HOW TO: Open a Business

A lot of the times I am asked by friends and family on starting a business. Before you start you might want to consider this:

Business failure statistics show that about 96 percent of small businesses (1–99 employees) that enter the marketplace survive for one full year, 85 percent survive for three years and 70 percent survive for five years (Key Small Business Statistics – January 2009, Industry Canada).

Although it is very hard work, I always encourage people to start their own business. After all the years I have been working, working for myself has always been the best and worse times of my life. But I would not change a thing, being an Entrepreneur has been the best decision of my life.  Now, if you agree with me here are 7 Steps on how to get started.

1. Most people think that opening a business requires you to decide on a product or service to sell, find a location, and open up your doors and Voila! You’re in Business! No doesn’t work that way.

First you will have to decide whether you want to be a Sole Proprietor, Partnership or a Corporation. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of them so make sure you know the difference. You might want to speak with an accountant to discuss the tax advantages of each as well.

The differences can be found here.

2. Second thing you need to do is decide on a name you are going to use to start your business. The name has to be unique and not similar to anyone else in the industry.  Then you have to get your name registered; there is a different process for every province, so check your Provincial Website to see what are the required steps.

Trademarking your name is a great idea too, but this can be expensive. In step 1 if you had decided to Incorporate, just the bill for both can be over $2500 dollars so keep that in mind when you are deciding on this.

When picking and trademarking your name it’s best to do your Due Diligence, just because it has been approved doesn’t mean that nobody else is using the name. It’s best to do a Nuans Search, checking the Corporate Names registry will help cover your bases.

3. Now that you have registered your company and name, it’s time to get your GST/HST #. You can sign up for that with Revenue Canada.

4. You will then need a business license, depending on what industry your in, you might need a different business license for every city you do business in.

5. Now that you have that all in order it is time to set up your bank account. Make sure you check all the fees and make a good comparison; you can save a ton of money by doing your research and negotiating better rates as you grow. Best to have a good relationship with your Account Manager.

6. Branding, you will now need a logo and sales collateral. Picking colors and having the right Branding can be very important while representing your business. Your logo needs to stand out; when people drive by your location, see your business card or visit your website, having a memorable logo will help increase your Brand Awareness and make your company more memorable.

7. The last step is Advertising! Just because you’re open for business doesn’t mean people will break the doors down to see you. Having the right Marketing Mix will be vital to a successful launch.

Website, Flyers, Google Adwords and Social Media will get that word our that your great little business has opened it’s doors and you are about to show them how great a company you are!

Lot’s of people think I am good at X so if I start a Business I will be rich! Well you may be good at what you do but if nobody knows about what you do or has no way to get your contact details, then nobody will be contacting you.

Congratulations you have just opened your Business! Obviously opening a business is not as easy as 7 Steps, there are a lot of other details that would take forever to get through everything, but doing these things would be a great start.

Have you started a Business? If so what tips would you suggest for a New Business owner? Feel free to comment below or on Facebook or Twitter.