Do you have a business dream you’ve decided to make a reality?
One of my favorite things about teaching business to my University students, is hearing about their ideas.
It’s why my business – my passion – is about helping Canadian entrepreneurs succeed, from building the foundation to growing success years into their business.
As a Certified Professional Bookkeeper, I built a successful bookkeeping firm, so I know exactly what it’s like to start from nothing and maintain a profitable business.
I’ll be honest with you. I can’t talk about getting started in business without introducing you to my E-School, because that’s precisely why it exists.
The steps I share here are the covered in greater detail in module 2 of the course.
One thing I didn’t have starting out was a good mentor or support system, someone who could show me the ropes and answer my questions.
I’ll admit – there was a lot I was too embarrassed to ask other business owners.
I hope this list helps you on your way. If you’re interested in the course, I’d love to be that mentor for you.
If nothing else, feel free to join my Facebook group – an ever-growing community of Canadian entrepreneurs in all stages of business- so you have a place to ask questions.
Without further adieu, here are the basic first steps to going into business.
1: Decide on your business type.
Will you be a sole proprietor, or incorporated?
There are different tax rules, write off methods and implications, deciding on the route you take.
There may potentially be a cost to switch types later.
Some people assume that going into business means a trip down to Registries to incorporate. That’s not what it means at all.
2: Register your company properly (if you are incorporated).
“Properly” depends on your industry.
In some cases, you may need a lawyer to help with the registration process.
Some people confuse registering a trade name with registering a business, when in fact, that’s a different step altogether.
When you register, your company will be given a number as its name – something like “1234567 Alberta Ltd”.
You can’t change this, but you can register a trade name (see step 4) that the public will know you by.
3: If you have a partner, do a USA.
USA stands for Unanimous Partnership Agreement.
Think of it as the business equivalent of a prenuptial agreement.
You and your partner lay out what will happen in the event of this, that, or the other, how you will get paid, what each is responsible for, who is liable if this happens, what are the no-nos, and the like.
Regardless of who your partner is, or partners, a USA is a must-do. Don’t even think twice about it.
The only downside is in not having one – and we’re talking a possibly nightmarish legal downside.
4: Register a trade name.
When you registered your company, it was assigned a number.
In this step, head down to your local Registries office with your name of choice – Sally’s Shoes, for instance.
5: Open a business bank account.
Keeping business and personal expenses separate seems like a no-brainer, but it’s often easier said than done.
I dealt with mixed receipts from my bookkeeping clients all the time.
This is one area where you can benefit from building good habits in the beginning and maintaining them.
6: Designate a personal credit card for business use only and keep it that way.
If you have very good personal credit, your bank may issue a business credit card sooner, securing your personal credit against it.
But typically, a bank is unlikely to approve you for a business credit card for two years.
Like your business bank account, don’t use it for personal purchases.
7: Decide on invoicing software.
Some that I love-love-love: Freshbooks, Invoices to go, and 17Hats.
I personally use 17Hats for my consulting. It also does contracts!
8: Talk to a bookkeeper or take our e-school.
You need to understand the business side of business.
Your CRA obligations, how businesses are taxed, to name just a few.
A bookkeeper can give you some insight, but e-school is doubly advantageous – not only do you get the bookkeeping advice you need, but the support of an established entrepreneur and business teacher as well.
A word of caution: don’t wait for tax time to talk to a bookkeeper.
Not only are they usually swamped and may not have much time for you, but it will likely be far too late to do anything about any mistakes in your books or missed write off opportunities.
9: Stay organized, especially with receipts.
There is nothing costlier, from the bookkeeper’s perspective, than a client who comes in disorganized.
It will cost you more to have that mess of receipts sorted.
If it’s tax season, you’re one of hundreds of clients and therefore, probably just another number.
They’ll do their best but expect more taxes and a higher bookkeeping bill.
This may be the end of the list, but it’s really just the beginning! I hope this helps you get started.
Now that you know the process is really just some planning and a few trips to your local Registries with a couple of stops around town, it doesn’t seem so intimidating, does it?
Don’t forget to join our Facebook group, so you always have a place to ask questions.
Good luck out there, and welcome to the Canadian entrepreneur club!