How to start a business?
Having a great business idea isn’t always enough.
There are a lot of small details that you better do right from the start.
Few things are as scary, stressful, exciting, and fun as starting a business. There are so many things to consider when getting a new business off the ground. There are so many skills needed to be truly successful at this game.
And of course, a decision you will need to make is whether you simply want to “get by” or whenever you would like to “thrive” and have this business provide with much more of what life has to offer.
And difference by way of investment in time and money between the two is negligible. It boils down to whether you would spend your time and money doing the right things or not.
What are the things you really need to be aware of when starting a business?
Well, there are a dozen ways of answering this, but we will tackle this question by providing you with this information in 3 categories:
- Absolute necessities – Things you must absolutely think about, research and very possibly put into action for your business to even exist.
- Business plan – A business can survive without a business plan, but it is very unlikely to really thrive and grow without one.
As Benjamin Franklin said: “By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail”.
- Necessary skills business owners need to be successful – There are plenty of skills you already have, and more you’ll need to learn if you want to last the long run with extraordinary success.
What are the absolute necessities you need to have to start a business?
How to register your business’ name?
If you are in Manitoba, go on companiesonline.gov.mb.ca and register your company name. In a few clicks you will have the name of your future company secured in the province. If you will operate in different provinces, you may have to register the name in each province.
PRO TIP 1: When registering your name, you will be asked if you have a business number (BN) or not and if you tick no, then you will be given one without you having to do anything.
PRO TIP 2: Once your legal name is protected, go to social media such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn and create a free account on each platform using your business name. That way, when you will be ready to do some marketing, no one else will own your business name and you will have secured your business on social media.
How to get a business number ?
When you registered your business name on companiesonline.gov.mb.ca (and said that you didn’t have a business number), they automatically contacted Entrepreneurship Manitoba – Companies Office and they will send you your business number by email.
How to get a GST number
There are no obligations for you to register for a Goods and Services Tax (GST) number until your business had grow revenue of $30,000 or more. Until such time, getting a GST number is optional. So why get one? A GST number obliges your business to charge GST on most goods and services you provide and paid by your customers. However, once you are a GST registrant, you are allowed to claim back all the GST paid on qualified business purchases made, which can of course be very advantageous.
To register, visit General Information for GST/HST Registrants.
Do you need a RST/PST number and how to get this number
This tax is calculated on the selling price, before the GST (Good and Services Tax) is applied and the general sales tax rate is 7%. The rules surrounding Retail Sales Tax (RST) or Provincial Sales Tax (PST) vary greatly from business to business. You can discuss the nature or your company’s business with a RST/PST representative who will advise you. Contact them at www.gov.mb.ca/finance/taxation/contact
What kind of insurance do you need
Insurance is a critical element in protecting your estate.
There are several insurances to consider. Here are but a few for your consideration:
- Tools & Equipment insurance
- Liability insurance
- Life insurance
- Disability insurance
- Critical illness insurance
How to choose the right insurance
Choosing all the necessary insurance for you and your business will require research. Be sure to get the opinions of several insurance brokers that you trust and contact a layer to determine your exposure.
How to do your bookkeeping
There are different ways of tackling this really important obligation. You can:
- Do it yourself
- Have a friend, a spouse or an acquaintance do it for you
- Hire a professional bookkeeper
- Let your accountant do it for you
Each of the above will bring with it cost or cost savings as well as possible risk. When evaluating your options, consider which software you will adopt as each have their strength and weakness. As well as possible very different costs. Software most adopted by starting small business include, but are not limited to:
For more information:
If you need to outsource your bookkeeping, visit our
If you only need training or some help setting up your bookkeeping software, visit our:
How to do your payroll
Whether you should hire someone to do your payroll or not really is a choice of preference. Many small business owners do their own payroll. However, many will argue that given the cost and risk, it’s really not worth doing it yourself and they simply outsource it.
This said however, should you have employees working for you, you will need to register for a payroll number with Canada Revenue Agency and become familiar with Labor board laws.
Note that when you pay an employee, if you forgot to collect their Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI), at the end of the year your business will have to pay their share. Most of the time, it’s almost impossible to collect the CPP and EI from an employee.
If you hesitate between having an employee or hiring a subcontractor
Enquiring about the Worker Compensation Board (WCB)
Rules related to WCB vary considerably from industry. We simply recommend to contact WCB directly and explain your business.
How to choose the right bank
There are so many options to choose from when selecting the right banking solutions for you. Explore your options, meet with several banks, credit unions and Caisse Populaire and ask a lot of questions to see which best suits your needs at a reasonable cost.
Should you start as a sole proprietor or incorporate
Impossible question to answer without first having all the facts related to your particular situation. However as a general rule, we usually recommend business start as a sole proprietorship until such time as profits are sufficient to justify the cost of incorporating. This said however, there are many circonstances where the lawyer or accountant my recommend incorporating your business from the on-start. We recommend you seek professional advice before starting.
How to select the right lawyer
Selecting the right lawyer for you is much a matter of personal preference. Of course, you want to selecta lawyer who as the experience to properly service you, and preferably in your area. At the end, you want to select someone you’re confortable with and that you know cares about you.
Ensuring the estate is protected from lawsuits as best as possible
Estate protection is best to be discussed with a lawyer of good reputation and experience.
How to avoid computer and security issue
Text explaining that – (Talk about our IT services)
Is a business plan really important to start a business?
Developing a comprehensive written business plan will go a long way in ensuring the continued success of your enterprise.
This is where all the thinking, researching, evaluating, and consulting happens.
Some of the critical elements of a good business plan includes, but are not limited to the following:
- Preparing projected income statement and balance sheet
- Preparing projected cash flow statements
- Developing a marketing plan
- Determining your prime target market
- Refining what products and services you will be offering
- Determining the price of such products and services
- Researching the cost of producing goods and services
- Being clear of whether financing will be required and when
- Determining whether additional help and skills will be required and cost thereof
Developing a solid business plan will require tremendous input from people with training and experience in running a thriving successful business.
This is why Talbot & Associates can provide you with this support.
What are the necessary skills business owners need to be successful?
Over the past 30 years, we’ve helped a lot entrepreneurs start their company. Their business models were almost all different, some being in the city and some out of town, some selling products and others services. But if there is one thing that all these entrepreneurs have in common, they all agree that it was hard word, with a lot of skills to learn and things to manage.
Building a business that achieves above average success is similar to building a three-legged stool.
All three legs must be firm, strong, and well positioned, or it will fail.
So, what are those three legs necessary for the success of an enterprise?
But all these skills fit into only 3 categories:
- Technical skills
- Marketing skills
- Management skills
Let’s tackle each one of them.
These are the skills necessary to render the product or service desired by the marketplace. Needless to say, the more refined your technical skills and abilities are, the more your product or service will be superior to your competitors and the greater the odds of your business thriving. It is essential that all business owners continually strive at owning those skills always protecting the goods sold to client. And of course, that you train your team to also perfect their technical skills as they too will impact your business’ reputation. By and large, most business owners have decent technical skills, enough to get by.
Areas where most business owners who fail to thrive are with the next two legs.
For the purpose of this article, I will define marketing as the ability to attract and keep clients and customers. Marketing generally requires a skill set often non-existent in business owners. One must not only learn how and where to advertise, but really be able to connect with your target market. An ability that does not come naturally at all to so many business owners.
Selling and servicing is not something taught in school and is especially challenging to those who don’t particularly enjoy working with the general public. It is especially challenging if you’re shy, introverts, or often find yourselves easily stressed and impatient.
Marketing comes naturally to very few people, but it is a skill that can be learned, developed, and improved with practice, time, and coaching. On many cases, it is a task that can go from being the most despicable to even quite enjoyable.
And finally, we now come to the third leg of this stool.
Management skills actually entails several areas and here they are:
- Pricing your product or service
- Using the right tools for the job
- Using the right person for the job
- Time Management
- Business Profitability
- Income taxes
You need to have the right philosophy. You need to develop a frame of mind where you make learning your number one priority. Your success depends on what you know. What you don’t know will hurt you. You need to work harder on yourself than on your business to be successful.
2/ Pricing your product or service
Master value billing. Determine the value of the product or service you provide, and that people are willing to pay. Learn to conquer the fear of price discussions with clients and customers and charge what your product or service is worth. It is critical to the success of your business to be able to properly price what you’re selling and always work at getting the maximum for what you produce.
3/ Using the right tools for the job
Using the right tools, whether it’s a wrench or software will make a remarkable difference to your bottom line. Maximizing your time and your team’s time relies on making changes to each person’s productivity by providing them what they need to execute their work efficiently.
4/ Using the right person for the job
One of the biggest entrepreneurs’ flaws is wanting to do everything themselves, which can very quickly exhaust them. We all have the same number of hours per day and there are tasks where you will excel and others where you will be much less effective. Try to find people around you who excel where you’re struggling, so you can focus your time on things only you can do well. We know that in the beginning or your journey, it will be difficult to hire a whole team but as soon as you have enough momentum, think about delegating tasks like cleaning or bookkeeping in order to free up your precious time.
5/ Time Management
With a limited number of working hours in a year, you need to make every minute count. Look at your day, dissect your time, delegate where you can, and focus the bulk of your time on what you need to be doing to better your business and the tasks that only you can do.
Hire the right team for you. Hire based on the things that really matter – philosophy, heart, and core values. It will save you trouble in the long run (you can train skills, but you can’t train attitude!), and having a team you can laugh with and work well with, will make coming to work so much more fun. Ensure what matters to you matters to them. And make sure that the reason why you get up every morning to go to work is also the reason the candidate comes.
Develop a culture where people are excited to come to work and are motivated to do what is right for the enterprise and your clients. Train your team to think like owners. When you have a team that has the practice’s best interests at heart, you can free up your energy to focus on what matters most. You can also take a vacation without worrying about the state of your venture while you are away.
8/ Business Profitability
Develop a system of preparing financial statements on a regular basis (every month is what we recommend). Produce financial statements in a format that tell a story about what you’re doing and provide insight on how to improve the way you operate. Prepare projections and analyze where you’re going with your business. These reports are critical to sustaining a profitable and healthy enterprise. And of course, learning how to use this information for decision-making purposes is extremely challenging. This skill is not well understood by most entrepreneurs. But by hiring a good bookkeeper and accountant, this information can be synthesized for you.
Hire a mentor. A good mentor can make all the difference in the world to your success and keep you motivated and focused on what is important. A good sounding board and accountability to do the right thing (not just the easy thing) can give you the confidence you need to execute the hard changes that will better your business. But choose wisely. Be sure to select someone who shares your core values, has experience and knowledge preferably superior to yours, and it will be honest enough to tell you what you will not want to hear.
Nurture your own healthy psychology. Too often, we take care of our clients, customers and team but don’t take time for ourselves. Do the things that matter. Really learn to enjoy yourself and you will become a much more successful entrepreneur.
11/ Income taxes
All advice so far has been for the purpose of increasing profits. And increasing profits you must. Do not become a victim of your own hatred towards government and do foolish things to reduce profits in order to reduce taxes. You must continually work and concentrate at doing all you can to increase profits, regardless of the taxes that will be owed.
However, once you have achieved great profits, you should develop a strategy at keeping as much of what you earn rather than giving it to the government. There are 2 critical elements to this strategy.
- Selecting the right accountant who is proactive, well informed, is always up to date with the ever-changing rules, has a good amount of experience and most important: who cares about you.
- Be informed and learn all you can. Be sure you know what you can and cannot deduce from tax purposes. Attending a business tax seminar will generally reduce your annual tax bill by thousands of dollars every year.
If you really want to start a business, we recommend you attend one our our Business Tax Seminar, in person or virtual.
If ever you still have question, feel free to contact us
and we will be happy to answer you