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Many of us dream of starting a small business, but I have discovered that few know how to get started with a business of their own. While it can be a bit of work, it’s really not as hard as many people think it actually is. As a sales and marketing coach, I’d like to share some of the basics of what it takes to get started with a small or home based business. Some steps are from my training but many tips and suggestions are from first hand experience starting many of my own businesses and from helping others. Here’s a five step process with expansions from references to some outside sources:

Five Step Small Business Process

  1. Find a business model – an answer to a problem
  2. Business name – unique name and business registration
  3. Make a business plan – simple with targets and goals
  4. Get your business setup – marketing and accounting tools
  5. Work your plan – get your first few customers

Choosing the right business

So you want to start a business and you don’t know what to start or what kind of business model suites you the best. You are not alone. I struggled with those very questions. In helping others, I learned a couple key things: Chose a business type that you have passion about and a business model that suits your personality. Once you have those first answers, then look or listen for a current problem and come up with the solution. That will be your business to start.   

Select a good name

This is easier said than done, but certainly not impossible. In terms of a process, try writing down several ideas that come to mind. Keep it short and relevant to you business type. Google search to make sure it’s not already taken. Run the name past a few friends and get their input. Once you have your name, its best to register your name with the government (should be about $60 for single owner). You don’t necessarily need a business name as you can operate under your personal name when first starting. Once you have your business name though, purchase your domain ASAP to make sure it doesn’t get taken. A .ca is best for local businesses and its more private. You need to register for  a HST/GST number if you plan to make over $30K a year (I’m not legal council, so it might be good to check with an accountant)

Planning for success

Every good business idea should start with a business plan. You can get many free templates online. It doesn’t have to be complex,. Even a simple plan covering the basics will work. Why? To be successful,you need to have a clear path in front of you and know what steps you need to make next. If you “don’t plan for success, you plan to fail”. A simple business plan will include the main objective, goals and targets, a competitive analysis (SWOT) and steps required. Keep your plan simple using SMART criteria to achieve your efforts. (worth clicking on that link)

Requirements to get started

Once you have done the groundwork and you have your business name and your plan in place, the next steps are really the practical tools you need to get your business off the ground. This can be as simple as just business cards or more detailed with marketing and account tools. I recommend starting with a logo for your branding using a logo maker or have one designed for you. This can be added to a business card that can be made online and shipped to your door. Moving forward, I recommended building your online presence with a website and Facebook Page as a good start. If you have the time and a few online skills you can design your website or online store or hire an expert for better results. Make sure you apply SEO settings to ensure your work gets found by searchers. Adding regular social media posts or paid ads will help your business to get found. If you model is a service or store, I would suggest using online accounting for your invoicing and expenses tracking with online payments to get your money faster.  

Now work your plan

All of these steps are essential, however nothing will take root until you make it practical. Start working! You’re always reviewing your results and tweaking your efforts.Target getting your first few customers or clients (paid or not paid) and use them as a reference and testimony on your website and rating for your social media pages. Keep working your plan, reviewing and revising as you go. Keep networking online and in person     

Now you are on your way as a small business owner. Best of luck with your new direction. Should you want some simple free tips or need some one on one coaching, reach out today.