Starting your own business can be a daunting task. If you have the mettle and grit to stick it out, it can also be one of the most rewarding and liberating things you can do. Monday, August 21st is World Entrepreneurs' Day and BBB offers our Top 10 helpful tips to get your self-employment dreams off the ground.
- Will it work? A simple question...is your idea feasible? A little market research can go a long way before you really open the coffers and open up shop. Is there competition in the field? What are they currently doing that brings them success?
- Business plan. Many people approach their ideas with a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ attitude where their unwavering belief in themselves can weather any storm. It rarely works that way. Developing a business plan is a simple road map of where you are and where you want your business to be. It’s a visual representation of the business model, the brand, and even yourself at the helm. That plan should include some market research. You could have the best idea ever, but without a plan to follow you could easily end up in the ditch. As well, without a plan, you can forget about financiers taking you seriously. Seek out expert advice on how to properly put one together.
- Business name. Apple!!! No… Starbucks!! No… Microsoft!! No… Sorry, those are all taken. You’ll have to do a title search to make sure your awesomely recognizable and brilliant moniker hasn’t already been thought up by someone else. Just because a Google search turns up nothing, it doesn’t mean it isn’t already registered. This can be done through the BC Business Registry.
- Register your business name. Once you have your name you will have to decide whether to register as sole proprietorship, corporation, limited partnership etc. This must be done through the BC Business Registry as well.
- Domain. An attractive and easy to use website is definitely something to consider this day and age. Once you have a registered name, it might not work as well with a website URL. However, if someone has already owns it or something similar you may have to play around with it to make it work for your business. Even better if you can secure a .com or .ca URL with your business name.
- Licensing. Get the required licensing both through provincial and municipal governments. You are technically required to have the proper licensing for whatever city your business is based in. In Vancouver, you can follow this link to apply for your business license.
- Regulatory licensing. It’s possible your profession requires regulatory body licensing such as with the British Columbia Real Estate Association or the Vehicle Sales Authority. If a regulatory body pertains to your business, check what their requirements might be.
- The government wants its share! Register with the Canada Revenue Agency to set up your GST/HST number, payroll deductions, and import/export accounts.
- WorkSafe BC. Registering with WorkSafe BC is a requirement for any business that hires workers. The benefit of completing a WorkSafeBC registration is that as an employer, you cannot be sued for the costs of a work-related injury or disease.
- Insurance. Make sure your business is protected. Visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada to find out what kind of coverage your start-up needs.
- !!!BONUS ROUND!!! Claim your BBB Business Profile! Search BBB.org to see if we have you in our records or contact us to set up a profile for you. When your business has been established for 6 months, come talk to us about getting BBB Accredited and reap the benefits! Go to www.bbb.org/mbc for more information.
Good luck out there! You can do it!!