Creating your small to medium-sized business (SMB) is the adventure of a lifetime, requiring both financial and personal investment. Done incorrectly, most new businesses close their doors before their fifth year in operation.
The business start-up period presents the most risk, in which you tend to make mistakes. In this article, there are many different steps you should know for the success of your new business. By applying some foundational principles, you can greatly increase the chances of your success.
Discover 5 key steps to help you start a business in Quebec.
1. Start with a strong business foundation
As with any start up project, you need a structured approach to have a clear vision of the project and define an effective strategy in line with reality.
Admittedly, starting your business requires special qualities and skills. If you aren’t familiar with the trade and marketing world, don’t hesitate to take a few courses or reach out to people you may know with qualifications in the field. There are also online courses and dozens of online videos that cover the topic.
To steer your SMB in the right direction, you will have to study the competition, know their position in the market and get inspiration from other successful businesses. These steps should be designed to help you reflect on how you will implement the tools at your disposal to attract customers.
Questions your business plan should answer
To start a business in Quebec and even outside of it, it is necessary to ask yourself some particularly important questions. You can then include the answers you find in your business plan.
Products and services
- What are the qualities of the products or services that you want to emphasize in order to sell them?
- How does your product or service stand out from the competition?
- What customer benefits does your product or service provide?
- What is the size of your market? Local, national, international?
- Is it a growing market?
- Is there a shortage or excess of supply in your industry?
- What is your target audience (age, location, occupation)?
- What are your customers' buying criteria (price range, delivery, ecommerce)?
- What are your customers' buying habits?
- Are the prices of your products or services competitive?
- What message will the price of your product or service send to your customers (low-end, mid-range, high-end, etc.)?
- How much are your clients willing to spend for your products or services?
2. Find financing to start your business
Once you create and establish a business plan, you will have to move on to other serious matters: financing.
Not everyone is on equal footing at this level, some will have more assets than others, and everything depends on your future SMB’s investment needs. At this stage, understanding the basics of accounting is a great asset. Without some knowledge, you can easily be taken advantage of. In this case, don’t hesitate to seek the valuable advice of a tax accountant who can provide guidance related to starting a business.
3. Keep your cash flowing to keep your business growing
In the first few months after starting the business, one of the main difficulties is staying out of debt and chances are you won’t receive a salary for several months. It is important to have a small safety net in case you take a hit.
For this reason, you need to invest intelligently. Don’t hire dozens of specialists when you haven’t mastered the basics of a small business start-up and only choose reliable and experienced partners. The same goes for loans, avoid multiplying them and start thinking about the future tax savings that can be made.
When starting a business in Quebec, you must keep costs down. Moreover, think twice before you leave your job and fully devote yourself to your project which requires not only time, but money as well.
4. Create your business network
The worst thing you can do when starting a small business is withdraw yourself in isolation. It’s the best time to get out of the office and go to a few happy hours and get involved in local groups to find useful contacts.
It’s always good to meet people in the same situation as you as it allows you to exchange tips and experiences. Some will have encountered the same problems as you and might have interesting solutions to share.
Learn to get yourself out there, have a presence on social media, directories, search engines and advertising. Consider investing in digital marketing, as it’s practically a necessity today.
5. Be patient with your small business start up
When starting a business, there are always some discouraging moments where we feel like giving in to panic. There are many difficulties, but you need to keep calm and clear-minded. Don’t hesitate to turn to your loved ones for a little comfort. Listen to the criticisms that can lead to improvement.
Starting your business in Quebec is a very formative experience and you will learn new things every day. Don’t hesitate to contact the T2inc team to assist you with your business start-up, incorporation or corporate taxation. It will be our pleasure to assist you.