Increasing numbers of students are setting up their own businesses after graduating from college and university. A survey conducted by Pollara in July, 2013 asked 602 Canadian post-secondary students about career prospects and their aspirations to own their own business. Almost half of Canadian post-secondary students surveyed — 46% said they see themselves starting a business after graduation. Pollara said that some see their planned new business as a primary source of income while others see it as a secondary source.
By region, the greatest percentage of respondents who say they planned to start their own business was in British Columbia, at 50%. According to Statistics Canada, approximately 130,000 new small businesses are created in Canada annually. These businesses are the key to driving employment, with more than 40% of Canadians working for an organization with fewer than 100 employees.
Here are a few steps that you need to think about before starting your own business:
- Begin by completing the research and planning that will help you get your project off the ground. A business plan helps to define what you need to launch your business, large or small. It also creates a map for investors, bankers, and other interested parties to use when determining whether or not your business is viable. There are numerous books and resources available to assist you with writing your business plan, and you should avail yourself of at least one of these as a guide. Bookstores, libraries and online are good places to find these resources.
- Research available sources of financing for your start-up business. Are you planning to take a small business loan, or do you have some savings to fund your business? Will you be looking for investors? Ensuring adequate financing is an important step in opening a business.
- Research which permits, licenses and regulations apply to your business. Customers prefer to deal with registered and licensed companies.
- Find out about the requirements to register your business with different levels of government.
- Decide on the location for your business. Will you need a brick-and-mortar office or can you create a virtual office?
- Develop your marketing strategy. You must know your market if you want to be successful, so spend some time analyzing just who it is that will want your product, and how you plan on appealing to them. What is the size of the market, will there be opportunities to expand the initial market, and what are your sales potentials? How will you differentiate your business from competitors? Once you understand these variables, you can communicate them clearly in your business plan.
Some of the most valuable knowledge you can acquire will be from people who have tried to start a business similar to yours and failed in the process of doing so. Save yourself time and money by learning from their mistakes. You can also find a mentor, someone who is successful in your field and willing to share their wisdom.
The advantages of owning your business are numerous and include:
- The personal freedom that comes with being your own boss
- The satisfaction of pursuing your own interests
- A more flexible lifestyle
- The possibility of earning a higher income
Keep in mind that starting your own business can also have downsides, including long hours, personal liability, and an unsteady income. There is no pay check unless you make it happen.
Here are some resources that will assist you in starting your own business:
- Start Your Own Business by Rieva Lesonsky
- The Business Start-up Kit by Steven D. Strauss
- Start-up From the Ground-Up by Cynthia Kocialski
There are various MBA programs in Canada, including here at UCW, which will help you gain the key skills needed to be able to start your own business and make it a success.