So you want to start your own business? Congratulations! But be warned; it’s easy to get overwhelmed getting started. Breathe. Take it slow. And use this quick guide to starting your own business to get you on your way to owning a real business.

Quick Guide to Starting Your Own Business

Create a Business Plan

A business plan is critical for any real small business. With it, you’ll get the discipline, clarity and focus you’ll need to start off successfully. You’ll also need a business plan to get any funding. A business plan is your opportunity to prove to financing sources that you understand the market, the opportunity, and the risks associated with your new business. It’s also how you convince them you know what you’re doing with a good strategy. But you don’t need to start from scratch. The Canadian Business Network has a few templates to help you get started.

Build a Great Website

You’re not in business until you have a website, which is the biggest asset a small business just starting out can have. So don’t take it lightly. Map out your website with content for every phase of the sales funnel and with strong, clear CTAs. Then, build it. Focus on building something great but not perfect. It’s OK to build a minimally viable website in the beginning, just don’t forget to constantly improve it.

Network. Like A Lot!

Prepare your elevator pitch and get out to every small business MeetUp group, every industry trade show, every co-working space. Learn to say “yes” to every opportunity to meet new people and share your story. Starting a real business is no time to be shy. Get out there and make new contacts.

Spread the Word

Rising above the noise and generating awareness is one of the most challenging things for a small business because it takes time and money. Start small. Start local. Host a charity event that aligns with your mission and invite local press along with your new network. Send out press kits to industry trades with clear statement on why you’re different than your competitors. And as soon as you can convert customers on your website, start even the smallest SEO/PPC campaign. Like your retirement, starting early reaps big benefits down the road.

Starting a business isn’t easy. But breaking it up into manageable, bite-sized pieces will make the process a lot easier. So take this quick guide and start your own business.

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