STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Have you ever owned a business? If yes, you know better than anybody: it’s not a 9 to 5 job. Your business, if successful and growing, will become your ‘baby’. It will likely require your 24/7 involvement. Emails, phone calls and meetings in the evening and on the weekends. That’s why it’s so important that you love and enjoy what you do.
Have you ever owned a business in Canada? If yes, you know already that it is drastically different here than in other countries. The biggest difference is that Canada is a big country with a small – small – population. It means if you just open a store or a restaurant, people are not going to flood in. In fact, your restaurant can stay empty for weeks and nobody will walk in. There are simply not enough people here. Unless your business is a franchise (for example a Tim Horton’s) and people know exactly what to expect inside. Here it’s about building relationships with every customer to ensure they come for the first time and then back again.
Will this business exist in the future? How will the developments in technology affect the potential of your business growing? Times change and certain things become obsolete. Educate yourself on the market trends and do a lot of research before you start.
What will be unique about your business? The competition is fierce. What can you offer to your clients that is so special, so unique that they will want to come to YOU and not your competitors? What will make you stand out? If you are offering a service that no one else offers or you are the first to start offering that service, you have a better chance of succeeding than if you are one of thousands. Your other option is do absolutely everything in your power to ensure that your product or service is the best quality – better than all your competitors.
Does your product serve people? Is the service you are going to provide needed? Will it improve people’s lives? When people have a problem and come to you for a solution, they are most likely to become a repeat customers – if they received a good quality service. In Canada, your customers are your friends and your partners.
Start building your clientele now. Yes, now. Not after you write a business plan and invest your money. So many businesses fail because of that! In Canada, no clientele means no business! Start networking now, so by the time you launch, people will be ready and they will come. Spread the word about yourself and your business – this is the most important investment you can make.
Find other business owners and learn from them. Connect with other business owners. Ask them about challenges they are facing and the way they are doing marketing. Explain to them that you are new to owning a business in Canada and you are doing your research. Talk to as many people as possible and ask for advice. People in general are happy to give you some advice. If you can find someone who is already doing the kind of business you want to do, find a way to meet them – pay for their lunch for example – and ask them to be your mentor. Why make your own mistakes when you can learn from other people’s mistakes? This is your shortcut to success!
The knowledge from your fist country might help you – a little bit – but you need to learn about how things work in Canadian market.
Be careful: banks are often happy to lend you money. Whether you are investing your own savings or got a loan from a bank, be smart about how you’re investing this money.
Here are some useful websites: