Are you ready to start a small business?

At GoForth Institute, we know all too well that a great idea doesn’t always translate into a great business. If you’re thinking of starting a small business, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How well do I handle risk?
  • How do I cope with stress?
  • Do I have the support of my family and friends?
  • Am I willing to work longer than usual to start my small business?
  • Are my finances strong enough to support me if my small business doesn’t see income immediately?
  • Do I have management or technical experience in a business similar to the business I want to start?
  • How well do I lead or manage others?
  • Do I have any accounting or bookkeeping knowledge?
  • What is most important to me in running a small business – making money or doing what I love?
  • How adaptable am I?
  • How do I make difficult decisions?
  • Do I have a long-term plan for my small business?
  • Do I have a business model?

These are just some questions you need to ask yourself when thinking of starting a small business of your own. As you can see, a successful start-up business is much more than having a great idea. We cover this important topic of “entrepreneurial readiness” in the first module of our web-based video small business training, launching on April 15th.

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Join the discussion at the Canadian Entrepreneurship Group

Are you on LinkedIn? If so, we’d love to have you at the Canadian Entrepreneurship Group. The group was started by GoForth Institute for entrepreneurs either thinking of starting a small business, in the start up business phase, or wanting to grow their business – much like our small business training! The group is also great for for entrepreneurs and small business professionals looking to learn about the latest discoveries in Canadian small business research.

This month at the Canadian Entrepreneurship Group, we’ve been talking taxes. We discuss tax software for Canadian entrepreneurs and share some insights on GoForth Institute Essential Small Business Skills™ – Skill #92: Income Taxes.

Do you have any tax stories you’d like to share? Stop by and join the small business discussions!

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Why a business model is so important

So you’ve had your A-ha! Moment. You’ve come up with a great small business idea and are ready to start a small business.

But, are you?

Before you start your small business, you need to create a business model – your roadmap for small business success.  And no, a business model is not a business plan.  You can’t even begin to write a business plan until you’ve created a “blueprint” for your success with a business model. Confused? Let’s take a closer look at a business model.

A business model is a blueprint for small business success

Building a business is a lot like building a house – and who can imagine a house built without preliminary sketches? Creating a small business model means planning – on paper – the fundamentals of your business. It helps you, as an entrepreneur, to put aside the excitement and make a realistic evaluation of the potential success of your business idea. A proper business model helps you to figure out elements such as: Your business concept – what problem are you solving for whom; how you will create customer value; how your product or service will get to customers; how your business will stay competitive; and all revenue and costs you can anticipate.

Take your time creating a business model

You may have a few ideas scribbled down on a sheet of paper – name ideas, product prices and ideal locations. This is a great start, but a proper business model takes time. Starting a small business is exciting, but you also need the strongest foundation possible to ensure small business success. Don’t guess what your business’ customer value will be – research! Survey your friends and work your business network to find the true value of the solution that your product or service offers to the marketplace. Taking your time creating your business model will ensure you don’t underestimate – or overestimate – anything.

Consider all possible areas of concern

There are many moving parts when it comes to running a business and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. For example, how exactly will your product make its way to your customers? Make sure your business model is thorough and covers all the bases. Once you’ve proven the feasibility of your new business or your business expansion plan on paper with a business model, you’re ready to write a more comprehensive business plan. Proper planning takes time and effort, but you’ll see the return on that investment when your great idea has become the great, successful small business you envisioned.

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How to attain the grand achievement – small business success

I attended a Think Tank on Saturday for the Jack Neufeld Foundation – founded by Jack Neufeld in 2004 to help provide housing and community resources to disadvantaged and vulnerable families of society – to dialogue about Jack’s latest humanitarian project in Pachacámac, Peru, in the community of Manchay.   I’ve been asked to be a member of a team that is developing small business training and entrepreneurship education to local Peruvian adult entrepreneurs.  Peru has one of the highest levels of entrepreneurship in the world – one third of Peru’s population are self-employed or small business owners.  How could I say no?

The meeting was kicked off by Dr. Terry Young. He told those of us participating in a development project for the first time that we are embarking on a grand adventure, and that every grand adventure starts with a great idea and ends with a grand achievement.  He also told us that, between the great idea and the grand achievement, was the vast wasteland of grinding it out.

I liked that.  I associated the grand adventure of a development project in Peru with the grand adventure of starting a small business.  For those of us still running our businesses, we’re in the vast wasteland of grinding it out.  Dr. Young went on to say that for most people, the vast wasteland can be too daunting, too hard, too frustrating and  just before the great achievement – they quit.  They give up. He said it was like Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings – the worst place imaginable – right before the grand achievement.

He ended his talk by asking us to visualize our grand achievement – to make it the thing we think about – while we’re slogging it out in the vast wasteland.  And to never give up.

So for those of you in the vast wasteland of grinding it out in a small business, take heart.  You’re not alone.  Your grand achievement is on the horizon.

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