Posts Tagged ‘starting your own business in Canada’

I have seen this sticker on many  semi-trailors on major highways: Don’t drive like you own the road, drive like you own the company. It is an important seguay into this (first in a series) of my blogs on entrepreneurship.

First, the sombre facts: over 50% of all start-ups fail in the first five years of operation. The reason – management! Now that this is out of the way, we can proceed to other realities that you must come to terms with:

  • Being an entrepreneur is different from being an employee. You can go through the motions as an employee and still pick up a paycheque every two weeks. As a self employed entrepreneur (in a proprietorship) your income is based on your ability to find enough revenue to cover your expenses and then hopefully have enough left over to cover your personal living costs.
  • You must never stop looking for business opportunities. You many be fully occupied with existing clients/customers but must always be on the lookout for new customers.
  • You must take a long term view despite the factoid #1.

You should do a personal assessment.

  1. Why do you want to go into business for yourself?
  2. What personality type are you?
  3. Can you handle stress? (Business will be stressful at times).
  4. Do you have a family? If so, they should be consulted with and advised about your plans. Do not come home on a Friday evening and announce to your spouse that “I’ve quit my job and decided to start my own business.”
  5. Are you aware of the constraints this can impose on your personal life?

Business owners work long hours but some people look at them and are jealous that they can come and go as they please or drive a flashy car. They think the entrepreneur has it all. Not true! Many entrepreneurs I consult to work 50-60 hours per week, open and close their doors each day and their flashy car may be the only perq they have.

So put the horse before the cart. Do a serious evaluation of your personality type and why you want to go into business – even before you go into business. You will have a leg up on other would be entrepreneurs.

More posts on this topic will follow.



I am offering a few insights to prospective entrepreneurs based on my 30+ years experience in and around the small business sector. Many employees dream about starting their own business but never do. On the other hand, many entrepreneurs are created overnight – by necessity. In the 1980s, I worked for a company that closed its doors and I needed to find money to help support my family. My spouse worked but we had young kids and we needed to fill in the gap in cash flow. I found sporadic work and went about trying to find clients the wrong way. This was pre-internet, pre-cell phones and pre-web pages we now take for granted. I was offering a service and it was a service that businesses required. I  got depressed thinking: “why aren’t clients beating a path to my door?”  If we fast-forward to 2013 there are many new entrepreneurs who feel the same way I did and they have the benefit of all the gadgets that were unavailable to me at the time.

This seguays into a self-assessment exercise you should conduct before you venture out into the new world of self-employment. Entrepreneurs can now work from home as easily as work at or from a client’s establishment. That still doesn’t guarantee success. I loosely call this the “self-employment gut check.”

Ask yourself the following questions and they aren’t rhetorical ones:

  • What is your idea and is there a need for your (business) idea?
  • Do your skill sets (academic and career) make you an ideal candidate for this endeavour?
  • Have you done any “recce” (research) on the potential for your business idea – in your local area? (Forget about an exponential world market that is falsely claimed in TV get-rich-quick ads)
  • Do you understand the risks involved in starting such a venture?
  • How well do you handle stress?
  • Are there conduits (possible) partners in your area that you can tap into to offset your shortcomings in gaining access to your market?
  • What is your family situation? If you have a spouse who has a full time job this is a bonus but, can he/she support the family (and you) on one income for quite some time?
  • Do you appreciate the work that will be involved?

I will end this post here and continue on the self-employment theme in future posts.

I am offering my 9 module course for budding entrepreneurs who want to start their own business. I have been in the small business sector for over 30 years and have seen many businesses thrive .. and fail. The one characteristic of businesses that don’t succeed is that they had no formal planning process.  Business planning shouldn’t stop at the start-up phase and even a business that has been in operation for 10-20 years can fail. Business planning is simply good business practice.

Starting a business requires a lot of thought and planning. If you look ahead and think strategically from the outset you have the advantage of planning for contingencies and mapping your route forward. You will have “Plan B’s” for every contingency.

My business planning process looks forward three years. Why? Most startups fail in 3 years and the CRA has a “reasonable expectation of profit” requirement for a startup.

I call my process, “creating your own Google Map.”  I will not guarantee that if you buy the course that your startup will be a success, but you will have a huge advantage over someone who starts their business on a shoestring with no idea what they are doing.

The course fee is $99.00 plus applicable provincial sales taxes. The payment method is through PayPal and I send the material to you via PDF format along with two Excel spreadsheets. The added benefit to you is that I will mentor you through the business planning phase: from the moment you start writing your plan until the plan is finished. I can review components of your plan and help and advise with the population of the Excel spreadsheets.

The course content is on the front page of my blog. Contact me if you have any additional queries.