Are you sitting at work right now with entrepreneurial dreams? Maybe you’ve even started to dabble with your own product or service and you’re considering turning it into a reality? Well, there are a ton of things to think about before starting a business; way too much to list in a single post, that’s for sure. The aim with the post however, is to at least get you started thinking about a few of those things.
1. Know When to Leap
The prospect of starting your own business and becoming your own boss is definitely exciting. There are a ton of possibilities and opportunities all wrapped up within it. What you’re doing from 9 to 5 right now probably isn’t anywhere near as exciting, pushing you to consider jumping ship to your new venture.
Well, don’t be too hasty about that decision. Most businesses won’t see a profit until they’re at least a year or so in. Can you afford to go without a salary for two years? As much as your day job right now might not be what tickles your fancy, the fact of the matter is – it pays your bills. Slow down. Think. Come up with a financial plan by setting aside money now so that you can afford to live without your salary for a while. There’s no rule that says you can’t work on your own venture in your spare time, so keep things moving at the same time.
With that being said, if you want to be successful you are going to need to jump. You can’t have one foot in and one foot out forever – this isn’t the hokey pokey. Eventually you need to make this your full time job if you want to succeed. So, set aside money now from every pay check. Plan your finances carefully and make an informed decision as to when you are financial and emotionally prepared to make the leap.
2. Talk to People About Your Idea
Now, this doesn’t mean you should take to the rooftops and holler your idea to those below at the top of your lungs, but you should sit down with people you trust to discuss it. Feedback is invaluable. Just about everyone looks at something a different way so it will give you the opportunity to come across issues and potential problems that you hadn’t thought of. It’s also a fantastic feeling to get reaffirmation for something that you truly believe is going to work.
However, to stress one of those points again – make sure it’s with people you trust. The way the world is going IP is going to be an extremely valuable and sought after resource. If you’re talking with someone who you don’t quite trust with a lot of ambition there isn’t a lot stopping them from trying to capitalize on your idea. Stick to close friends and family until you’re a little bit further down the road.
3. Incorporation Gut Check
So, you’ve decided to leap now. You’ve discussed your idea with others and you’re ready to take it on full time now. The next step on that journey is incorporation; which might I add, is not cheap. Now is the time where you really have to think about whether you want to make your dream a reality. Are you serious about getting started?
There are a few options available to the early stage entrepreneur looking to get incorporated. The first is to find a law office that will do it free of any up front charge. Sound too good to be true? It sort of is. These law firms write off the companies that fail and don’t receive anything from them. If your idea ends up being one that works out they’re going to come to you down the road and that’s when you’re going to end up paying them. It’ll be significantly more than you would have paid otherwise. Your second option is to swallow the cost and come up with a payment plan where you cover the costs a month at a time. I’d strongly suggest the latter because then you know up front what the costs will be and it’ll keep your feet to the fire.
Finally, you need a business address. You cannot use a PO Box to incorporate in Canada. I’d suggest finding a Virtual Office Address and using that. It’s a minimal monthly cost and you can hook up your Google Places for Business page to it which will allow customers to see your virtual office address when they search it. This gives you the additional benefit of looking bigger and more professional than you are.
What Should You Take Away From This?
- Plan the leap to entrepreneur very carefully and make sure you’re ready.
- Discuss your plans with friends and family to get some valuable feedback and insight.
- Plan your incorporation strategy carefully and get yourself a virtual office.
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