Starting a business can be extremely exciting, but at times it can also be a frustrating journey. Your business idea may seem like a good one, but is it a product or service that customers need and want? Our Indigenous Business Strategists at Business Link can help make your entrepreneurial journey as pain-free as possible.

Where to Start

So you think you have a great business idea. Now what? With any new idea, a good place to start would be to do some research to ensure that your business idea is likely to succeed. Taking this first step can help you decide whether you have a viable business, if you need to modify your business idea, or if you need to come up with another idea altogether. If you would like to learn more about how market research can help you move your business idea forward, checkout this helpful blog post: The Why and How of Market Research.

When clients reach out to us and are not sure where to start, we encourage them to use the Startup Guide, a useful guide offering guidance, resources, and checklists for starting a business. Working through this guide will ensure you have the skills and knowledge to pursue your business idea. Other questions the guide will help you with:

  • Does your business solve a problem?
  • Who might be your ideal customer?
  • What sets you apart from your competitor?
  • Will my business be online? Offline? Or both?
  • Who will be a part of my management team and will I hire employees or contractors?
  • How will I fund my business? Will I need to start the business as a part-time venture, or can I dive right in full-time?

As a next step, you can use the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition tools to brainstorm and evaluate your idea by filling in the answers in the appropriate areas. These tools are helpful in ensuring you have a good understanding of the basic structure of your business and the problems you intend to solve.

How Can I Build a Business Plan?

When it comes to the process of putting together an enticing business plan, our Interactive Business Plan Builder will provide you with direction and assistance at every step of the way. This free interactive tool is for anyone, from aspiring entrepreneurs who have an idea for a new business to business owners who already have a company but are looking to pivot their current business model or secure new funding.

Should I Register My Business?

As you move ahead with your business idea, you’ll need to decide what type of business structure you’ll register as: sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation? Depending on the business type, you’ll also need to identify any special licensing, permits and regulations that may be required. If you’re planning to start an on-reserve business, you may have to determine if there are other legal requirements you may have to meet, such as a Band Council Resolution (BCR). You can check with your Band or Economic Development office on this.

How Can I Showcase My Business?

Another way to showcase your business is through the Indigenous Made campaign, which promotes and highlights Indigenous businesses in Alberta. Entrepreneurs can download and display their Indigenous Made decal to help bring awareness to their products and services, show support for other companies, and build a unique business community.

Why Work With Business Link?

Business Link recognizes the importance of the Indigenous community to the Alberta economy by having the land acknowledgment on our website, as well as ensuring it is a part of all events and meetings in our organization. In addition, by having a specialized Indigenous Services team, we can meet the unique needs of our Indigenous clients and extend our resources by working with partners in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This way, we can be a one-stop destination to provide the most up-to-date and beneficial information to our clients. Our priority is helping entrepreneurs start, run and thrive.

About the author: Norma Wolf Child

Norma Jean Wolf Child has over 10 years experience assisting and guiding entrepreneurs in all stages of entrepreneurship and is excited to join Business Link to continue to serve indigenous entrepreneurs in Southern Alberta. Norma is a member of the Blood Tribe, which is part of the Treaty 7 territory and Blackfoot Confederacy. Norma Jean is a very enthusiastic individual and enjoys life’s adventures. Part of her spare time is spent on her Blackfoot Hills Honey and Crafts business, gardening, beekeeping, keeping chickens and now goats. She mostly enjoys spending time with her husband and three children as well as her mom, siblings, nieces, nephews, family and friends who are dear to her.