Tips & Advice

Tips and Advice

Starting Your own small and/or home business

Pick a small business idea that interests you, for which you have a talent or expertise, for which there is a need, and which you can afford to finance.

Do your market research. In a small business, as in any business, getting as much information as possible on your customers, competition, suppliers and market area before you start is essential.

Do a complete business plan, including financial planning, before beginning.

Check on and obtain all necessary licenses, permits, and registrations for your line of business. This includes checking with your city/town to see if it’s legal to operate your business from home.

Check on any extra insurance needs. Shop around for policies, but make sure that you’re adequately covered.

Check both federal and provincial taxation requirements with Canada Revenue Agency and the Provincial Retail Sales Tax Office in the provinces where these are applicable. Find out about allowable deductions for automobile expenses, business meals and entertainment, and home offices expenses for self-employed persons.

Have business cards, stationery, brochures, etc., printed by professionals. A polished, professional look is particularly important for home-operated businesses.

Self-market. Go to stores, companies, etc., to market your service or product in person. Be sure to spend some time finding out about your potential customers before you try to “sell” them.

Advertise. Scan and target T.V. and radio stations, newspapers, magazines and newsletters geared to your market. Use public and special libraries to access this information.

Talk to owners of similar businesses outside your market area to get an idea of the potential and status of that line of business.

Join trade associations, business community associations, (i.e., chambers of commerce), business networks or clubs to help establish contacts.

Designate and design a work area that is separate from the mainstream of your home activities. Install a separate business phone, fax and internet connection.

Make use of free publicity. Send out news releases, present your product or service to a newspaper editor, radio or T.V. producer if applicable.

Don’t overlook management and accounting/bookkeeping. Lack of managerial expertise is one of the single highest causes of business failure. Take courses, seek expert advice or hire help, but do learn basic management skills before you start.