Starting your own business can be both challenging and rewarding. On the other hand, if you engage in a competitive sector, you may encounter certain obstacles.
Although dynamic and full of opportunities, the Canadian market can also pose challenges due to the fluctuation of the dollar , unexpected upheavals in the economy or other factors. To succeed in business, you must have a focused plan in hand that sets your direction and allows you to anticipate and overcome setbacks.
Furthermore, an entrepreneur should not only worry about numbers. Running a business and dealing with people are tasks you need to be prepared for. Even experienced professionals can have surprises. Your prior management experiences may not have prepared you to take charge of a successful business.
Being on familiar ground
The most successful businesses are run by people who know their stuff. Even if you’ve never operated a business in your industry, it’s best to know the industry.
This helps you avoid the mistakes newbies inevitably make in areas like product distribution, marketing, or HR strategies.
Entrepreneurs starting out in a whole new industry should do their homework first. There are countless sources of free information for start-ups.
Get the necessary coaching
Start by building a network of professionals – seasoned bankers, lawyers, accountants and consultants – who can lend a hand.
Many people who want to start a new business often don’t have the skills to, for example, prepare cash flow forecasts or manage accounts receivable. As a general rule, if you can’t do it or learn to do it yourself, find someone who will do it for you. BDC consultants offer coaching to help entrepreneurs meet all management challenges, including financial management, strategic planning, sales and marketing, operations and human resources.
Prepare a well-structured business plan
Having good ideas is not enough. Your business must have a well-defined structure before it can take off. Start by writing a clear business plan , which will help you assess your potential, confirm your commitment to becoming an entrepreneur and gain the confidence of bankers and investors.
Many entrepreneurs believe that a good business plan has to be big. In fact, if it is specific, clear and solid, bankers will be willing to study it. You must present, in a fair measure, the facts that will sell your project and the financial data to support your arguments.
It is essential to be realistic in your projections. It is better to present less optimistic scenarios, demonstrate how you will cope and take into account the different risks you could face.
Form a strategic alliance
Strategic alliances help entrepreneurs reduce their vulnerability at start-up. Business owners can consider teaming up with other companies to bring their products and services to new markets, get better prices through bulk purchases, or accelerate research and development by sharing costs and resources.
Focus on what you do best and let other companies provide the complementary services. For example, a furniture design company might partner with a manufacturer to produce the furniture it designs.
Establish clear HR strategies
Attracting and retaining the best employees is a challenge for start-up companies because their financial resources often do not allow them to pay high salaries. Many companies fail because they can’t build a team fast enough, or because they lose employees to competitors.
A start-up company should focus on ways to attract the right candidates using targeted advertising, job fairs, industry association memberships and community engagement.
To retain their employees, business owners should make sure to provide them with competitive benefits and an environment conducive to their personal and professional growth.
Get enough funding
Securing seed funding is quite a challenge, as you have to convince bankers of your worth and creditworthiness. But many entrepreneurs also tend to “underfinance” their business because they have misjudged all of their needs.
When assessing your needs, you shouldn’t overlook anything – from equipment and hiring costs, to the resources you’ll need to make up the shortfall between when you bill customers and when they pay you. .