How start up a Business

how to start business for beginners and how to start business for students
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AustinMcmahon,United Kingdom,Researcher
Published Date:16-07-2017
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Starting Your Business A guide to resources for BC women breeding legal services investment and insurance hic design house painting eldercare interior dec counselling wholesale building contracting boo ing advertising manufacturing website design tourism financial planning health spa bistro p l coach computer training management consulti truction media art gallery advertising accounti munications production company dog breedingGetting Started Dolly Watts is a wonder. At age 49, she went to university; at 57, she started a catering business; at 60, she opened a restaurant. And at 69, she won the Gold Medal in an Iron Chef competition in Vancouver. Dolly owns and operates Liliget Feast House in Vancouver, a restaurant that celebrates the aboriginal food of her childhood. In 2001, she won a National Aboriginal Achievement award for business and commerce. Dolly estimates that, between her catering business and her restaurant, she’s spent “more than 1 million in wages for aboriginal people.” Liliget is a combination of all the things that matter to Dolly: she’s an organizer and a manager, and she enjoys the business end; her family works with her; the restaurant features native cooking; and it gives her a chance to share her Git’ksan heritage and culture with customers. Dolly Watts “I knew it was the only native restaurant in Canada,” she says, “and because Liliget Feast House I studied anthropology at university, I could talk to anyone about our culture. I was very outspoken and not shy to talk about it.” Even Dolly’s website fi nds a balance between savvy marketing and being true to herself. She’s a poet, and uses her website to give customers another sense of her life. “I always wanted to own a business, but I didn’t “When we launched the website, we launched it at an international market – know what kind. I was especially the poetry. I wanted people to see what my life was really like – always exploring. that it really was me picking berries, or participating in a large funeral. People are really thankful to learn about native people.” “This one came straight at me, and I couldn’t turn it down. People wanted everything I cooked. I really had no choice.” You have a great idea, and you wonder why no one thought of it before. Before you start fi lling out loan applications or renting offi ce space, ask yourself some tough questions – and be prepared to do your homework. 1. Do you have what it takes to be your own boss? To manage a successful business, you’ll need:  Passion for your idea and the ability to communicate it to others.  Motivation to develop a plan and to work hard to carry it out.  Problem-solving skills.  Multi-tasking skills to handle a hundred details at once, as well as develop and manage your business strategy.  Self-confi dence: trust in your decisions and people skills.  Flexibility to recognize and adapt to change, opportunities and unforeseen developments.  Ability to sell yourself and your products or services.  Persistence to see your idea through. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 22. What’s your vision? Why do you want to go into business? Is it to follow your passion, take control of your life and career, achieve infl uence and success, or become fi nancially independent? How would a business help you achieve that? How do you expect things to look three years down the road? See “Building Your Plan,” page 8. Are you a one-woman 3. Who might want to buy your product or service? band, a micro business or a SME (small or medium- It’s all about people. Your decisions on everything from product to price to sized enterprise)? location need to be based on the characteristics and needs of your potential customers. See “Defi ning Your Market,” page 6.  Sole proprietorship: that’s just you. 4. How would you manage fi nancially?  Micro business: under You may need money to pay for offi ce space, supplies, equipment, inventory 5 employees. and to cover your personal income needs, perhaps for a year or more. See “Finding the Money,” page 12.  Small business: 5-50 employees. 5. What do you need to know to run a business?  Medium-sized Think multi-tasking: you will have to manage your space, inventory, business: 50-100 suppliers, fi nances, marketing and correspondence. Even if you hire employees. professionals to help, you will need to understand enough of what they do to oversee their work and apply it to your situation. See “Learning the Ropes,” page 16. 6. How would a business aff ect your personal life? The fi rst three years in a new business are usually defi ned by a steep learning curve and long hours. Many business owners put holidays and personal plans on hold until they become established. Good organization, clear boundaries and the cooperation of family members are critical to success. See “Finding the Balance,” page 20. Resources  Self-assessment and business resources for women, www.wes.bc.ca, 1-800-643-7014.  “Getting Started,” www.smallbusinessbc.ca. Follow the Small Business link to Online Small Business Workshop, or call 1-800-667-2272.  “Exploring Business Opportunities: A Guide for Entrepreneurs,” www.gov.bc.ca/sbed. Click on Reports and Publications.  Strategis Guides: “Starting a Business,” http://strategis.gc.ca.  “Business Start-Up Assistant: Your Guide to Starting a Small Business in Canada,” http://bsa.cbsc.org.  “Business for Beginners” (3rd ed.), Frances McGuckin. Eastleigh Publications, 2003.  “Starting a Successful Business in Canada” (16th ed.), J.D. James. International Self-Counsel Press, 2004. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 3Working From Home? If ever there was a textbook good-news business story, Christine Corkan’s is it. She had run down the street for a coffee and missed her son’s soccer goal. While she was climbing back up the bleachers, it hit her: why not bring the coffee to the people? “Vancouver is a coffee city, and it’s a recreating city.” she says. “Most people have three bucks in their pocket for a latte. I’m pretty much a normal person, and if I wanted this, I knew others would want it too.” Christine was already working part-time, but she didn’t feel her future was secure. So she started pursuing her dream, a business she could manage from home. She did a lot of background work while she established her business, a gourmet coffee café on wheels. She was never daunted, even though it took more than a year to go from the light bulb to the fi rst latte. “I just took it one day at a time, learned what the next step was and did it.” Christine Corkan Java Jazz Christine discovered that she’s a hit with her niche market – parents Mobile Café Ltd. watching their kids at the park. Her challenge now is to rein in her business. With her own children at home, she’s determined to have her business serve her life, not the other way around. So when she thinks about expansion, she looks at options that support that philosophy, like franchising her Mobile Café. “I like to get out there with the truck to make “I work about six hours a day on the weekend. I like that I don’t have a sign contacts and keep fans that says I’m open from 9-5, whether people want the coffee or not. I’m warm more than just around for a few hours, then I go home.” about anything.” You don’t have to run a full-fl edged operation with inventory, a storefront and employees to be a legitimate business. If you sell fl owers at a roadside stand or design websites from your home, you own a business. It doesn’t matter that your offi ce is a computer in the corner of the bedroom or that it’s a part-time commitment. Consultants and people who own cottage and hobby-oriented businesses will benefi t from taking their enterprise as seriously as a corporate CEO. No matter how big or small your business, you’re investing time, money and intellectual capital to make it work. The good news is that your business can be shaped to meet your needs. Keep it simple, or make it as complex as you like. Whatever your style, consider the following advice. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 4First, get the fi nancial facts One of the biggest advantages of working from home is being able to deduct a portion of your living expenses. Make an appointment with an accountant or fi nancial advisor, who can explain how much of your rent, mortgage, utilities and car costs you can declare. They can also help you set up a straightforward bookkeeping system. Consider buying your own Internet address, featuring Make sure you talk about GST. If you earn more than 30,000 a year, it’s your company name. Doing mandatory to charge it to your customers. But if you earn less, you have a so will give you: choice to opt out (information current as of 2004). The advantage of  an email address that charging GST is that you can also claim any GST you pay on business- promotes your business; related expenses – from a box of staples to a new laptop computer.  a memorable Internet address for your future website; and Set up a separate business identity and accounts  a virtual identity that stays the same, even if If you live with other people (especially teenagers), get a business phone. you change service Record a professional voice mail message and don’t let anyone else answer providers. incoming calls. If you don’t want to have two phone lines in your home, use a cell phone. Apply for a credit card in your own name, and use only it for business transactions. Not only will you build your credit record, it’s a good way to track and record business expenses. Pay the entire bill each month, from a line of credit if necessary, to avoid high interest rates. Set up a separate business bank account. Use it to deposit your cheques and pay all business-related costs. If you qualify for a line of credit or overdraft, attach it to this account. It will cover the gaps between sending an invoice and receiving a cheque. You can also write off any interest costs you’re charged on a line of credit or credit card that is used specifi cally for purchases for your business. Resources  “Starting a Home-Based Business: A Manual for Success,” www.gov.bc.ca/sbed. Click on Reports and Publications.  “The Women’s Home-Based Business Book of Answers: 78 Important Questions Answered by Top Women Business Leaders,” Maria T. Bailey. Roseville, California, 2001.  “Raising Your Business: a Canadian Woman’s Guide to Entrepreneurship,” Joanne Thomas Yaccato with Paula Jubinville. Prentice Hall Canada, 1998. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 5Defi ning Your Market Janet Feirin was a young mother of three children. She had a gluten sensitivity and nowhere to buy wheat-free products. So she perfected a range of specialty recipes and launched her business. “I started selling spelt bread every Saturday at the East Vancouver Farmers’ Market and within two or three weeks, I was selling out,” she said. “I thought: Okay – this is my test market. If I can sell here, there’s a customer base. And if there’s a customer base, it might make sense to open a storefront.” Janet started a business plan. But in 1998, there wasn’t a lot of information about either specialty breads or gluten-sensitive customers. “My fi rst problem was how to do market research on something that doesn’t exist yet. One way I showed a growth in the industry was by looking back in the Yellow Pages. In 1995, there wasn’t even a listing for organic products. Janet Feirin In 1997, there were four places. And in 1998, there were 11 places. That’s Arán Foods Inc. how I showed growth.” Janet built a website so people looking for wheat-free bread could fi nd her. She also sent brochures to naturopaths, dieticians and nutritionists. “I made sure that the medical professionals who were diagnosing people with food intolerances had information about my products.” ”These days, Janet’s business is well “There used to be only two places in Vancouver where you could buy established, and she’s organic food. Now you can buy it at Safeway. “That didn’t just happen … still conducting market over the years, people have actually been purchasing organics, and putting research. “I listen to their money where their mouths are. the news and the latest health issue is trans-fat free food,” she says. “You want to gear your business to what your customers need.” Every business decision you make, from the design, production and pricing of your product or service, to the location of the store or offi ce, to the way you choose to advertise will be determined by two questions: who are your customers and what do they want? The more you know about who your customers are, the more successful your business will be. Market research is all about getting to know your service or product, potential customers, the competition and your business environment. You can do your own research, or you can hire a market research fi rm. Primary research is gathered through formal or informal surveys. It helps determine how potential customers feel about the products or services you plan to offer, what they like or dislike about them, how much they’d pay, or if they’d drive across town to make the purchase. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 6Secondary research includes existing statistics about your industry and customers (like geographic location, population), gathered from sources such as Statistics Canada, BC Stats, Small Business BC, libraries, government and economic development agencies, local Community Futures offi ces, Chambers of Commerce, universities and publications. Getting information can sometimes be challenging if you’re researching new industries, or doing business in rural areas. Your market research will answer key questions such as: Who is your target market? How many potential customers do you have and what are their habits? Are they male or female? What are their ages, races, income and education levels? Where do they live? What do they have in common? Explore every avenue for potential customers. In “The 80% Minority,” Joanne Yaccato notes that What is their purchasing power? Buying habits? How much disposable 80 percent of all consumer income do your customers have? How much do they spend on products or decisions are made or services similar to yours? Do they value cost savings or time savings? Is strongly infl uenced by convenience a decision point for them? women. Knowing this may affect how you package, What’s the psychological makeup of your customers? What values distribute and support and qualities do they hold near and dear? Are they swayed by low prices or your product or service. high ethical standards? Are they impulse buyers or not? Will word of mouth and reputation infl uence them? Who is your competition? What are your competitors’ marketing advantages? Disadvantages? Are there any niches you can fi ll? What can you do for your customers that your competition isn’t already doing? What environmental factors are you dealing with? Are there any big-picture social or economic issues that could affect your business? For example, is the local economy growing or stagnating? Will you suffer if the Canadian dollar drops or rises? Is your target market a certain age? What happens when they outgrow your product? The information you collect will reveal trends, opportunities and vulnerabilities. You may need to modify the design of your product or service, adjust your price, widen your territory or carry a broader range of products. Or you may fi nd that your inspiration was bang-on. Resources  Market Research for Small Business, www.biztown.ca.  Small Business BC, www.smallbusinessbc.ca/research.  E-business Connection, www.e-bc.ca.  BC Stats, www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca.  Statistics Canada, www.statcan.ca.  Business Gateway, http://businessgateway.ca.  Strategis Guides: “Researching Markets”, http://strategis.gc.ca. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 7Building Your Plan When Chanel Yang submitted her business plan for L’amour du Vin in a competition, she was looking for two things: the 1,000 prize money, and the chance to have her plan critiqued by professionals. “At fi rst, I thought a business plan wasn’t very important, that it was just paperwork. But because we wanted to open a winemaking store, and we needed to look at the local market, we visited our competitors’ stores looking for their strengths and weaknesses. We started to make notes about the character, the staff, etc. so we would remember.” Those notes were the start of her business plan. When she registered her store’s name, Chanel noticed a promotion for Small Business BC’s annual province-wide business plan competition. She entered, and spent the next two weeks completing her plan. As a result, she started focusing in on her target market, their needs, a marketing plan and Chanel Yang possible locations. L’amour du Vin Winemaking Chanel’s analysis turned up an unexpected opportunity – there was market potential for serving the needs of connoisseurs who make their own wine for love of the process and the product. That knowledge determined her location in an upscale neighbourhood. Chanel won the prize, but the real value was the fact that she ended up with “We did everything: a comprehensive business plan. “I think we won because we had Plan A and we bought a map of the Plan B, and we considered what we could do if something didn’t work,” she city and put coloured says. “Our business plan was very detailed, and now that we’re thinking of dots on it so we could expanding, I’m looking at those sections again.” see what locations didn’t have this kind of store. We went to a liquor store to ask people our survey questions. It all went into the business plan.” If you’re serious about having a business, here’s where you start. Writing a business plan will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your idea, your resources and your situation. It will help you decide if you should pursue your idea, and help keep you on track as you grow. And if you’re looking for fi nancing or investors, a business plan is essential. You can hire someone to draft your plan, but if you can, it’s best to prepare it yourself and start getting to know your business inside and out. Take the time to review several sample plans, and make use of one of the templates and models available online or in print. An online interactive business planner (see Resources) can help you break the task into manageable chunks. Make sure you study the automated fi nan- cial reports it will generate to learn how they work and relate to each other. You will need to fully understand these reports to answer questions from lenders and investors later on. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 8A typical business plan includes: Company information: Sets out your company’s name, history, size, type of operation (home-based, or commercial), legal structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, incorporated company) and location. See “Making it Offi cial” on page 11. This part also describes your intentions, which may be expressed in a vision or mission statement. Your business plan will help you: Product or service information: Describes the nature of your product  defi ne your business or service, its key features and benefi ts and its competitive advantages. vision;  identify the demand for Management plan: Outlines the ownership and management structure your product/service; of your business. It includes division of responsibilities, resumes for yourself  decide how to price and your management team and contact information for lawyers, bankers or your product/service; accountants.  clarify what you need in a location; Market research and analysis: Describes the nature and size of the  determine your budget industry in which you will operate, growth potential, common costs and profi t and fi nancing needs; margins, current trends and future prospects for your product or service. It  identify risks and what identifi es your potential customers or target market (gender, interest group, to do about them; and location, income level, their buying trends). Explores market trends and  choose an effective unique challenges of different regions in the province that could affect your marketing strategy. plans. Analyzes your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and how you measure up. See “Defi ning Your Market” on page 6. Over the long term, it will help you establish your Marketing plan: Describes how you intend to present your product or business credibility and service to your customers, and how will you spread the word: through measure your progress. advertising, trade shows, networking, word of mouth, etc. Includes the pricing, sales and distribution strategy of your product or service. See “Getting the Word Out” on page 18. Operations plan: Describes where you will run your business (home, offi ce, warehouse, etc.). Lists licenses, permits and insurance you may need, along with materials, equipment, and suppliers. Describes your plan for production, inventory and staffi ng, if applicable. Financial information: Analyzes how much it will cost to run your business and how much you will earn. Includes where you intend to get fi nancing, and what the funds will be used for. Provides essential fi nancial statements you will need to get loans or investors – cash fl ow projections, a starting balance sheet, a projection of anticipated income, and a break-even analysis. See “Finding the Money” on page 12. Risk analysis: Identifi es how key risk factors such as the economy, new competitors, supplier problems, technologies, legal issues, personnel turnover – even weather trends – might affect your business. Describes how you will manage those risks. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 9Implementation plan: Sets out a schedule showing when each step will be completed – fi nancing, fi nding a location, fi nalizing licences, acquiring equipment, hiring staff and launching a marketing campaign, along with future milestones for measuring progress. The elements of a business plan will vary depending on the nature of your What’s your business business and in some cases, your lender’s requirements. structure? You may spend months writing your business plan, but it will be worth it. Will you operate as: Start with the information you have and fi ll in the blanks as you learn more.  a sole proprietorship; The exercise of preparing the plan will guide you to think about all aspects  a general partnership; of operating your business, and will go a long way to turning your idea into a reality.  a limited partnership; or  a corporation? The kind of business you Resources set up will determine how you manage accounts, records and much more. For help weighing the pros Templates and Models and cons of each, see:  See “How to Write an Effective Business Plan” and “The Business www.smallbusinessbc.ca Planning Process” at the Women’s Enterprise Society of BC website, www.wes.bc.ca.  Small Business BC’s Interactive Business Planner, sample business plans and other resources are available at http://smallbusinessbc.ca. Follow the “Small Business Guides” link to the “Business Planning” page.  See ”Start and Run Guides” at www.self-counsel.com.  Community Futures business links: www.communityfutures.ca/links.index.  “Journey to Success – Aboriginal Women’s Business Planning Guide” is available in English, French and Inuktitut on the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) website, www.inac.gc.ca (see “Publications”). For hardcopies of this publication, call toll-free 1-800-567-9604 (TTY for hearing impaired 1-866-553-0554), or e-mail infopubsainc-inac.gc.ca.  First Business, a site dedicated to B.C.’s Aboriginal entrepreneurs, includes a planning workshop and sample business plans based on First Nations businesses, www.fi rstbusiness.ca. Business Counselling  Women’s Enterprise Society of BC offers complimentary business counselling for women, including business plan assessment. Phone 1-800-643-7014.  A business plan advisory service is provided free of charge by Small Business BC. Call toll-free 1-800-667-2272 (604-775-5525 in Vancouver), or e-mail Askussmallbusinessbc.ca.  Many fi nancial institutions provide small business counselling services, often tailored to women, and/or youth and Aboriginal entrepreneurs. Check with your credit union or bank. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 10Making It Offi cial Once you’ve completed your business plan, you are ready to take the At the OneStop Business following steps to establish your business formally and legally. (Note: some Registry, you can do the of the services require a fee.) most commonly required business registrations and Choose your business name and get it approved: This is the fi rst transactions from your step in registering or incorporating your business. For instructions, see home, offi ce, or one of www.bcbusinessregistry.ca. many OneStop kiosks. See www.bcbusinessregistry.ca Register your company: Next you register your proprietorship or or call 1-877-822-6727 partnership, or incorporate your company. For instructions, see (in Victoria, call 370-0332). www.bcbusinessregistry.ca. At OneStop, you’ll fi nd Get a business licence: Contact your municipality or district to obtain a information to assist your business licence and to ensure you are meeting land use and zoning bylaws. registration decisions and See “Municipalities” on www.bcbusinessregistry.ca or look in the Blue your business address Pages section of your phone book. change notifi cations. You can register for: Choose and register a Domain Name for your website (optional).  GST Register for provincial taxes, including sales tax: If you buy goods  Payroll deductions for wholesale or retail sale, or provide taxable services, apply for a social  Corporate Income Tax service tax registration certifi cate. See www.rev.gov.bc.ca/ctb or call  Import/Export 1-877-388-4440, 604 660-4524 (Vancouver) or 250 387-0636 (Victoria).  Worker’s Compensation  PST Obtain a Federal Business Number (BN): You need a Business Number if you are incorporated, if you import or export, if you have  Hotel Room Tax employees, or if you charge GST. See http://businessgateway.ca or  Municipal business call 1-800-959-5525. licences Register with Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB): If you plan to hire employees, you need a BN (see above) and must register with the Workers’ Compensation Board. You should also be familiar with Employment Standards. If you’re incorporated, you must register with WCB at www.worksafebc.com. Set up your business records: You will need an orderly record and accounting system, and are required to keep records for at least seven years. See the Keeping Records section in “Guide for Canadian Small Businesses”, online at www.cra-arc.gc.ca. Review British Columbia regulations: Talk to your lawyer or business counsellor to fi nd out about any regulatory bodies that govern your business and any relevant legislation. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 11Finding the Money Eight years ago, Karen Murphy needed a small loan to set up a home-based business. Three years later, she moved into offi ce space. In 2002, she got a third loan to cover the costs of expanding into an even larger space. “My business plan looked good from the growth perspective, but the bank didn’t think I could pull off that growth. I was projecting hundreds of thousands of dollars. Banks look at bottom line of what you did last year, but my business is growth oriented. I keep looking at next year, when I’ve added these new corporate clients.” So Karen looked to other business lenders – Community Futures and the Women’s Enterprise Society of BC. She got her fi rst loan with a minimum of fuss, and returned to Women’s Enterprise Society of BC for expansion loans. “I have a great track record with them,” she says. “I’ve met every target, and my fi nancials rose every month. Karen Murphy Express Gift Baskets Inc. “My best advice to anyone starting out is to spend a lot of time on your busi- ness plan. Make sure your numbers are as concrete as possible. Put as much information into your business plan as you can get.” These days, Express Gift Baskets is an unqualifi ed success. Karen ships baskets all over the world, and even Oprah Winfrey has ordered on-line. In “Start up and expansion fact, Karen expects that she will have to expand once again … but this time, are expensive. I had to hopes to fi nance that move from her own revenues. spend money to develop our website, design a catalogue and hire staff. I had to present myself as a big business before I was one.” How much is enough? When you are fi guring out how much money you will need, work out both business and personal budgets. Then calculate how much revenue your business needs to generate to cover both. You might want to take a course in fi nancial management to learn how your business fi nances and personal fi nances relate to each other. Be realistic. If you underestimate your costs and overestimate your revenue – a common mistake of start-up businesses – you will run into problems almost immediately. You will need to develop and understand key fi nancial statements and tools (see next page), especially if you apply for a loan. You can put these together with the assistance of an accountant or bookkeeper, or use templates from some of the business plan resources. For the fi rst year or two, you will have to rely on estimates. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 12Key Financial Tools Generally, there are Income Statement: A fi nancial performance report lays out how much you two sources of money: expect to earn (revenue), and the expenses you will incur during a specifi c  investment (equity) timeframe. It is typically developed along with a Balance Sheet. fi nancing from people Balance Sheet: A status report, or ‘snapshot’ of the fi nancial state of your who expect to share in business at a given point in time. It shows what your company owns (assets), the eventual benefi ts of what is owed (liabilities) and what is left over for you (equity). your business; and  debt fi nancing (loans) Cash Flow Statement: Shows the fl ow of cash into and out of your business during a specifi c time frame. This includes when and where you from people and will get your money and what you will spend it on. This is the most realistic institutions who expect picture of your business, as it indicates how much cash you will have the money, plus interest, available at any given time to keep your business running. repaid according to an agreed-upon schedule. Break-even Analysis: This is the volume of sales you need to cover your costs. At the break-even point, there is no loss or profi t to your business. Getting the money Once you’ve completed your business plan and fi nancial statements, you will have a clear picture of how much money you need to start and operate your business for the fi rst critical year. Most new businesses rely on a combination of personal savings, investments from friends and family, and loans to get up and running. Ask other business people about their experiences, and consult an accountant, bookkeeper or fi nancial manager to learn more about the types and sources of fi nancing that will work best for your situation. Overdraft protection: Covers shortfalls in your business account up to an approved limit. Interest is charged only on the amount you borrow and the rates are competitive. Monthly administration fees usually apply. Credit cards: Personal and small-business credit cards provide short-term loans for smaller purchases, and they can be approved with little or no security. The interest rates are usually higher than traditional loans, but there’s no interest if you pay off the balance every month. But be careful: if you can’t pay off the outstanding balance, interest costs will accumulate quickly. Operating line of credit: A loan with a set limit; you can draw on it when needed. Interest rates are lower than most credit cards and some loans, and you only pay interest on the outstanding balance. There are no fi xed payments, except for a monthly fee and interest, meaning you have the option of paying down the loan as you can afford it. It is usually secured by your house or other assets. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 13Term loans are longer-term, used to cover expensive items such as capital equipment, real estate or renovations. They have established monthly payments, so it’s easy to budget. The lender will ask you for security for the loan (equity in your home, cash, equipment, etc.). Shop around for competitive interest rates for term loans. If you miss a payment, the lender What Does it Mean? has a right to demand immediate repayment. Collateral or Security: Equity investors provide fi nancing in exchange for a share of ownership, Property or goods you or equity, in your business, or simply a repayment of their investment. They pledge to the lender until can be public or private, and are often family or close personal contacts. the loan is repaid, e.g., Because of that, interest is often nominal or non-existent, and they may equity in your house, car, also be fl exible in the repayment schedule. However, borrowing money from savings, equipment. friends and family can sometimes put a strain on the relationship. Public Asset: Any item of value equity investors generally only consider very large investments with large owned by your business, returns. e.g., cash, stock, equip- ment, inventory, property, Venture capital comes from a pool of investors who are looking for a goodwill. higher return. While they are usually interested in more established companies, they will consider start-ups if the potential is good. They Liability: Money your generally seek a very high rate of return for their investment. business owes to other parties, which could Angel investors look for higher risk investments with good growth include suppliers, lenders, potential. They can be diffi cult to fi nd, are generally attracted to technology- employees. related companies and often have very specifi c requirements that must be Equity: The value of your met. Angel investors usually are interested in long-term, high-return business with liabilities investments. deducted from your assets. Also refers to the Grants do not require repayment. The criteria are usually very specifi c, and ownership interest of the application procedure can be long and time-consuming. Grants are more shareholders in your readily available for specialized and high-tech industries. business. Credit: Repayment Your credit rating arrangement between your business and your lenders If you have a limited or poor credit history, you may not be able to get a loan or suppliers, and maximum without a co-signer. Some women fi nd that they have an insuffi cient credit amounts they will extend history because mortgages and loans are written up in their partner’s name, to you. or they have always used cash – instead of debt – to pay for their purchases. Credit Rating: Your history of repaying loans, credit cards and other fi nancial obligations on schedule. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 14Resources  To check your credit rating, you can call Equifax Canada at Sources of 1-800-465-7166 to order a free credit assessment or visit fi nancing www.equifax.com/EFX_Canada/consumer_information_centre. Financial institutions: Budgets and Bookkeeping chartered banks, credit unions and trust  “Simply Essential Personal Budgeting,” Sylvia S. Lim, CFP, CGA. companies. Self-Counsel Press, 2002. Government-sponsored  “Balancing act: a Canadian woman’s fi nancial success guide” (revised loan programs: industry, and updated), Joanne Thomas Yaccato. Penguin, 2003. economic and regional  “Basic Bookkeeping,” Canada Business Service Centres, development loans, www.cbsc.org. Select “Popular Business Topics,” then “General and loans for specifi c Management.” populations.  “Bookkeepers’ Boot Camp: Get a Grip on Accounting Basics,” Angie Private capital sources: Mohr. Self-Counsel Press, 2003. including angel investors  “Financial Understanding for Small Business” Self Study Guide, (see page 14). www.bbtb.ca. Corporate sources: Some corporations offer Financing grants or awards for  Women’s Enterprise Society of BC Loans Program, www.wes.bc.ca. entrepreneurs. Select “Financing.” Grants and tax credits:  Small Business BC, www.smallbusinessbc.ca/fi nancing. These can help reduce the cost of operating your  Ministry of Small Business and Economic Development programs to business help small businesses access capital: www.equitycapital.gov.bc.ca or 1-800-665-6597.  Western Economic Diversifi cation Canada, www.wd.gc.ca. Select “Business Tools and Guides,” then “Sources of Financing.”  First Citizens Fund – Business Loan Program & Business Loan Aftercare Program, www.mcaws.gov.bc.ca/fcfund or 250 356-5276.  Industry Canada’s Strategis site, www.strategis.gc.ca (see Business Support/Financing).  Business Development Bank of Canada, www.bdc.ca.  ABLED Business Loan Program for persons with disabilities, www.wd.gc.ca/fi nance/programs/microABLED_e.asp.  Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, www.hrsdc.gc.ca. See “Individuals,” then “Persons with Disabilities.”  Community Futures Development Corporation Growthstart Fund, www.communityfutures.ca. Select “British Columbia.” STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 15Learning the Ropes When Deirdre Campbell left her job at a Victoria public relations agency, she expected to move in with another agency in town. But her mentor, a long- time business associate, had other ideas. “He said that instead of going right back into a similar situation, I should use this setback to recover and move to a higher level. He said this is the best time to take the chance and start my own business, because I could always go back to where I was before. He was right.” Thanks to her mentor’s active support, Deirdre and a partner opened Tartan PR. They’ve carved out a niche in tourism public relations, and haven’t looked back. The challenge, she says, is to “choose someone who you feel strongly has something to teach you and won’t let you off easy, someone who will say to Deirdre Campbell you, ‘I think you can do this, and I don’t want to hear the whining.’ It’s also Tartan PR really important to get someone who will challenge you, but not tell you what to do. My mentor was never pushy. He just puts an idea out there and I make the decision when I’m ready.” Campbell is a mentor herself these days, and takes her role seriously. But she says it’s critical that people take charge of their own success. “I never “You really do feel that mind taking time, but people need to call me, not wait for me to call them. I you don’t want to let won’t be thinking about them all the time, because I’m busy too.” yourself down, or let your mentor down. But it’s a very positive pressure, not negative.” Learn from the best If this is your fi rst step into the business world, fi nd a mentor. A mentor can provide invaluable advice, insights and encouragement along the way to help you make thoughtful choices. If you can, work alongside another business owner in the same industry to gain some experience. Your mentor does not have to be in the same industry as you are, but she or he usually has more experience. Mentors can pass along valuable insights, making you think about things that might never have occurred to you. They can talk about the business-building process, industry trends, administration challenges, marketing strategies, what work is profi table – and what is not. Don’t confuse mentoring with free professional advice. For example, don’t ask a marketing consultant to help you build your website. Instead ask them to give you tips about or what to look for when hiring someone to do that. Don’t be afraid to ask. You will be surprised by how many people are willing to help. Many mentors want to give back or make a contribution to their industry or community, or to help a person they respect. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 16The nature of owning your own business is that you’re expected to know it all ... even if you don’t. While you can’t be an expert in everything, you should attempt to close gaps in your knowledge through a mentor, direct experience, or by taking some courses. If you only learn three things … Brush up on subjects that are applicable to your industry and business so Ideas for fi nding a mentor you can make informed decisions. You should also learn as much as you or mentoring program: reasonably can about key challenges that most entrepreneurs face,  Ask family and friends particularly in three areas that are considered to be key success-makers or who are in business, success-breakers: retired, or have business  Financial management: Even if you have a good accountant, make the contacts. effort to learn how to correctly estimate costs and revenues, manage  Check the websites of purchasing and inventory, payment and collections, budgeting and business or professional tracking. You’ve put a lot into this business: make sure you understand organizations. the story your revenue and expense columns are telling you.  Research businesses  Business management: Some businesses stagnate and miss the boat, and trade magazines while others grow so fast they explode. You should understand and apply in your community to the essential theories of growth management and strategic planning so fi nd respected business that your business doesn’t burn out. people.  Join the local chapter  Marketing: When you have a product or service to sell, it is essential you of a professional get to know your market inside out. This includes learning how to identify association in your and reach your potential customers and acquiring competitive intelligence. industry, or a women’s business networking Courses in almost every subject area are available through educational organization. institutions, community colleges, business organizations, government and community development agencies. Find courses by subject at  Talk to your local www.achievebc.ca/cpt/programbysubject.html. Chamber of Commerce. Resources  Business Beyond the Box training and mentoring programs, www.bbtb.ca.  Industry Canada http://strategis.gc.ca links to mentoring resources: Business Support/Managing for Business Success/Business Tools.  Training resources at e-BC, www.e-bc.ca.  Forum for Women Entrepreneurs in BC, www.fwe.ca, includes information on training, mentorship and networking resources.  Peer Resources mentoring, www.peer.ca, or call 1-800-567-3700 (595-3503 in Victoria). Website in French and English.  Canadian Youth Business Foundation mentoring programs and training links: www.cybf.ca, www.onlinementoring.ca.  Step Ahead: Women Business Owners Mentoring for Success, www.stepaheadonline.com.  Minerva Foundation, www.theminervafoundation.com or 604-683-7635. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 17Getting the Word Out Sensei Amber Murphy started studying martial arts when she was 16. Now, at 25, she owns her own school in Vancouver, a franchise of Purple Dragon International Karate Jiu Jitsu Association. She used to run the school as a volunteer when it operated out of a community centre, but decided that it was time to start her career. After working extensively on her business plan, she applied for a loan from the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. She looked for space, found it in Kitsilano, and opened her full-time martial arts school. Amber chose that facility because it was the best location she’d seen. But it turned out that there are also lots of schools nearby, and they’ve become a mainstay of her marketing strategy. She draws students to Purple Dragon by hosting events such as mini-slam championships, karate boot camps and doing demonstrations at festivals in the community. Amber Murphy She also markets herself as a young, energetic role model. “I promote my Purple Dragon achievements, such as being the fi rst female Canadian Black Belt in the International Karate Don Jitsu Ryu System, and the fi rst female Canadian Sensei in this style of martial arts.” Jiu Jitsu Association Amber has another marketing advantage. There are not many female Black Belt martial arts instructors who run their own school, and this attracts attention. “But the most important “People come to Purple Dragon Academy for many different reasons: our part of my marketing international world class reputation, self defense, or to gain more confi dence strategy is keeping quality and fi tness. Our school has a family environment, and I think people like in the school. I fi nd that that.” word of mouth marketing is the best advertisement, students with enthusiasm for their programs is the way to go.” Your market research is the foundation of your marketing plan. It will determine how you will deliver your product or service, how you will present yourself, (your ‘branding’), what messages your customers will respond to best, and where you should concentrate your advertising and promotional efforts to get the best response. There are hundreds of ways to spend your advertising budget, from direct mail, e-mail campaigns and trade shows to traditional radio, television, newspaper and magazine advertising. Whatever you choose, if you can afford it, hire professionals to help develop your support materials, logo, packaging, advertisements and sales messages. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 18Tried and true … Networking is still one of the most powerful forms of marketing. The good news is that it can be as informal as “seeing and being seen” at community events, networking groups, industry associations or social gatherings. Networking is great way to tap into the benefi ts of ‘word of mouth.’ People “Four Ps” of Marketing will get to know and remember you, and refer your services to others. Marketing plans are … or relatively new implemented through: At the other end of the spectrum, a website works as an advertisement, a  product/service: how it’s resume, or a virtual storefront where you showcase products and services or designed to meet your sell them online. Invest in the services of a web design company to develop customers’ needs; a professional, appealing and user-friendly website. They should offer  pricing, relative to the technical programming, professional graphics and writing, content design, competition, regulations and marketing science for your website. and profi tability; If you want an effective web presence, you must also advertise your website,  placement, or location and that includes paying for “web seeding” services. This will get you listed and distribution channels; with major search engines such as Google and Yahoo, so customers can and fi nd your site by typing in key words. The whole process can be time  promotion, advertising, consuming, but is essential in ensuring your website is an effective and selling or publicity. powerful marketing vehicle. … or new horizons One way to expand your customer base is to export your product or service outside our borders. New technologies make this especially attractive for knowledge-based industries. Resources  Marketing and networking resources at www.bbtb.ca and www.smallbusinessbc.ca.  “Marketing Your Service” (4th ed.), Jean Withers and Carol Vipperman. International Self-Counsel Press, 2003.  Canadian weekly online publication, www.marketingmag.ca. Exporting Resources  Businesswomen in Trade, www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/businesswomen.  Export Development Canada, www.edc.ca, www.exportsource.ca.  Team Canada international business development, www.teamcanada.gc.ca.  “Exporting from Canada,” Gerhard Kautz. International Self-Counsel Press, 2002. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 19Finding the Balance Deborah Vandenakker insists on balancing her work and her life. She makes time for her friends and personal fi tness. And she recently acquired Stanley, a canine “associate” who gets her away from the computer while she takes him out for regular afternoon walks. Her graphic design business, Fresh Design, is only two years old, and still in the early stages, when work demands are at their peak. Add to that the fact that she works at home, and it’s easy to slip into long days, day after day after day. “I try not to work on weekends, and I specifi cally make time for friends and family,” she says. “I am known as ‘The Entertainer,’ and when I started the business, I was putting so much focus on it that I was not having as many people over, not having as many dinner parties. So I started to do ‘Friend Appreciation Dinners,’ where I’ll cook for everyone. I’ll also do Deborah Vandenakker a ‘Deb Weekend,’ where I concentrate on what I want to do.” Fresh Design Her other strategy was to seamlessly blend her work and living space. While she has a separate offi ce and a studio, she works throughout her house – even using her living room as a meeting space for clients. “I knew I had to create my own Fresh Design brand at home as well, so I “I have a work-life bal- painted it white, sky blue and green. When clients come in, they feel that ance, and I realize it’s they’re in the Fresh Design offi ce, but it doubles as my living room. I love my something I have to do. space, and I’ve created what I want.” It’s important for the success for my busi- ness to achieve that balance; it’s a priority.” Trying to fi nd the balance between a healthy business and a happy home life is one of the biggest challenges business owners face. This is especially true in the fi rst few years of your business, when your time commitment is so great, and your business is still developing its own routines and rhythms. When you’re starting, take a bit of time to fi gure out where you may want to draw the line. Be prepared to make conscious choices about the trade-offs or investments of time and energy you are willing to make to build your business. It’s still about relationships: Feeling good about your life depends on the strength of all your relationships – with customers, employees, partners, family, friends and community. Consider how the time and fi nancial implications of running a business will affect the people in your life. Think about how your business needs will infl uence your family, and how time with your family will affect the business. If you live in a small community, prepare for a possible loss of privacy and a more public relationship with long-time residents and friends. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR BC WOMEN 20

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