As I prepare to celebrate my 25th year in business as a Chartered Professional Accountant, I can’t help but take a moment to reflect. I have had the pleasure of working with so many business owners over the years as I helped them face the challenges experienced by those courageous enough to step into the realm of entrepreneurship. And it is in the spirit of collegial entrepreneurism that I write this blog to offer advice and guidance to anyone out there who might be toying with the idea of starting a business of their own. These words have been distilled from 25 years of witnessing the highs and lows of owning a small business.
While having a passion for something or a fabulous idea for a business is enviable, these are NOT sufficient reasons to quit your job and launch out on your own. Successful entrepreneurs do not get swept away by such enthusiasm, they draw on this positive energy to propel them through the drudgery of doing their homework BEFORE quitting their day job.
Your business will stand a much better chance of success if you have a passion for what you’ll be doing, PLUS a positive mindset that keeps you going and a willingness to learn the skills needed to run all parts of your business.
Nothing Succeeds Like – Planning!
To better ensure success, take the time to create an effective business plan. It doesn’t have to long — but it needs to cover some companies even offer one-page plans. If you’re not sure how to write a business plan, do some research online or meet with the small business advisor at your bank and ask what elements are deemed important in a plan. Just to give you a jump start on a few of the key areas you should start giving some thought about these topics:
Your Unique Value Proposition – Until you know, and can easily describe to others, how the qualities, characteristics, products or services of your business differentiate you from your competitors, don’t go any further in your planning. It is essential for you to know what you are before you can decide anything else!
Operating Capital -Starting a business without enough operating capital is almost certainly a death sentence. Be sure to ascertain how much money you will need to cover start-up costs and to keep the business running for the first year or two and then go find it!
Marketing – Having a strategic marketing plan and a corresponding budget is fundamental to any successful business. If no one knows about you, then you won’t be around long!
Take Stock of Your Skills and Knowledge
Still interested? Okay then let’s look at what aspects of entrepreneurship really need to be addressed to increase your likelihood of surviving as a new business. The first step of any aspiring entrepreneur is to take stock of your skills and knowledge assets. While you may be a talented electrician, doctor or dress designer, do you know how to run a business day to day? Not sure? Okay then – it’s self-quiz time!
- What type of business will you open – sole proprietor, partnership, incorporated? Why?
- What are the regulatory rules for your type of business in the area you live?
- Will you have employees? Do you know how to do payroll? Can you name the top 5 Human Resource issues that impact small business?
- What accounting software will you be using? Do you know which taxes and reporting you will be required to submit to the government(s)?
- Where will you house your business? Do you know the costs for this space and all the equipment you will need?
- What sort of insurance will you need, why and how much will it cost?
- Have you completed a business plan?
- Have you secured any start up capital?
- Do you have enough money to support yourself for the first year or so?
- How will you promote your business?
- Why will customers use your business – what unique offerings do you have that they can’t get elsewhere?
If you were unable to answer any of these questions, then you need to hold back on starting your business. Knowing the realities and pitfalls of business ownership can help you prepare and succeed! Take the time to learn about these issues. Speak with accountants, lawyers and small business bankers and learn more about these issues and other issues that could stop you from realizing your dream. It will be time well-spent, trust me.
On that note, I wish you the very best of luck in your endeavours and hope that one day you too will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of your business!
Kelly Melanson, CPA
Kelly Melanson, CPA, CMA is the founder and owner of Kelly Melanson Professional Corporation. She and her team specialize in helping companies grow via strategic financial management practices. Since 1993, Kelly Melanson, Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA) has been helping businesses in Whitby, Oshawa, Ajax, Durham Region and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to reach and surpass their profit goals.
If you would like to speak to us regarding Business Accounting, financial retirement or tax planning, tax returns, bookkeeping or any of your other please contact us anytime – we’d love to chat with you.
Kelly Melanson Professional Corporation – Chartered Professional Accountant, CPA 11 Stanley Ct, #13 Whitby, ON L1N 8P9 – Local: (905) 666-5071 Toll-free: 1-800-942-5558 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: https://kmpc.ca