Is Entrepreneurship Right For You?
Thinking about starting a business? Being a successful entrepreneur requires a lot of planning, innovation and risk-taking. It involves hard work and dedication but if you’re up to the challenge, there are many potential benefits!
Still not sure if entrepreneurship is right for you? Visit your local Employment Service agency and request a detailed Career Assessment such as TypeFocus or Myers-Briggs to help gain a better understanding of your strengths, skills and interests.
Starting a business can be expensive and time consuming, so doing a little research upfront can save you time, money and increase your likelihood of success!
Is Your Business Idea Feasible?
Starting a business may require significant time and financial commitment. Before getting started, it is essential to evaluate the feasibility of your product or service. In other words, you will need to do your homework. Most importantly you must understand the market you aim to compete in and what is required to be successful in that field. When evaluating the feasibility of a new business plan it is important to ask the following questions:
Is there demand?
Ultimately, the value of a business boils down to supply and demand. It is critical to determine if your product or service is unique and needed before you begin. Attempting to enter an already saturated market, or offering an unneeded product could be a terrible mistake. Determining the level of demand is a vital first step.
Who is your target demographic?
Understanding who your customers are will impact every aspect of your business. Is your product or service for youth or seniors, men or women? Are they students or employed full-time? What is their average income? Can they afford to pay for the product or service you are offering? Failing to identify your target demographic risks offering a product or service that is too generalized and nobody wants.
How much are customers willing to pay for it?
Does your product or service target a consumer want or need? While necessities perform better during slower economies, luxury items and services may excel in stronger markets. It is important to consider the current economic climate and how it may impact your sales. Once you have established your prospective customer base, you can determine how much they are likely to pay and if that is enough to make your business venture worthwhile.
Why should customers choose you?
There is a good chance you will be competing against some other businesses offering a similar product or service. Therefore, it is important to determine what sets you apart from the competition. In other words, why choose you? Is your price cheaper? Is your product or service superior in some way? Do you offer something your competitors do not? Understanding the target market and product of a competitor can allow you to differentiate your product in the eye of the customer. Conducting thorough and detailed market research, including consumer surveys will provide the insight you need to gain a competitive edge in your prospective market.
How Do I Write A Business Plan?
Whether you are a new start-up or well established business, it is important to have a current and well-documented business plan. Ultimately, your business plan should define your goals and the steps needed to meet them.
Business plans for start-ups
Business plans help new businesses by showcasing products and services and identifying potential customers and competitors. The plan generally includes a SWOT analysis which clearly identifies potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and can confirm its commercial viability. A well-written business plan is an important document when approaching lenders and investors for financial support because it:
- Acts as an action plan
- Identifies opportunities and challenges
- Minimizes risk by identifying and calculating it
Business plans for growing businesses
Having an up-to-date business plan is critical for keeping growing businesses on track. A well-written plan should identify and compare financial forecasts with actual results, make strategic plans and communicate goals and strategies to staff and external stakeholders.
How Do I Select The Right Business Structure?
Determining the right business structure for your venture is important. The structure can affect your financing, taxes, liability and several other important aspects of your business. As an entrepreneur, you will need to decide if a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation is the best structure for your business.
How Do I Choose My Business Name?
Your business name should reflect the type of product or service you offer while being easy to pronounce and remember. It should also be unique to avoid confusion with competitors which could lead to legal issues down the road.
You can use the Enhanced Business Name Search through Service Ontario to determine if a business name has already been registered in Ontario. You can also search the Ontario Business Registry that contains basic information on businesses and not-for-profit corporations. This can help to conduct preliminary searches, but once you have shortlisted your favorite names, consider consulting a legal professional to ensure that the name you have selected is not in use by someone else.
How Do I Register My Business?
Once you have chosen your business name and verified it does not conflict with existing businesses or trademarks, you will need to register it. You can register your business name and obtain a Master Business Licence (MBL) online at businessregistration.gc.ca or by mail:
P.O. Box 1028 Station B
Toronto, ON M5T 3H3
For more information regarding business name registrations, please call toll-free 1-800-565-1921 or TTY toll-free 1-800-268-7095. Your Master Business Licence (MBL) will show your registration and expiry dates as well as your Business Identification Number (BIN). Your MBL can be used as one of the proofs of business name registration at financial institutions.
How Do I Apply For An HST Number?
Not all businesses are required to apply for an HST number. It’s important to understand the pros and cons before going ahead with the registration.
Do I need to register for an HST number?
You should register for an HST number if (1) you provide taxable supplies in Canada AND (2) your total revenues from taxable supplies (before expenses) are over $30,000.
Pro: Having an HST number makes it more difficult for customers to identify you as a small business (eg. A business with a revenue below $30,000/year).
Con: You will be required to calculate, collect and remit HST payments on a regular basis.
Do I Need A Permit Or Licence?
If you are a current business owner, or plan to open a new business, it's important to know and understand the applicable regulations. Depending on the type and location of your business, you may be required to obtain permits or licences. There are several tools available to help ensure you acquire the appropriate documents to operate your business in the City of Kingston.
How Do I Find The Right Space?
Kingston is home to four well-planned and fully-serviced, shovel ready business parks. These city-owned industrial lands have state-of-the-art infrastructure with easy access to Highway 401 and the downtown core. These lands are zoned to allow a variety of businesses ranging from general and prestige industrial to limited commercial and service-related uses. A wide selection of parcels of various sizes are available.
How Do I Hire Staff?
Recruiting and on-boarding new employees takes time and finding the right candidates isn't always easy. Fortunately, there are local resources available to assist with the recruiting process, and some even offer subsidized training programs to help!
What Training Is Required?
As an employer, you are required to provide the necessary Health and Safety training and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training. Always ensure you properly educate and train your workers before they begin work.
What Type Of Financing And Grants Are Available?
Securing the financing needed to start and run your business is essential. Whether you are seeking start-up funds, a boost to expand or help to make it through tough times, there are many different options available to access the capital you need!
There are two main types of finance. Debt Finance, includes money borrowed from a bank, credit card or investors that will need to be paid back (usually with interest). Equity Finance involves investing your own money or cash from partners or stakeholders. It is also possible to finance a business using a mixture of both, with entrepreneurs investing some of their own money in addition to securing loans.
Need More Help Starting Your Business?
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Being a successful entrepreneur requires a lot of planning, innovation and risk-taking. It involves hard work and dedication but if you’re up to the challenge, there are many potential benefits!
Still not sure if entrepreneurship is right for you? Visit your local Employment Service agency and request a Career Assessment to gain a better understanding of your strengths, skills and interests.
Starting a business may require significant time and financial commitment. Before getting started, it is essential to evaluate the feasibility of your product or service. In other words, you will need to do your homework. Most importantly you must understand the market you aim to compete in and what is required to be successful in that field. When evaluating the feasibility of a new business plan it is important to ask the following questions: Is there demand? Who is your target demographic? How much are they willing to pay for it? Why should customers choose you?
Business plans help new businesses by showcasing products and services and identifying potential customers and competitors. The plan generally includes a SWOT analysis which clearly identifies potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and can confirm its commercial viability. A well written business plan is an important document when approaching lenders and investors for financial support because it acts as an action plan, identifies opportunities and challenges and minimizes risk by identifying and calculating it.
Business plans generally contain specific details regarding your company profile, market research, sales and marketing plan, operations and business financials. Fortunately, there are some excellent resources available to help you plan and write an effective business plan.