Evaluate Your Idea
If you're thinking about starting a business, it's important to evaluate yourself as an entrepreneur and validate your business idea before taking the plunge. There are some great online assessment tools. Here's one from the Business Development Bank of Canada: Self-Assessment Tool.
When validating your business idea, you need to think about key aspects of the business. For example, what need is your product or service fulfilling in the market? Who are your customers? What will make your product or service different? Do you really understand your competition? These are just some of the important questions to address before you start up, and they will become important areas within your business plan (below).
While the internet contains many great articles and ideas for entrepreneurs, it's important to talk about your idea with people who can give you sound advice and support. In the Colchester Region, there are several organizations you can connect with to discuss your idea.
Northern Opportunities for Business Ltd. (NOBL) is a local not-for-profit organization that can help discuss your concept. (NOBL is co-located with the Partnership at 35 Commercial St., Suite 208).
Talk with your local Bank or Credit Union.
Participate in start-up weekends, business plan competitions or local Chamber of Commerce events to meet business people in the community.
Make a Business Plan
A business plan is a roadmap or blueprint for your business that outlines your goals and details how you plan to achieve those goals. A well thought-out business plan can help business owners understand the key areas of their business and also help with accessing. The business plan is a living, ever-changing document that can help entrepreneurs stay on track, remain focused on the purpose of their businesses and understand the steps needed to get there. There are many business plan templates online. Canada Business is a great resource for business planning information.
Every business needs funding. Perhaps you have your own funds, maybe friends and family are willing to help, or it's possible you need funding from external sources (banks, credit unions, non-profit business support organizations). There are a variety of funding programs available to entrepreneurs in the Colchester region. Check out our list of local funding options.
Register a Business
All businesses must be registered with the either the Province of Nova Scotia or the Federal government. You can register a partnership or sole proprietorship using the Access Nova Scotia online service for business. (Registering a sole proprietorship or a partnership business is generally a two-step process: you pay for the Province to conduct a business name search, and then you pay to register your company name.) Registering an incorporated company or a social enterprise is a little more work requiring a little more money. It's important to pick the right company structure for your business. You can get more information here.
Zoning | Permits | Licenses
An important step, often overlooked when starting a business, is to check with local municipal zoning bylaws and permitted uses in your location. You will also be required to apply for certain permits and licenses:
Bylaws: As part of the business planning process, you will need to review local zoning bylaws to determine permitted uses in your location.
Permits & Licenses: Every county or town has its own set of rules requiring permits and licenses. BizPaL is an easy online that can help you determine the required business permits and licenses in your desired location. Access BizPaL by clicking here.