Starting Your Business

Starting Your Business 27
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Dr.JesperHunt,United States,Researcher
Published Date:16-07-2017
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STARTING YOUR BUSINESS A guide to resources for BC womenGETTING STARTED Joanne Muirhead had always wanted to opportunity when she found an ideal spot. open a coffee shop but she was hesitant to Women’s Enterprise Centre provided her take that first step. with a startup loan to help her realize her dream of owning a coffee shop. Today JoJo’s Café is conveniently located right In July, 2010 she finally made the decision in the heart of downtown Osoyoos. “I to pursue her dream and opened JoJo’s am not sure if my business would be as Café, a “neighbourhood coffee bar” in successful if it was one block further in Osoyoos, BC. She specializes in espresso any direction.” drinks and baked goods from family recipes as well as in-house, freshly-made sandwiches that use mostly locally grown As an entrepreneur, Joanne enjoys multi- ingredients. tasking and being in control of her own time. “I like to be my own boss. Being a bit “I dreamed of opening a coffee shop for of a control freak comes in pretty handy years. About a year after quitting my job, when you own your business. It is very my dad passed away very suddenly. It empowering for me to discover that I can Joanne Muirhead really shook my world and put things in do anything that I set my mind to.” JOJO’S CAFÉ perspective.“ Osoyoos She plans to continue her entrepreneurial journey. “I want to expand my business to Before moving forward with her vision, jojoscafe.ca be able to serve a full breakfast. The town Joanne ensured that she planned well. needs a funky place that serves fresh, Realizing that location was important to healthy food.” her business success, she jumped at the I like to be my own boss. “ You have a great idea, and you wonder why no one has thought of it yet. Before you Being a bit of a start filling out loan applications or renting office space, ask yourself some tough control freak questions – and be prepared to do your homework. comes in pretty handy when you own your business. 1. Do you have what it takes to be your own boss? To manage a successful business, you’ll need: It is very • Passion for your idea and the ability to communicate it to others empowering • Initiative & motivation to develop a plan and to work hard to carry it out for me to discover that I can do anything that I • Problem-solving skills set my mind to. • Multi-tasking skills to handle a hundr ed details at once, as well as develop and manage your business strategy • Self-confidence: trust in your decisions and people skills • Flexibility to r ecognize 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 6 “ARE YOU SELF- 2. What’s your vision? EMPLOYED OR A SME Why do you want to go into business? Is it to follow your passion, take control (SMALL OR MEDIUM of your life and career, achieve influence and success, or become financially SIZED ENTERPRISE)? 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 12. • Self-Employed: that’s just you 3. Who might want to buy your product or service? • Small business: 5-50 It’s all about people. Your decisions on everything from product to price to employees location need to be based on the characteristics and needs of your potential customers. See “Defining Your Market” page 10. • Large business: 50+ employees 4. How would you manage financially? source: wec.ca/ You may need money to pay for office space, supplies, equipment, inventory and BusinessDefinitions to cover your personal income needs, perhaps for a year or more. See “Finding The Money,” page 16. 5. What do you need to know to run a business? Think multi-tasking: you will have to manage your space, inventory, suppliers, finances, marketing and correspondence. Even if you hire 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 20. 6. How would a business affect your personal life? The first three years in a new business are usually defined 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 24. RESOURCES • Self-assessment and business resources for women, www.womensenterprise.ca, 1.800.643.7014 • Getting Started. www.smallbusinessbc.ca Follow the Seminar link, or call 1.800.667.2272 • Starting a Business. Industry Canada Guides: wec.ca/StartingABusiness • Business Start-Up Checklist. Canada Business Network: wec.ca/CBNChecklist • 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 • Canada Revenue Agency for Tax and Payroll Information & Registration, www.cra-arc.gc.caWORKING FROM HOME OR LEASING SPACE? When Anne Toube moved to Canada in environment. It was user friendly and took 1998, she opened a retail store, selling away a lot of the stresses,” says Anne. decorations and artwork from Africa. She had run the same business in South Africa However, she warns that working from and it had been very successful, but she home can often cause blurred boundaries soon discovered that the business success between work life and personal life. “It’s did not translate to Canada. really complicated to find balance. We had all the benet fi s of being at home and the Never one to give up, Anne looked around kids had space to play, but it caused a lot for a new idea and in 1999, with a loan of interruptions,” says Anne. from Women’s Enterprise Centre, her business, Leopards & Roses Trading Inc., Two years ago when the business outgrew launched a line of clothing and accessories her home, Anne moved the business once from Nepal which she sells wholesale. again. “We started with a leased ofc fi e Anne Toube At first Anne rented ofc fi e space for the and then moved home to accommodate LEOPARDS & ROSES business, but when her daughter, who our growing family and now we’ve moved TRADING INC. helps her run the business, started having again. This time though, it’s to our own Richmond children they decided to move to a home- warehouse.” leopardsandroses.com based ofc fi e. “You have to know where your business “I got to be a grandmom and my daughter is going so you can decide if you want to could be a mom while we worked, plus we work from home or if you need to lease or really loved the casualness of the work purchase the space it needs,” she says. Working from “ home can often cause blurred Where should my business be? boundaries between work life and You don’t have to run a full-fledged operation with inventory, a storefront and employees to be a legitimate business. If you sell flowers at a roadside stand or design personal life. websites from your home, you own a business. It doesn’t matter that your office 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 benefit 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. First, get the financial 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 financial STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A guide to resources for BC women 8 “advisor, who can explain how much of your rent, mortgage, utilities and car costs CONSIDER BUYING you can declare against your income, as well as help you set up a straightforward YOUR OWN INTERNET bookkeeping system. DOMAIN NAME, FEATURING YOUR Set up a separate business identity and accounts COMPANY NAME. If you live with other people (especially teenagers), get a business phone. Record a DOING SO WILL professional voice mail message and don’t let anyone else answer incoming calls. If GIVE YOU: you don’t want to have two phone lines in your home, use a cell phone. • a memorable Internet Apply for a credit card in your own name and use it for business transactions. Not address for your future only will you build your credit record, it’s a good way to track and record business website expenses. Pay the entire bill each month, from a line of credit if necessary, to avoid high interest rates. • separation between business and personal Set up a separate business bank account. Use it to deposit your cheques and pay all correspondence business-related costs. If you qualify for a line of credit or overdraft, attach it to this • email addresses that 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 promote your business card that is used specifically for purchases for your business. • a virtual identity that stays the same, even Choose your business space carefully if you change service Your basement or garage might be a good storage space for your inventory now but providers what happens when that space is full and boxes migrate to your dining room and living room? If you’re looking to lease some space, be sure to check out “Ten Things You Must Know Before You Sign a Business Lease” available from Women’s Enterprise Centre. Ensure you have a quiet place to make and receive all business calls. Loft spaces without proper sound barriers broadcast all the room noises. At home, make sure teenagers, infants, toddlers, and dogs are out of your space. Make sure the zoning allows your business to operate in your location. Check out your local municipal or regional district home-based business bylaws regarding customers coming to your home. Whether you start with a retail location and move home, like Anne Toube, or start at home and move to a retail/office/commercial location, make sure your choice of business space reflects your professionalism and type of business. RESOURCES • The W omen’s Home-Based Business Book of Answers: 78 Important Questions Answered by Top Women Business Leaders. Maira T. Bailey. Roseville, California, 2001 • Raising Y our Business: A Canadian Woman’s Guide to Entrepreneurship. Joanne Thomas Yaccato with Paula Jubinville. Prentice Hall, Canada, 1998 • Ten Things You Must Know Before You Sign a Business Lease. wec.ca/BeforeYouSignALeaseDEFINING YOUR MARKET Rather than diving head first into business, business growth. They started off slowly Tara Black and Marion Neuhauser made with a stall in Bastion Square as a way to sure to build a solid plan. They saw a niche test the market and get a better idea of how in the food industry when friends of theirs people would react to gluten-free baked with dietary restrictions had a tough time goods. The response was overwhelmingly n fi ding tasty wheat-free baked goods. positive Tara and Marion discovered that the months of product testing and market research had been worthwhile. “We spent Passionate about food and about helping time organizing our business plan, providing their friends, the duo decided to jump on evidence of market viability, and making the opportunity and do something about sure we were thorough with our research the lack of breads, cakes and cookies for and concise with our goals,” said Tara. people with celiac disease. With a start- up loan from Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC), these two entrepreneurs launched Both Tara and Marion have always enjoyed their business Origin Gluten-Free Bakery, being entrepreneurs. “We appreciate in Victoria. When they wanted to open a quality food and wanted to provide the second store in Colwood on Vancouver gluten-free community with healthier Tara Black and Island, WEC provided them with expansion products that also taste great. Plus we Marion Neuhauser n fi ancing. wanted to be more in control of our lives, ORIGIN BAKERY and that’s something that we felt self- Victoria Market research has been a key to their employment could offer us,” said Marion. originbakery.com Who to target? We spent time Every business decision you make, from the design, production and pricing of your organizing our “ product or service, to the location of the store or office, to the way you choose to advertise will be determined by two questions: who are your customers and what do business plan, they want? The more you know about who your customers are, the more successful providing evidence of your business will be. market viability, and making sure we were Market research is all about getting to know your service or product, potential thorough with our customers, the competition and your business environment. You can do your own research, or you can hire a market research firm. research and concise with our goals. Primary research is gathered through formal or informal surveys, traffic studies and observing your competition. 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. Secondary 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 offices, Chambers of Commerce, universities and publications. Getting information can sometimes be challenging if you’re researching new industries. It can also be overwhelming. Take this part of your planning one step at a time and your research will provide you with valuable insights. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A guide to resources for BC women 10 T a r a B l a c k “M a r i o n N e u h a u s e r IN ‘THE 80% MINORITY’ Your market research will answer key questions Joanne Yaccato, author of 1. Who is your target market? How many potential customers do you have Raising Your Business, notes and what are their habits? Are they male or female? What are their ages, that 80% of all consumer races, income and education levels? Where do they live? What do they have in decisions are made or common? Explore every avenue for potential customers. strongly influenced by 2. What is their purchasing power? Buying habits? How much disposable income women. do your customers have? How much do they spend on products or services Knowing this fact may affect similar to yours? How often do they purchase? Do they value cost savings or time how you package, distribute savings? Is convenience a decision point for them? and support your product or service. 3. What’s the psychological makeup of your customers? What values and qualities do they hold near and dear? Are they swayed by low prices or high ethical standards? Are they impulse buyers or not? Will word of mouth and reputation influence them? 4. Who is your competition? What are your competitors’ marketing advantages? Disadvantages? Are there any niches you can fill? What can you do for your customers that your competition isn’t already doing? 5. 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? 6. What is your market share? What percentage of the market do you hope to win and what is the revenue you can expect from that share? Is the market big enough for you to be profitable? 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 n fi d that your inspiration was bang-on. RESOURCES • Market Research for Small Business, www.womensenterprise.ca • Small Business BC, www.smallbusinessbc.ca • BC Stats, www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca • Statistics Canada, www.statcan.gc.ca • Business Gateway, www.bgateway.com • Industry Canada, www.ic.gc.ca • Raising Your Business A Canadian Woman’s Guide to Entrepreneurship. Joanne Yaccato. Canada: Prentice Hall, 1998 • Small Business Accelerator, www.sba-bc.caBUILDING YOUR PLAN Great friends Dr. Agnieszka Matusik and She added, “Putting together the business Dr. Jolene Kennett graduated together plan was quite an experience. Once we as Naturopathic Physicians. They shared put everything on paper, we were in the same vision of creating an integrative shock looking at the number and type of health centre that focused on health expenses needed to operate a business. promotion and disease prevention. Everything from a cleaning company to Encouraged by the common goal, they the cost of marketing and branding to the collaborated on a business plan to create cost of permits to hang a sign had to be CareMed, a multi-disciplinary health included.” centre in North Vancouver, BC. “We wanted to learn how to do everything CareMed provides natural and integrative in the business,” said Agnieszka.” You have health care solutions including services to be your own Comptroller before you of naturopathic physicians, registered pass it on to someone else. She continued, massage therapists, a chiropractor and “One of the most important lessons I’ve an acupuncturist. The health centre also learned is that owning a business is not a Jolene Kennett & provides laboratory services and a natural job, it’s a lifestyle.” Angieszka Matusik health product dispensary for patients. CAREMED A year into their 3-year plan, these North Vancouver “When we drew up our plan, we saw Naturopathic business partners are making caremedhealth.com our medical centre as a place where adjustments and looking forward to the patients could come for any type of coming years. Jolene explained, “We’re health concern and be cond fi ent that their getting our team organized and trained. All health problems would be addressed in a the little things we’ve done are making a professional, efc fi ient and medically safe difference.” Putting together manner,” said Jolene. “ the business plan was quite an experience. Making the case for your business If you’re serious about having a business, here’s where you start. Writing a business plan will help you to 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 n fi ancing 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. Women’s Enterprise Centre has a number of business plan resources available on their website. www.womensenterprise.ca/resourcelibrary STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A guide to resources for BC women 12 “A typical business plan includes: 1. 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 Official” on page 15. This part also describes your intentions which may be expressed in a vision or mission statement. 2. Product or service information: Describes the nature of your product or service, its key features and benefits, and its competitive advantages. 3. Management plan: Outlines the ownership and management structure of your business. It includes division of responsibilities, resumés for yourself and your management team and contact information for lawyers, bankers or accountants. 4. Market research and analysis: Describes the nature and size of the industry in which you will operate, growth potential, common costs and profit margins, current trends, and future prospects for your product or service. It identifies your potential customers or target market (gender, interest group, location, income level, their buying trends). Explores market trends and unique challenges of different regions in the province that could affect your plans. Analyzes your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and how you measure up. See “Defining Your Market” on page 10. 5. Marketing plan: Describes how you intend to present your product or service to your customers, and how will you spread the word: through 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 22. 6. Operations plan: Describes where you will run your business (home, office, warehouse, etc.). Lists licences, permits and insurance you may need, along with materials, equipment and suppliers. Describes your plan for capacity in production, inventory and staffing, if applicable. 7. Financial information: Analyzes how much it will cost to start-up and run your business and how much you will earn. Includes where you intend to get financing and what the funds will be used for. Provides essential financial statements you will need to get loans or investors – cash flow projections, a starting balance sheet, a projection of anticipated income, and a break-even analysis. See “Finding The Money” on page 16. 8. Risk analysis: Identifies 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. 9. Implementation plan: Sets out a schedule showing when each step will be completed – financing, finding a location, finalizing 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 business and in some cases, your lender’s requirements. You may spend months writing your business plan, but it will be worth it. Start with the information you have and fill in the blanks as you learn more. The exercise of preparing the plan will guide you to think about all aspects of operating your business, and will go a long way to turning your idea into a reality. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A guide to resources for BC women 13RESOURCES YOUR BUSINESS PLAN WILL HELP YOU: Templates and Models • define your business • How to write an effective business plan wec.ca/WriteBusinessPlan vision • Cash Flow Template wec.ca/CashFlowTemplate • identify the demand for • Cash Flow Forecasting and Break-Even Analysis wec.ca/BreakEvenAnalysis your product/service • Creating Your Business Plan Workbook. Available for purchase at wec.ca/ CreatingYourBusinessPlan • decide how to price your product/service • Search for a variety of different business guides at www.self-counsel.com • Community Futures business links, wec.ca/BusinessLinks • clarify what you need in • Journey to Success – Aboriginal Women’s Business Planning Guide. Available a location at wec.ca/JourneyToSuccess • determine your budget • First Business, a site dedicated to BC’s Aboriginal entrepreneurs, includes and financing needs a planning workshop and sample business plans based on First Nations businesses, www.absn.ca • identify risks and what to do about them Business Counselling • choose an effective marketing strategy • Free Start Your Business Information Session. Register at www. Over the long term, it will womensenterprise.ca help you establish your • Women’s Enterprise Centre offers complimentary business counselling business credibility and for women, including business plan assessment. Phone 1.800.643.7014 or measure your progress. email: inquirywomensenterprise.ca • A business plan advisory service is available from Small Business BC. Call toll-free 1.800.667.2272 (604.775.5525 in Vancouver), or email askus smallbusinessbc.ca • Many financial institutions provide small business counselling services, often tailored to women, and/or youth and aboriginal entrepreneurs. Check with your credit union or bank 14MAKING IT OFFICIAL WHAT’S YOUR BUSINESS STRUCTURE? Once you’ve completed your business plan, you are ready to take the following steps Will you operate as: to establish your business formally and legally. (Note: some of the services require a • a sole proprietorship? fee) • a general partnership? 1. Choose your business name and get it approved: This is the first step • a limited partnership? in registering or incorporating your business. For instructions, see www. bcbusinessregistry.ca • a corporation? 2. Register your company: Next register your proprietorship or partnership, or The kind of business you set incorporate your company. For instructions, see www.bcbusinessregistry.ca up will determine how you manage accounts, records 3. Get a business licence: Contact your municipality or Regional District to and much more. For help obtain a business licence and to ensure you are meeting land use and zoning weighing the pros and cons bylaws. Look in the Blue Pages section of your phone book or online at www. of each, see: bizpal.ca for one stop access to permit and licence information for all levels of www.smallbusinessbc.ca government. 4. Choose and register a Domain Name: for your website and email addresses. 5. Register for provincial taxes, including sales tax (PST): If you buy goods for wholesale or retail sale, or provide taxable services, register online at www.gov.bc.ca/pst for a social service tax registration certificate. 6. Obtain a Federal Business Number (BN): You need a Business Number if you are incorporated, if you import or export, if you have employees, or if you charge GST. See www.cra-arc.gc.ca 7. Register with WorkSafe BC: If you plan to hire employees, you need a BN (see above) and must register with WorkSafe BC. If you’re incorporated, you must register with WCB at www.worksafebc.com. You should also be familiar with the Employment Standards Website: www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb 8. 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 9. Review British Columbia regulations: Talk to your lawyer or business counsellor to find out about any regulatory bodies that govern your business and any relevant legislation. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A guide to resources for BC women 15FINDING THE MONEY Paula Veenema purchased The Spa When Paula wanted to start another Magnolia in Victoria in 2003. She business “PureStem Beauty”, WEC provided capitalized on a growth opportunity in her with start up financing. It helped 2005 when she took over a ground floor launch her second business. space and more than doubled the size of the spa. “Getting a loan involves patience, walking through a very thorough protocol “The renovation of my new location and understanding that being detail involved substantial work and was oriented with all of your information and going to be costly, so I began the documents will assist you through the task of securing n fi ancing. I had a process,” advises Paula. “Giving up on my solid relationship with my bank and a vision was simply not an option.” good business plan in hand, so I was disappointed when my own bank declined “To be able to take my passion for the my application and referred me to another beauty industry, the on-going learning bank. When they also turned me down, curve of how to effectively run a business Paula Veenema I was devastated.” Paula n fi ally secured and lead a team of my own to success has THE SPA MAGNOLIA a joint growth loan through RBC and been the best professional experience in Victoria Women’s Enterprise Centre. my life,” she says. spamagnolia.com How much is enough? When you are figuring out how much money you will need, work out both business and personal budgets. Then calculate how much revenue your business needs to Getting a loan “ generate to cover both. You might want to take a course in financial management involves patience, to learn how your business finances and personal finances relate to each other. Be walking through realistic. If you underestimate your costs and overestimate your revenue – a common a very thorough mistake of start-up businesses – you will run into problems almost immediately. protocol and You will need to develop and understand key financial statements and tools (see understanding that next page), especially if you apply for a loan. You can put these together with the being detail-oriented assistance of an accountant or bookkeeper, or use templates from some of the with all of your business plan resources. For the first year or two, you will have to rely on estimates. Your estimates will need to be based on your market research. information and documents will assist you through the process. STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A guide to resources for BC women 16 “GENERALLY, THERE ARE Key Financial Tools TWO SOURCES OF Income Statement: A financial performance report lays out how much you expect MONEY: to earn (revenue) and the expenses you will incur during a specific time frame. It is • investment (equity) typically developed along with a Balance Sheet. financing from people Balance Sheet: A status report, or ‘snapshot’ of the financial state of your business who expect to share in at a given point in time. It shows what your company owns (assets), what is owed the eventual benefits of (liabilities) and what is left over for you (equity). your business Cash Flow Statement: Shows the flow of cash into and out of your business during • debt financing (loans) a specific time frame. This includes when and where you will get your money and from people and what you will spend it on. This is the most realistic picture of your business, as it institutions who expect indicates how much cash you will have available at any given time to keep your the money, plus interest, 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 profit to your business. Getting the money Once you’ve completed your business plan and financial statements, you will have a clear picture of how much money you need to start and operate your business for the first 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 financial manager to learn more about the types and sources of financing 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. 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 fixed 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 17Term loans: These are longer term, used to cover expensive items such as capital WHAT DOES IT MEAN? equipment, real estate or renovations. Term loans have established monthly • Collateral or Security: 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 Property or goods you rates for term loans. If you miss a payment, the lender has a right to demand pledge to the lender until immediate repayment. the loan is repaid, e.g., equity in your house, car, Equity investors: This type of investor provides financing in exchange for a share of savings, equipment ownership, or equity, in your business, or simply a repayment of their investment. Equity investors can be public or private, and are often family or close personal • Asset: Any item of contacts. Because of that, interest is often nominal or non-existent, and they may value owned by your also be flexible in the repayment schedule. However, borrowing money from friends business, e.g. cash, stock, and family can sometimes put a strain on the relationship. Public equity investors equipment, inventory, generally only consider very large investments with large returns. property, goodwill Venture capital: Money that comes from a pool of investors who are looking for a • Liability: Money your higher return. While venture capitalists are usually interested in more established business owes to other companies, they will consider start-ups if the potential is good. Venture capitalists parties, which could generally seek a very high rate of return for their investment. include suppliers, lenders, employees Angel investors: Individuals or companies that look for higher risk investments with good growth potential. Angel investors can be difficult to find, are generally • Equity: The value of your attracted to technology related companies and often have very specific requirements business with liabilities that must be met. Angel investors usually are interested in long-term, high-return deducted from your investments. assets. Also refers to the ownership interest Grants: Money that does not require repayment. The criteria are usually very specific, of shareholders in your and the application procedure can be long and time-consuming. Grants are more business readily available for specialized and high-tech industries. • Credit: Repayment arrangement between Your credit rating your business and your lenders or suppliers, and If you have a limited or poor credit history, you may not be able to get a loan maximum amounts they without a co-signer. Some women find that they have insufficient credit history will extend to you because mortgages and loans are written up in their partner’s name, or they have always used cash – instead of credit – to pay for their purchases. • Credit Rating: Your history of repaying loans on schedule, credit cards and other financial obligations STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A guide to resources for BC women 18RESOURCES SOURCES OF FINANCING: Budgets & Bookkeeping • Financial Institutions: chartered banks, • Simply Essential Personal Budgeting. Sylvia S. Lim, CFP, CGA. Self-Counsel credit unions and trust Press, 2002 companies • Balancing Act: A Canadian Woman’s Financial Success Guide (revised and updated). Joanne Thomas Yaccato. Penguin, 2003 • Government sponsored • Basic Bookkeeping. Canada Business Service Centres. wec.ca/ loan programs: industry, BasicBookkeeping economic and regional • Bookkeepers’ Boot Camp: Get a Grip on Accounting Basics. Angie Mohr. Self- development loans, Counsel Press, 2003 and loans for specific populations • Financial Understanding for Small Business. Self Study Guide, wec.ca/ FinancialUnderstanding • Private Capital Sources: • Cash Flow Forecasting and Break-Even Analysis, Cash Flow Template, as well including angel investors as Income Statement and Balance Sheet Templates are available at wec.ca/ (see page 18) MoneyTemplates • Tax Credits: These can help reduce the cost of Financing operating your business • Women’s Enterprise Centre Loans Program, www.womensenterprise.ca Select Business Loans. • Small Business BC, www.smallbusinessbc.ca/Financing • Ministry of Jobs Tourism & Skills Training programs help small businesses access capital: wec.ca/AccessCapital • Canada Business, www.canadabusiness.ca. Select “Financing” YOUR CREDIT SCORE • First Citizens Fund – Business Loan Program & Business Loan Aftercare Program, wec.ca/FirstCitizensFund • For credit score • Industry Canada’s Strategis site, www.strategis.gc.ca (see Business Support/ information go to www. Financing) equifax.com • Business Development Bank of Canada, www.bdc.ca • To check your credit • Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program, wec.ca/DisabledEntrepreneurs rating or, order a free • Opportunities Fund for persons with Disabilities, wec.ca/OpportunitiesFund credit assessment, you (see “Disability Issues.”) can call Equifax Canada • Community Futures Development Corporation Growthstart Fund, at 1.800.465.7166 or visit www.communityfutures.ca. Select “British Columbia.” www.equifax.ca • Service Canada, www.servicecanada.gc.ca • Canada Business - services for entrepreneurs, www.canadabusiness.ca • 2010 Overview of Government Financing - Small Business BC, wec.ca/2010Financing • Canadian Youth Business Foundation, www.cybf.caLEARNING THE ROPES Sarah Campden’s passion for business women entrepreneurs to excel. She now success combined with a desire to volunteers as a peer mentor with Women’s spend more time with her young Enterprise Centre. daughter encouraged her to become an entrepreneur. She started Made to Sarah has always been clear about working Measure Consulting Group in Victoria, ‘on’ her business and not ‘in’ her business. BC. Her company offers innovative “I see myself moving more towards solutions in the area of engineering business leadership rather than doing the design and drafting. The company data entry for bookkeeping or the SEO also provides project planning and for my website.” Hiring professionals also management, civil engineering design helps her create work life balance which and autoCAD drafting services. is a priority in her life. “Your business can be tough on you and your family. It is A major impact in Sarah’s professional important to keep your work and personal growth has been her mentor who life balanced.” pushed her to learn, grow and succeed Sarah Campden in life. “My mentor was a very important Her advice to other women entrepreneurs MADE TO MEASURE inu fl ence on my decision to start my is to align with other professionals in CONSULTING GROUP own business. She helped me gain the their chosen field. “These relationships Victoria self-cond fi ence I needed to take the leap will be invaluable throughout the life of to entrepreneurship.” Sarah’s mentoring your business.” madetomeasureconsulting.ca experience has inspired her to help other Learn from the best My mentor was “ a very important If this is your first step into the business world, find a mentor. A mentor can provide invaluable advice, insights and encouragement along the way to help you make influence on my thoughtful choices. If you can, work alongside another business owner in the same decision to start my industry to gain some experience. own business. She helped me Your mentor does not have to be in the same industry or even in the same geographical area as you are, but he or she usually has more business experience. gain the self- Mentors can pass along valuable insights, making you think about things that might confidence I never have occurred to you. Mentors can talk about the business-building process, needed to take the leap industry trends, administration challenges, marketing strategies, what work is profitable – and what is not. to entrepreneurship. 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 who 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 20 “Essentially, if you start your own business you are expected to know it all... even if IDEAS FOR FINDING you don’t. While you can’t be an expert in everything, you should attempt to close A MENTOR OR gaps in your knowledge through a mentor, direct experience or by taking some MENTORING courses. PROGRAM: If you only learn three things... brush up on subjects that are applicable to your • Ask family and friends industry and business so you can make informed decisions. You should also learn who are in business, as much as you reasonably can about challenges that most entrepreneurs face, retired, or have business particularly in the three areas that are considered to be key success-makers or contacts success-breakers: • Check the websites of 1. Financial management: Even if you have a good accountant, make the effort business or professional to learn how to correctly estimate costs and revenues, manage purchasing organizations and inventory, payment and collections, budgeting and tracking. You’ve put a lot into this business: make sure you understand the story your revenue and • Research businesses expense columns are telling you. and trade magazines in your community to find 2. Business management: Some businesses stagnate and miss the boat, while respected business people others grow so fast they explode. You should understand and apply the essential theories of growth management and strategic planning so that you • Join the local chapter of can grow your business effectively. a professional association in your industry, or 3. Marketing: When you have a product or service to sell, it is essential you get to a women’s business know your market inside out. This includes learning how to identify and reach networking organization your potential customers and acquiring competitive intelligence. You can learn more about marketing strategies and tactics by taking courses or workshops • Talk to your local at local community colleges, universities, business organizations, government Chamber of Commerce and community development agencies. You can also access marketing materials through video conference, webinars and online courses. RESOURCES • Women’s Enterprise Centre training and mentoring programs, www.womensenterprise.ca Select “Mentoring” • Forum for Women Entrepreneurs in BC, www.fwe.ca, includes information on training, mentorship and networking resources • Peer Mentoring Resources, www.peer.ca, or call 1.800.567.3700 (250.595.3503 in Victoria). Website in French and English • Canadian Youth Business Foundation mentoring programs and training links, www.cybf.ca • Minerva Foundation, www.theminervafoundation.com or 1.604.683.7635GETTING THE WORD OUT A passion to be her own boss and a Her business has grown through word strong belief in creating more sustainable of mouth marketing. “I am a strong products encouraged Victoria BC’s Toni communicator. I encourage honest Desrosiers to start Abeego Designs Inc. in dialogue with clients and share my ideas 2008. Toni produces and sells a multiple about my business and products with use, all-natural, eco-friendly, beeswax them. It helps me establish good client infused material used to store food. The relationships and generate word-of-mouth washable, reusable, Abeego sheets easily publicity.” shape to the food or container to keep it staying fresh. Staying ahead in her industry has been a major factor in Toni’s’ winning strategy. Finding her niche market was an important “I do not have a background in business. marketing strategy. “I started selling the The biggest lesson I have learned is that sheets at a local market to get a sense of entrepreneurship is a constant learning what people thought of my idea. It slowly process. I always analyze and learn from and steadily began gaining steam and my mistakes.” Toni Desrosiers evolved into a viable business.” Abeego ABEEGO DESIGNS INC. is now sold online and to stores across As part of her marketing tactics, Toni Victoria Canada and the US. plans to build a solid brand identity for Abeego. “We are committed to creating abeego.ca When Toni needed funds to grow her a sustainable production facility that business, she received expansion financing maximizes use of space so that Abeego through Women’s Enterprise Centre. can be produced regionally as we grow into new markets.” I started selling the “ sheets at a local How do I get the word out? market to get a sense of what people 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 thought of my idea. ‘branding’), what messages your customers will respond to best, and where you should It slowly and steadily concentrate your advertising and promotional efforts to get the best response. began gaining steam and evolved into a There are hundreds of ways to spend your advertising budget, from direct mail, email campaigns and trade shows to traditional radio, television, newspaper and magazine viable business. advertising. Whatever you choose, if you can afford it, hire professionals to help develop your support materials, logo, packaging, advertisements and sales messages. Tried 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 a great way to tap into the benefits of ‘word of mouth.’ People will get to know and remember you, and refer your services to others. At the other end of the spectrum, a website works as an advertisement, a resumé, STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: A guide to resources for BC women 22 “or a virtual storefront where you showcase products and services or sell them FOUR P’S OF online. Invest in the services of a web design company to develop a professional, MARKETING appealing and user-friendly website. Web companies should offer technical programming, professional graphics and writing, content design, and marketing Marketing plans are science for your website. implemented through: • product/service: how it’s If you want an effective web presence, you must also advertise your website, and designed to meet your that includes paying for “web seeding” services. This will get you listed with major customers’ needs search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo so customers can find your site by typing in key words. The whole process can be time-consuming, but is essential in • pricing, relative to the ensuring your website is an effective and powerful marketing vehicle. competition, regulations and profitability Or relatively new… • placement, or location Social media sites are becoming increasingly popular for business marketing. Are and distribution channels you blogging or twittering about your business? Social media is one of the fastest growing methods of networking and “getting the word out”. • promotion, advertising, selling or publicity Another way to expand your customer base is to export your product or service outside your borders. New technologies make this especially attractive for knowledge-based industries. RESOURCES • Marketing and networking resources at www.womensenterprise.ca and www.smallbusinessbc.ca • Marketing in the New Media (2nd edition). Holly Berkley. International Self Counsel Press, 2009 • Canadian weekly online publication. www.marketingmag.ca Social Media Sources • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google Plus Social Media Action List • Social Media Action List. www.wec.ca/SocialMediaActionList • Review Privacy Issues Video from office of the Privacy Commissioner. wec.ca/PrivacyIssuesVideo Exporting Resources • Businesswomen in Trade, wec.ca/BusinessWomenInTrade • Export Development Canada, www.edc.ca • Exporting from Canada. Gerhard Kautz. International Self-Counsel Press, 2002 • Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, www.tradecommissioner.gc.caFINDING THE BALANCE Felicia founded Candeo Business Coaching Here are 3 best practices Felicia found to support women entrepreneurs to achieve that worked: predictable business growth. Candeo supports clients, through results-driven 1. Separate business and personal methodologies, to improve the following hours. Felicia implements a no-work five areas in business: visibility, credibility, policy when she is with family and a no- prot fi ability, sustainability, and scalability. personal-affairs policy when she is working. “Allocating and protecting the time for both As a mentor with Women’s Enterprise has made me more productive.” Centre she facilitates Taking the Stage® – a program designed for women who wish to 2. Be intentional about what to spend become strong, cond fi ent leaders. time on in your business. Felicia allocates 10-20% of her time each week Felicia recognizes that women face to work on business development and distinctive challenges in needing strategic business planning activities. to balance personal and business Felicia Lee responsibilities. 3. Prioritize time for self-care and CANDEO BUSINESS time with family. Even though it can be COACHING Being a mother of two young children, tempting to grow a business at a faster Vancouver she had first-hand experience with pace through working longer hours, Felicia candeo.ca the common pressures that women has chosen to not do so at the expense of entrepreneurs face: striving for more her health and family. revenues and prot yea fi r over year, keeping all household affairs in order, bringing up “Finding balance requires good decision- children, being involved in the community, making. Having structure and focus has and looking fabulous at the same time helped me grow successfully without Finding compromising my personal life,” said Felicia. “ balance requires good decision- making. Where to draw the line Having structure and focus Trying to find the balance between a healthy business and a happy home life is one has helped me of the biggest challenges business owners face. This is especially true in the first few grow successfully years of your business, when your time commitment is so great, and your business is still developing its own routines and rhythms. without compromising When you’re starting, take a bit of time to figure out where you may want to draw the my personal life. 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 financial implications of running a business will affect the people in your life. Think about how your business needs will influence 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 24 “

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