In a world of constant change, there are countless opportunities to turn an idea into a business reality. If you’ve been thinking about starting your own business, or have already started the process, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Ensure your business plan is profitable: While creating your business plan, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your concept and closely examine the financial reality of your proposal. There are many great ideas in the world, but very few of them are translatable into an income stream unless adequate forethought is put into the process. Finding knowledgeable mentors to assist you is invaluable. Don’t hesitate to bounce your ideas off wise business owners and professional advisers such as bankers, accountants, insurance advisers and lawyers.
Determine your business structure: The structure of your business may vary depending on the number of individuals involved and could be a proprietorship, partnership, or a limited liability company. There are also other business structures that may be applicable depending on the complexity of your plans. It would always be our recommendation that if you are involving more than yourself, you have some form of written document to reflect your plans and agreements. Far too many friendships have fallen by the wayside once the same individuals have entered into a business relationship; many of those disputes arise from parties failing to fully agree on everything prior to starting the business, and they are therefore working on assumptions.
Protect what is yours: Depending on the nature of your idea you may need to protect your intellectual property. This may involve registration of trade names, trademarks, patents for inventions and other intellectual property protections. You may also want to preserve your business name by registering it with either the provincial government or one of the federal government agencies, again depending on the importance of the name in your business plan.
Set it up right the first time: In many situations you will need to register with various levels of government for such things as a local business license, provincial sales tax, goods and services tax, payroll deduction and other governmental agencies depending on the nature of your business. Due diligence should be made on all of these matters prior to charging down the road to create the new business.
Lawyers can play a key role in guiding you through many of the preliminary steps and questions that you might have when you are first contemplating bringing your business idea to reality. Half an hour of a lawyer’s time during your initial stages may save you countless hours and expenses at a later stage, and is often a very worthwhile expenditure of time and money.