Entrepreneur Checklist

checklistBeing an entrepreneur means you have the desire to create and follow your own path to success. Following that path takes courage. It means you push fear out of your way and forge ahead with your idea facing challenges along the way. Here are a few things that can answer some of your how to’s and help you get started.

Starting a small business in Nova Scotia?

Evaluating your Business Idea
When you think you have a great idea for a business, talk to people you can trust. Bounce the idea off your friends and family members, and see what they think of your business idea. This is a great way to do research and get feedback to see if others think your idea is a good one. Your friends and family will be truthful with you, point out the pitfalls, and ask questions about how you will make money with your business idea. They will also tell you if they think there is a place in the market for the type of business you are thinking about starting. If you can answer their questions and know how your business idea will work and how you will make money, there is a chance it may be a viable business opportunity. 
 

Market Research
Do your market research.

1.Find out if there are other similar businesses in your area.
2. How much competition is in your area?  
3. Will it be a business that will have sales opportunities all year long, or is it seasonal?
4. Will you offer anything different or unique?
5. Who is your target market?
6. Can you be price competitive?
7. How much of an investment will you need to start your business?

These are some of the questions you need to answer.

 

Business Plan
Once you have done your research, the next step is to put together your business plan. Writing a good business plan will help keep you on course once you make the decision to go forward with your idea. Your business plan should include:
  1. A company profile
  2. A list of your products and services
  3. A market analysis
  4. A market strategy
  5. Information about your operation including: production process, costs, personnel, hours of operation and government regulations, requirements, licenses, duties, and tariffs
  6. A list of opportunities, critical risks, and problems you may have
  7. A forecast of income, cash flow, and balances
Depending on the type of business you want to start, other considerations may be applicable. If you are looking for financing from a lender, it is always a good idea to include your résumé, references, and, if possible, letters of intent.

You may want to have help from an expert if you are not familiar with writing a business plan, or you can download a business plan template at:

http://www.bdc.ca/EN/articles-tools/entrepreneur-toolkit/templates-business-guides/Pages/business-plan-template.aspx
 



Where is the Money?
How do you plan to finance your business? Entrepreneurs often think there is money available from government for starting a business. In some cases, this may be true, but most times you must self-finance or get a little creative. If your business plan is solid and you meet the criteria of your financial institution, you may be able to borrow the money. Another option may be family members or friends. It is often easier to get financing from government or financial institutions once you have your business up and running and can show that your business can be profitable. 

To see if you qualify for a Small Business Loan in Nova Scotia visit:

http://www.novascotia.coop/programs/small-business-loan-guarantee-program/

For more information on Business Grants and Financing visit:
https://www.canada.ca/en/services/business/grants.html

For more information on Money and Finance visit: 
https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/money-finance/pages/default.aspx
 



Registering your Business 
When you decide on a name for your business, you must check with the Registry of Joint Stock Companies to see if the name you want to use is available. This can be done before or while you are putting your plan together. There is a fee for the name search, and once that name is reserved for you by the registry, you then pay to register the name. It is now uniquely yours. For more information on registering your business, go to:

http://www.novascotia.ca/sns/access/business/registry-joint-stock-companies.asp
 

HST Registration
If your business has gross annual revenues of $30,000 or more, you must register for HST. As a new business, you may want to wait before registering. For more information on registering for HST, go to:

http://www.novascotia.ca/sns/paal/tax/paal050.asp
 

Helping your Business Grow
It is important to have a strategic plan to identify how you will grow your business. There are many things that will help raise your business profile and attract customers. Having an online presence, advertising and networking are good ways to raise your business profile.  Hiring an expert in the area of strategic planning will help you get a plan tailored specifically to your business.

 
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