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10-Step Quick Guide to Starting a Business

Embarking on the fascinating journey of starting your own business in British Columbia, or anywhere else in the world, can be an exciting yet intimidating experience, especially if it is your first time. I wrote this quick guide for aspiring entrepreneurs who may be unsure about the essential steps and definitions involved in the process, and as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or book an online meeting with me. 



1. Conceptualize Your Business Idea

Before diving into the technicalities, begin by clearly defining your business idea. What product or service will you offer? Who is your target audience? Understanding the core of your business is the foundation upon which all other decisions will be built. If you want to take it a step further, check out this useful model: The business model canvas.  


2. Research and Plan Accordingly

Carrying out thorough research is crucial. Understand the market, competition, and potential challenges. Create a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals, target market, revenue streams, and marketing strategies. It will serve you in two main aspects: Attracting investors or lenders and having a clear roadmap that will help you to set and achieve your goals. The SWOT model, one of my favourites, is useful and will help you understand your business environment better. 


3. Choose a Business Structure

Selecting the right business structure is a critical decision. Options include sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company (LLC). Each structure has its advantages and implications for liability, taxation, and management. Consult with a legal professional or certified accountant to determine the most suitable structure for your business.


4. Register Your Business Name If You Need/Want To

Choose a unique and memorable name for your business that aligns with your brand and is easily searchable. Once you've decided on a name, consider registering it with the Corporate Registry in British Columbia. This step is helpful to establish your legal identity and protect your brand. Note that many business owners choose to start their business without registering their business name, but in some sectors it is very important to do so. A useful place where you can check if someone is already using the name you have in mind is the Canadian Trademarks Database


When you choose a name, try to implement as many of the following aspects: 

  • Make sure it differentiates you but is still very memorable. Differentiation is important, but not in any price!

  • Think long-term and take into account where you want your business to develop. 

  • Ask people for their opinion and sleep on it. Sometimes we fall in love with a name that in hindsight, wasn’t 100% accurate for us. 

  • Don’t be too creative. Creativity is great, as long as it doesn’t harm the ability of your audience to remember your name. 

  • Carefully check databases, social media platforms, and search engines to ensure no one is already using that name.


5. Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses

Some may say that British Columbia is heavily regulated and depending on your field of operation and the nature of your business, you may want/need specific permits and licenses to operate legally. Research the requirements applicable to your business and secure all necessary approvals. This step ensures compliance with local regulations and helps avoid legal complications in the future. It may also help you with business insurance if you’ll need one. 


6. Consider Opening a Business Bank Account

Separating personal and business finances is important for financial management and tax purposes (some business structures require you to have a separate bank account for the business). Open a business bank account to keep your business transactions distinct. This will simplify accounting processes, provide transparency, and ensure accurate financial reporting.


7. Secure Funding for Your Business If Necessary 

Consider your financial needs and explore funding options. This could involve personal savings, loans, grants, or investors. Research the various financing avenues available in British Columbia and choose the one that aligns with your business goals and financial situation. From my experience, the marketing cost aspect is often overlooked, so make sure you get the full picture of your marketing budget. 


8. Set Up an Accounting System

Maintain accurate financial records from the start. Implement an efficient accounting system to track income, expenses, and taxes. Whether you choose to use accounting software or hire a professional accountant, a solid financial foundation is crucial for long-term success. There are many alternatives out there, usually with monthly subscriptions.


9. Hire Employees and Understand Employment Standards

If your business requires a team, familiarize yourself with employment standards in British Columbia. Understand the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees. Create a welcoming work environment and establish clear employment contracts to protect both parties.


10. Obtain Business Insurance

Protect your business from unforeseen circumstances by securing appropriate insurance coverage. Depending on your industry, this may include liability insurance, property insurance, or professional indemnity insurance. Assess your specific needs and consult with insurance professionals to tailor a policy for your business.


Key Takeaway: There are several crucial steps to starting a new business and many questions to answer. Each of these steps holds many sub-steps, but once you dive into them, you’ll figure out exactly what you need to ask yourself to ensure you clearly see what’s around the corner while avoiding some major pitfalls.


Want to meet with Yahel Demeter for a free Business Coaching Session? Click here to book it and get practical action items to elevate your business:


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