8 wise things to consider before starting your business

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Immigrants are strategic risk-takers, courageous, hardworking and are able to spot awesome opportunities. These skills are greatly aligned with some of the core skills that a lot of successful entrepreneurs have. This therefore makes it easier for them to start their own businesses.

Little wonder that a good percentage of immigrants are business owners and many keep starting new businesses.

Hold on! This isn’t the time to be experimental. You need to take decisive steps, based on proper planning, some of which are outlined below:

It’s important to research your industry, find competitors, understand risk and map out your finances before starting your business.

– Stella Morrison

1.    Start with research.

Your research should be to find out what existing competitors you have and their Unique Selling Proposition. You may also consider the demographics of your target market — who are they in terms of age, class, gender, income, profession? Find out what they want. Knowing this would help ensure your offering is not off target and to also carve a niche for your product or service quickly.

Key point: Do market assessment to understand your audience, market and competition.

2.   Choose your business model and structure.

Is it going to be largely an online business or a combination of online and offline? How do you want your business to operate? Sole proprietorship, joint-ownership? Will you have employees, or will it be a solo-run? The answers you provide will help you with the legal aspects, licensing and other business frameworks that may be required.

Key point: Seek legal advice

3.   Have a mission statement.

The mission statement isn’t just for glazing and hanging on the wall. It needs to be strong enough to be the driving force of all you do as an entity. Months, years down the line, your mission statement should be as relevant as when you started.

Key point: Define your mission clearly.

4.   Determine your finances.

Starting any business requires money even though your business model and structure will, to a large extent, determine how much you’ll need for your startup. You will need money for legal fees. How do you source funds for your business? Your private circle is your sure bet for seeking capital, and that is talking about family and friends. Just outside your circle are investors and venture capitalists. You can also approach banks and other lending institutions, including small business associations. Visit Futurpreneur for information on how you can be helped.

Key Point: Have a concrete plan on how to fund your business.

5.   Get informed about your taxes.

By that, we mean city, state and federal taxes. These are payments that need to be filed on particular dates. Be informed well ahead.

Key point: Find out what, when and to whom taxes are to be paid.

6.   Choose and register your business name.

The name you choose should project your business personality. Be intentional about it. Once this is done, take the steps to register the business name. Business registration is a legal way of protecting your brand. There are no shortcuts here.

Key point: Pick a business name that reflects your brand and register the name with the government.

7.   Be knowledgeable about the risks involved.

Entrepreneurs should do a risk assessment of their industry before purchasing business insurance. It’s called due diligence. A disregard for this may put your business at risk.

Key point: Find out about the liabilities of the business before you purchase insurance.

Great ideas work because they are great ideas, but also because they’re introduced at the right time.

– IdeaNation

8.    Be strategic about the time to launch out.

Even if everything is perfect — business idea, business model, good financial muscle and everything else, but the business launch comes too early or too late, you will only end up shooting yourself in the foot. Timing is key to the success of any startup. Imagine it the other way around — a great business idea and business model with money lacking plus some other holes in it. Finesse will come in as the business grows.

Key point: Don’t be ahead of time. Don’t be behind it. Just be sure the timing is perfect.

Immigrants are hardworking and resilient people. COVID or not, we will keep pushing. We will keep contributing our quota to making Canada better. We keep thriving to the point of positively impacting our communities. See you on the other side of impossibility! Together, we thrive.

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Written by Yinka Bakare