The summer’s heating up and all the hot business ideas just keep rolling in! Are you ready to get down to business and begin looking at the official steps to operating your startup? If so, there are a number of essential tasks that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with and complete before you start selling to your first client or customer.

A common rhetorical question many prospective business owners find themselves asking is: “how do I know what I need to do, when I don’t know what I need to do!?” Remember—it’s okay to not have all of the answers in the beginning, but you need to be willing to put in the effort to find out. Unfortunately, there is no one person that can give you all of the answers, but don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can do to prepare yourself, and there is also help along the way.

Start with a Plan

For many people, writing a business plan is a good start to finding out what will be required for you to carry on your business. But there are also other ways you can learn about the tangible steps to getting started.

Here are a few ideas on how you can better prepare yourself with the practical sides of business startup:

1. Talk to professionals: professionals are here to assist small business owners in answering more specific-based questions. Experts might include lawyers, accountants, human resource consultants, among others, who are familiar with some of the various elements you may need to consider like liability, tax, etc. Of course, professionals do have a fee-for-service, so be sure to account for these expenses.

2. Join an industry association: depending on the exact nature of your business, there may be local industry associations that you can join. Many are industry associations, but some are mandatory based on the type of product or service you offer. Associations often have very helpful (and business-specific) information, resources, staff, and even other members whom may be able to answer any specific questions that you have. 

3. Do your research: the internet has a wealth of information and resources for small businesses to access. The more time you spend researching, the less chance you’ll have that you miss something important to consider. Good places to start are Business Link’s and Canada Business Network’s easy-to-read startup checklists.

Taking the First Few Steps and Getting the Help You Need

A few of the key steps to getting your business operational include:

  •         Registering your business name
  •         Getting your business license and permits
  •         Applying for a business registration number from Canada Revenue Agency
  •         Looking into business insurance
  •         Exploring methods of payment and setting up a bank account

It’s important not to get overwhelmed—remember there are support systems available to you! Reach out to fellow entrepreneurs, trusted mentors, family, or friends when you need to brainstorm or are in need of cheerleaders. Our team at Business Link is also always ready to take your questions and offer guidance when you need it. Give us a call at 1-800-272-9675 and we’ll work with you no matter what stage you’re at.