Dreaming of Starting a Business

Many people daydream about the fanciful idea of one day being their own boss and owning their own business. It sounds awesome, right?! Choosing your own work hours, getting to pick who you work with, ideally doing something you love every day, reaping all the profits – who wouldn’t want to do that?

Of course, anyone who has started a small business will tell you it is a little more complicated than that. Actually, it is a LOT more complicated. There is a dizzying array of issues and practical concerns to consider before you cut the ribbon on opening day. What market are you going to serve? What niche are you going to fill? How does your skillset compliment running this kind of business? Will you have a physical location? Will you be leasing that space or buying it outright? Have you considered your marketing plan? What about supply chains? Will you have access to a stable workforce, or constantly be re-hiring and re-training people? Do you have enough capital to setup the business and cover any initial losses? Will you need to borrow some money to get this going? How much money do you stand to make at the end of a year after taxes and expenses?

Like most things in life, your chances of success are significantly greater if you have a plan. A robust business plan that considers all the above questions is critical – particularly if you intend on applying for a loan. Fortunately, there are a lot of great supports for new and would-be entrepreneurs available to people in our area. Small Business BC (smallbusinessbc.ca) is a great place to start. They have a ton of information and education resources for people looking to start a business in our province – including how to write a thorough and useful business plan.

The next critical piece once you have a plan your confident in is finding the startup capital. There are quite a few options here, but you may want to consider talking to a dedicated business start-up lender over a traditional bank. Organizations like Community Futures (cfek.ca) and the Women’s Enterprise Centre (womensenterprise.ca) have great programs designed especially for startups, typically at lower rates than other financial institutions. These organizations also wrap business support and advice around their lending to better support you getting your business off the ground.

Then comes the more fun stuff – choosing a name, branding, choosing a location, etc. There are some other key formalities like registering your business, getting a business license from your municipal government, and insurance. Again, there is plenty of support out there to help you navigate these processes during startup and even once you have been trading for a while. I will shamelessly plug here the value of becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce who have a wealth of resources, connections, and networking opportunities to meet your fellow entrepreneurs. I also highly recommend engaging the services of the Basin Business Advisors Program (bbaprogram.ca) at any phase of your business lifespan. They provide free, one-to-one, confidential business advisement to businesses operating in the Columbia Basin.

With a lot of planning and forethought, and by leaning into the ecosystem of business supports we have – your dream of becoming your own boss may be easier to reach than you thin