Starting your own business is always challenging, but with a good plan, you can set your entrepreneurial dreams on the path to success.
Patrick Latour, a vice-president and area manager at the Business Development Bank of Canada, says the most important thing you can do when starting a business is research.
“Understand what your unique selling point is,” he said. “Who are you competing with, are you creating something brand new or expanding on an already existing idea and how are you going to get people to buy from you? The best startups take the time to plan.”
Advice and support is crucial, so don’t try to go it alone, says Ted Mallett, vice-president of research at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Find people you trust who can help you fill in the gaps in your knowledge and experience.
“People with the largest networks are more likely to succeed in the long run,” Mallett said.
A recession may seem like a scary time to start a business, but if you are good at preparation and planning, it can be a blessing in disguise.
“Recessions tend to weed out businesses that are weaker and those that do make it to the startup stage during a recession have a better survival rate than ones that start during a normal economy,” he said.
Mallett says too many new businesses focus on spending money before they’ve even begun making it. There’s a good reason for the common cliché of the bedroom-boardroom, he says.
“Don’t spend your money before you’ve built a customer base. The vast majority of startups happen with a credit card balance — huge startups with millions of dollars are rare,” Mallett said.