I Love It When A Plan Comes Together
I recently wrote about some of the steps necessary to successfully start your own business. The articles looked at your individual strengths and weaknesses, as will as how to determine the opportunities and threats that may exist in your industry. The articles also discussed how to determine what the key success factors are and how you can make your own business stand out (your competitive advantage).
There is an old expression that reads “those who fail to plan, plan to fail” and I really believe that this is true when starting a business. Recent studies state that about 1/3 of all new businesses fail within the first two years and that, after 5 years, approximately 55% of businesses fail.
So, with that in mind, it is important to do a little bit of ground work before you open your doors. This work is integral part to the completion of your own business plan. However, before you get too far into your business plan, you should make some decisions. A good site to refer to is http://www.canadabusiness.ca/eng/page/2749/ . There you will find a checklist of some decisions that you need to make prior to starting your business plan (or business). In particular, follow the links under Planning Your Business to help with some ideas on how to proceed. Here is the first menu of steps from the site.
Planning your business
Creating a solid business plan is vital to your success – you need to know where you expect to go long before you get there. Before you start writing your plan, you’ll want to make a number of key business decisions.
- Corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship?
Find out which type of business structure is right for your business.
- Naming your business
Choose the right name for your business. Your business name should be unique and easy to remember, and should describe the products and services you provide.
- Regulated industries
Find out how certain industry sectors are regulated and what some of the key business obligations are in those sectors.
- Choosing and setting up a location
Trying to decide where to locate your business and how to arrange it once you get there? Review the following resources and consider your options.
- Market research and statistics
Learn more about market research, how to conduct it and where to find free information and statistics to support your market research project.
- Marketing and sales
How well you market your business and interact with your customers can vastly influence your success.
The steps involved are not too onerous, and there are a number of government services available that make it relatively easy to do. However, as with most things in life, you should check with a professional. Most business lawyers and accountants can assist you in planning your business, or at the very least help to show you how you can go about doing it yourself (https://www.bconline.gov.bc.ca/ for example will allow you to do a name search and set up a corporation for around $400 whereas some law firms will charge upwards of $1000 fo rthe same service)
Another great resource to approach at this stage of your planning is your local Community Futures Branch. Here is the link for BC http://www.communityfutures.ca/index.html The professionals at my local office helped to get me started by providign me with free marketing workshops, some free access to business periodicals and online sites, free logo design help, free bookkeeping help, free….well, you get the picture. Many of their services are FREE but I was amazed at how few new business start-ups realized they were available.
So, there you have it…more homework to do. However, with strong planning, you will be more likely to survive past those first few years.