confirm the profit you're reporting is accurate.
Records, Naming and Copyrights
- Most businesses need to register their name. It differs from region to region, but in general you must apply with your provincial corporate registry and declare your organization's legal form. Often you need to confirm that your company name is not already in use.
- While not necessary for all businesses, many startups require a business license before they can operate legally within their municipalities. If you intend on making more than $30,000 a year in revenue in Canada, you need to sign up for a business number that will allow you to collect Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) on all goods and services that you provide. If your province charges Provincial Sales Tax (PST), you'll need to charge for it as well.
- You may want to consider protecting intellectual property (IP) such as your business name, logo, ideas or processes by securing your IP rights or obtaining copyright protection.
Reach out to experts
With the excessive amount of information readily available on the topic of starting a new business, make sure the guidance you take is from reliable and credible sources. Look to a Scotiabank Small Business Advisor to provide you with the right products and services suited to your needs and business structure. Scotiabank recently announced that new customers can open their leading business bank accounts digitally in 20 minutes or less without having to visit a branch. Flexible operating and savings accoutns that are based on usage volumes allows entrepreneurs to achieve their goals with lower fees and higher interest rates on savings.
Find more insights for planning, starting, or growing your business with Scotiabank's online resources to find valuable resources and advice to help your business succeed.