Starting a business is a process that requires total dedication from the initiator. As part of the development of your business, you will have to invest yourself in a long-term personal project.
If you want to achieve your full potential through your entrepreneurial duties, you must above all take the time to properly plan the various steps before launching your business. If you do your homework, your only limit will be your level of ambition with the help of an M&A advisor.
Step 1: Ask yourself if you are an entrepreneur at heart
The job of an entrepreneur is not made for all the profiles of individuals. Indeed, it is important to possess certain qualities to be able to hold its own in the highly competitive world of self-employed workers.
To help you determine whether or not you have the entrepreneurial spirit, here are the main personality traits that serve as a kind of prerequisite for the status of entrepreneur:
- Have leadership: have a leadership temperament, and show good self-confidence.
- Have strong personal values: have good values, such as respect, professionalism, integrity, audacity, and a sense of responsibility. An entrepreneur often surrounds himself with people who have the same values as him. It is important to define them, but also to implement them.
- Possess a high level of tolerance for risk-taking: the beginnings of a business project are not always easy. In the beginning, it may happen that the entrepreneur does not pay himself a salary or that he prefers to reinvest in the growth of his business rather than paying himself a bigger salary. Being an entrepreneur means being comfortable with risks.
- Have a taste for creating and have strong problem-solving skills: being an entrepreneur means feeling the desire to design something from scratch. Successful entrepreneurs use their creativity to find innovative solutions to the problems they encounter. They try to always be one step ahead of the competition, to find untapped markets, or attract new customers.
- Be Open-Minded: Be open-minded about constructive criticism and advice directed at you.
- Give importance to continuous training: the entrepreneur constantly seeks to develop his business. He must therefore continually improve his skills and also plan to train his employees. He is looking for learning in all his experiences and decisions to evolve more quickly.
- Be persistent and disciplined: when you start a project, the first results can take a long time to achieve. In addition, many mistakes along the way should be felt as a source of learning and not of failure. Being an entrepreneur means being a persevering person who takes to heart the achievement of the objectives he has set for his business.
Step 2: What type of entrepreneurial project should you opt for?
There isn’t just one way to build your business. Here are the three most common ways to become an entrepreneur.
Create a new activity
One path that is taken by a majority of young entrepreneurs is the creation of a whole new business. This means that you are the sole founder of your project. The definition of the service offer is the result of your analysis of the needs observed within the population. Since you are the creator of your business, the time allocated to clearly define your business model and the search for financing to launch your activities will be important.
Since this is a fledgling business, you will need to invest a lot of time and energy in getting your name out there. It will be up to you to use effective marketing strategies so that your target customers discover you and want to use your recent services.
Take over an existing activity
The recovery of an already existing company is an interesting solution for those who do not want to take the risk of creation (being a buyer). This allows you to have a business that already has a stable income. The biggest challenge will be to implant your vision of development in the team already in place. This will necessarily pass through the realization of objective strategic planning and a realistic tactical plan.
Buy a franchise
This option primarily refers to purchasing a concept from a franchisor. Through this transaction, you acquire the right to use the already existing and proven concept for your own business. If you are determined and certain to succeed but have some difficulties when it comes to innovating, this formula may be the best for you.
Step 3: How to find a business idea?
To define what your business idea could be, take a careful look at your surroundings.
- Which existing products and services could be improved?
- What are the problems you encounter?
- What irritants do you (or members of your entourage) have to deal with in your everyday life?
- What are your main interests?
- Do you have hobbies? If so, what do they imply in terms of material, supply, or service requirements?
- What is happening elsewhere in the world?
Step 4: How to confirm the viability of your business project?
Before investing time and money in your business project, you must check its viability.
Complete the business model canvas
The first step will be to complete a business template. A business model is a simplified description of how a business operates. As it validates the viability of the business project, it is a key step to take before starting to write the business plan. Thinking about the business model often raises questions related to the market and the target clientele.
Conduct market research
In a second step, it will therefore be necessary to carry out a market study. You will thus be able to assess the current context and the short, medium, and long-term projections of the sector in which your company would belong.
Thanks to the data compiled and made public by reliable sources such as Statistics Canada, you can observe the demographic profile of the consumers most likely to represent your target clientele. Added to this are trends in the industry, which allow you to contextualize your business plan concerning the economic situation and competition for the sector concerned.
Step 5: Write a business plan
The business plan is intended to be a highly effective tool, allowing you to identify all the quantitative and qualitative data of your business project. In addition, it is in this same document that you expose the figures corresponding to your operating budget. Thus, when you take steps for financing or when you present your concept to potential business partners, suppliers, or customers, you have all the descriptive information about your project at your fingertips.
The business plan should include:
- Company Overview: Brief description of the company, including vision and mission.
- Legal aspect: once your business project has been conceptualized, you must deal with the legal aspect of it. Indeed, to work as a business owner in compliance with the laws, you must subscribe to certain requirements. Here are some things to think about regarding the information on regulatory aspects that is important to present in your business plan:
- What is the legal form of your business? Will it be a sole proprietorship? incorporated? From a general partnership?
- Does my business require commercial licenses?
- Does my activity have standards to respect?
- Couple markets-products: this stage is important because it demonstrates the economic viability of the business project. This segment of your commercial plan ought to include:
- A description of the products sold. Describe them by highlighting their characteristics.
- A definition of potential target markets and how your products will meet the needs of these markets.
Rigorous market research. It includes:
- the size of the desired market and the data and statistics justifying the choices of the target markets.
- industry trends and issues and competitive analysis.
- Marketing strategies: detail the marketing strategy to be deployed, both traditional and digital.
Implementation Plan: Actions your business plans to take over the next two to three years that include:
- An operating plan that describes the physical facilities needed and the investments to be made. It also includes the planning of various resources. To do this, we must ask ourselves some strategic questions:
- Should I consider developing collaborations with competent people who stand out in their field?
- would it be better to delegate certain tasks externally? If yes, what is the cost of this subcontracting?
- what are your furniture, equipment, and supply needs? Is renting premises to carry out business activities necessary?
- what are the financial needs of the company (eg in terms of working capital) and are the financial resources on which you support your project accessible?
- do the operations require specific technological tools and software?
- A human resources plan that outlines your workforce needs as well as your human resource management policies and procedures. Don’t forget to add, for example, the organization chart and the key skills needed in your company. If there are issues in your sector of activity (recruitment, for example), mention them and state the solutions you will put forward to resolve this problem.
- Financial forecasts: Financial forecasts facilitate the search for business partners and investors because they present the cost of your project and demonstrate its profitability. It is important to provide financial forecasts for the next 3 to 5 years and pay particular attention to revenues and expenses for the first year of operation.
Thanks to your business plan, you will be sure to stay on track with the objectives you initially set. It is a guide that will be most useful to you to realign yourself with your initial plan when you feel that you are moving away from your corporate mission.
Step 6: Where to find the financing to make your business project a reality?
Depending on the financial resources you have initially, you may have to resort to financing.
This means of financing refers to loans granted by members of your entourage. In exchange for their investment in your project, they receive the title of shareholders. Thus, if your business is successful and generates attractive income, shareholders will be able to benefit from a return on their investment or even profitability that will exceed the funds invested.
This type of financing requires a deep feeling of affection towards you, on the part of the people who decide to support you financially in your project. Indeed, since the success of your business start-up is not guaranteed, the decision of your shareholders rests entirely on your good faith through M&A advisory.
There are federal and provincial government agencies that offer business start-up assistance programs. To access this source of funding, you must present a solid project.
Step 7: Official launch of your business
Now that the main directions of your business are established and you know that you have the means to get started, your project will officially come to life shortly.
The final preparations before your business concept take shape refer to managing administrative documents, setting up your visibility, and the resources you have at your disposal.
Administrative procedures: the creation of your company involves certain declarations to the Government:
- Choosing and registering your business name.
- Obtaining the necessary commercial licenses.
- Registration for provincial and federal sales tax regimes.
- Opening a bank account specific to your business operations.
Visibility: for your business to be viable, you need to quickly make yourself known. To achieve this, rely on communication channels that allow you to reach a large number of consumers. Here are aspects that must be defined before the official launch of your business:
- Think about a logo that will allow your customers to recognize you at first glance.
- Make variations of your color palette, the fonts you want to use, and the tone you plan to use to address the public. In other words, define your company’s brand image.
- Consider displaying your service offer on the web through the design of a website and the purchase of a domain name.
- List your business on Google and Bing by creating Google My Business and Bing Place accounts.
- Create a business page on the social network(s) that aligns with your concept and where your target customers are present. Most businesses should have a minimal presence on Facebook and LinkedIn.
- If you have in your marketing strategy to make yourself known with advertising, open and configure Facebook Ads and Google Ads accounts.
Resources: Now it’s time to select the resources that will allow you to start your operations. To do this, you will need to make a list of tasks to do so that you do not forget any. List of resources:
- Rental of premises and purchase of furniture and equipment.
- Take out the necessary insurance.
- Opening accounts with your various suppliers.
- Purchase of technological tools and configuration.
- Recruitment of key employees.
The official launch
You are finally there! The long hours of hard work are finally paying off. You are invested in this journey that was the creation of your company. You are now at a crossroads, where theory gives way to practice.
In the same way, as for the process through which you conceptualized your service offer, you must show total dedication to ensure the success of your project.
Your job now lies in customer acquisition and retention. By focusing on the uniqueness of your service, your visibility, and the quality of your customer’s experience, you will see your company’s notoriety reach its highest peaks.