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Entrepreneurship is courageous ascent to the mountain
Entrepreneurship has been compared to many different types of challenges, but the most accurate description is that it’s akin to climbing the tallest mountain. It’s a climb which can last you an immeasurable amount of time and the top will be nowhere in sight. There will be good days, where you will feel a sense of accomplishment after covering lots of ground. Meanwhile, there will be the no-so-great days where you’ll experience all kinds of setbacks. A business owner will certainly relate to this analogy while striving to build an enterprise successfully while overseeing every aspect of the operation.
The upsides and downsides of this position are significantly different than working a “regular” job. The greatest perk is the obvious notion of being your own boss. But that part can sometimes be outweighed by the time and energy spent of stretching yourself to the maximum. You will undoubtedly find yourself inundated with every micro-aspect of the enterprise and that means that you will not only spend 8 hours of your day honing your craft, but you will also spend the other 16 fretting about clients, costs, permits, tools and much more.
That being said, the landscape of small businesses has altered over the last two decades. As with anything else, there is plenty of guidance to be found online within blogs and articles (such as this one!). The great thing is that much of this information has been written out by seasoned entrepreneurs. They have lived similar experiences that will sound familiar to anyone embarking on the same journey and they publish their work in a bid to share their acquired knowledge. At the very least, this surplus of information at our disposal guarantees that no one needs to shoot into the dark when launching their business.
First off, if you’ve endeavored to make a living as a sole entrepreneur, give yourself a pat on the back. This takes guts and resilience and despite the aforementioned trials and tribulations of running your own business, there’s nothing quite like being at the forefront of the action and ultimately running the show. While doing so successfully will take self-discipline, patience and hard work, the results yielded will be well worth it. Besides achieving financial independence, there will also be an enormous sense of accomplishment.
What am I should do now?
In Canada, a business must be properly registered before going into operation. And prior to registration, you need to have a business plan and a name. The registration process is unavoidable and we also guarantee that you will not have time to worry about this later. Therefore, the best course of action is to figure it out as soon as possible. The first thing to do is to make an in-depth assessment of your enterprise before writing out a professional business plan. The plan does not necessarily need to be long, since it depends on the nature of your business. For example, if you plan on buying and selling vintage records out of your home, your plan on paper will contain details of mostly inventory and capital. Meanwhile, if you are planning on opening a home renovation business, the plan will be far longer since it will include details such as materials, transport and permits. Your plan must be solid and well thought-out since the plan is what will convince the rest of the world (and even yourself at times) that you’ve set out on the correct path. If you’re not certain on how to put down a business plan on paper, there are a multitude of examples that you can find online.
Still not comfortable to write it out on your own? Pay a freelance writer to do it for you. There are more student writers than you know scouring sites like the Jobs section of Craigslist, hoping to earn a few bucks with their wisely chosen words.
Once you’ve mapped out your plan, the next step is to aptly name your business. A rule of thumb is to avoid veering too generic or worse, to choose a name that sounds like something completely different than the services you offer.
A great example of this is the book, Aspire to the Heavens. It was best-selling author, Mary Higgins Clark’s first ever published novel. The book’s subject is a fictionalized version of George Washington’s life. However the title confused many readers as they were lead to believe that it was a biblical non-fiction literary work. Because of the title, the book did not sell well, despite being well written and garnering positive reviews from literary critics. While a book is just a book for most, a book is the business model for an author. The lesson taken away from the Higgins Clark example is that it’s better to choose practicality over sentiment when naming your business.*
*Remember to choose your name wisely depending on your province’s language laws.
After choosing a business name and finalizing your plan, the time has come to register. The registration process is incidentally a provincial or territorial responsibility. To do so, click this link and scroll down to the province list to find the correct jurisdiction. Most provinces (the exception being Alberta) have made this process available online and have also facilitated the application for permits or licenses if needed. Permits and licenses vary entirely on where and what you’re operating. The best tool at your disposal is Bizpal, a Canadian online service that has simplified the process of finding out exactly what’s needed to make your business legit and ready to operate. For example, if you plan on offering your services at your clients’ homes, you may require a special permit depending on the type of service offered. Bizpal will save you tons of time you would have spent reading through rules and regulations and will let you obtain all applicable permits so you can hit the ground running.
Getting registered and acquiring any necessary permits is the first major hurdle. The next challenge is to grow your business into a profitable success. The best way to achieve this is to properly research the market, the best practices and of course, your potential clientele. Ask yourself the following: Is my clientele online savvy? What would be the best way to spread the word? A great starting point is our website here at UPservice. We specialize in promoting small businesses and getting started is virtually stress-free. We’ve included a brief but informative tutorial at the end of this article on how to use UPservice to get the word out there and start acquiring multiple clients.
Besides our site, there are other methods as well which will help grow your business efficiently. Recommendations go a long way; build a rapport with the first of your customers in order to become known through word-of-mouth. Social media campaigns are also key in today’s market. Even if you are not the most tech savvy individual in the world, a lot of these platforms have built-in features which make advertising easier than ever. And once you’ve gotten down a number of clients, there is also the more traditional email blast where promotions and newsletters get sent out and garner more attention.
More often than not, the above tasks will be up to you alone when first starting out. You’ll definitely find yourself stepping out of your comfort zone as you navigate the different facets of the business as you climb to the top. While this might sound daunting, don’t let the idea deter you. Instead, take it as an opportunity to define your business practices which will distinguish you from the competition. Once your business begins to grow, you might find yourself contemplating hiring an employee to help you out. Before making a decision, consult your financial advisor. He or she will map out your finances in a practical way and will tell you exactly how much you can afford. Don’t try doing the financial assessment all on your own. Not because you’re not capable, but because this demands time and expertise and unless you’re also holding a finance degree, this part is best left to an expert. Remember, your job is to grow your business, through impeccable work and getting recognized. Your time is valuable and you want to be giving your energy to making your business flourish!