Entrepreneurial spirit is strong in Canada with more than half of Canadians considering business ownership. Nearly as many of those who don’t already own a business are engaging in a side gig to explore their passion project or test new ideas for a future business.
Whether you’ve just started your business or you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, here are four tips to set your business up for long-term success.
- Develop a business plan and treat it like a living document. In the early stages of entrepreneurship, it’ll help you think through the feasibility of your idea, and define the purpose of your business and measures of success. As you manage and grow your business, your plan will help you stay focused, prioritized and accountable. Your plan should include: an outline of your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT); a forecasted cash flow; your channels of distribution; and a detailed marketing plan that includes research on your competitors, target customers and advertising tactics. Periodically review and update this plan to make sure your goals and actions remain relevant.
- Register your business. Doing so helps establish your brand as an official business entity and enhances its credibility. It’s also required from a tax and legal perspective if you earn more than $30,000 in revenue annually. Ownr.co offers an affordable and straightforward service for business owners in Ontario, Alberta and BC to register or incorporate their business in minutes.
- Separate your personal and business bank accounts. This will give your business an independent identity and boost credibility, especially when it comes to the exchange of money with your customers and vendors. From an accounting perspective, you’ll save yourself the hassle of having to untangle your personal and business finances during tax season and you can easily produce financial documents that are connected to a business-related account. This is especially important when developing relationships with banks, investors and other third-parties. Once you’ve registered your business, you can set up a business account online in less than 15 minutes with RBC’s online application.
- Explore digital solutions to simplify and streamline how you manage your business. Time, money and resources are in short supply for business owners. RBC has partnered with service providers like Wave, Acquisio, ADP and others to offer integrated solutions that go beyond banking to help entrepreneurs start, grow and manage their business with less hassle. Digital marketing solutions like Acquisio’s Promote can help owners reach new customers with targeted online advertising campaigns and Wave offers simple invoicing and expense tracking solutions to save you time. There are also free templates available from Quickbooks to plan your cash flow.
Taking these four foundational steps early in your business ownership journey will help save you valuable time and money down the road, and set your business up for success.
Jason Storsley is the Vice President of Small Business at RBC where he leads the development of small business segment and client experience strategies. For more information on RBC’s beyond banking solutions for small businesses, visit www.rbc.com/beyondbanking.