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Do you have an idea that you just cannot seem to get out of your head? Do you feel this idea could have the potential to turn into a profitable business? Does this idea fill some kind of void in the current market or solve a problem/need for you or someone you know? If the answer is yes to one or more of these questions it might be time to turn your passion into a business. How do you do this you may ask, no worries we’ve got you covered.
You’ll want to start by building your network. This doesn’t mean approaching randoms on Linkedin and asking them to join your network. What it does mean is finding people who are similar to you, talking to them, and sharing the common bond of entrepreneurship. Many people don’t understand entrepreneurs, mainly because a lot of people don’t understand that level of ambition or in some cases, risk. Think of your network like the foundation of your house, start strong and build up. Find people that you admire and that you trust and it will help you out more than you can imagine.
Chances are, if it’s something you’re truly passionate about, you’re already doing it. Whether it’s baking, programming, photography, the list goes on. But there is a stark contrast in a business and a hobby. Businesses solve problems and they make money for doing so. A lot of people when trying to transition their hobby into a business don’t consider all of the factors. For instance, if you want to do your hobby/passion project full time, how much time does it take you do produce your product/service? If you want to do it full time, it has to pay the bills. You’ll also need to sell enough ie, the market has to be big enough, to support you.
To find out some of those details, you’ll need to start looking at the beginnings of a business plan. Business plans freak people out. What do I have to include? What does it look like? How long does it have to be? But fear not. This isn’t a grade school paper. All business plans are different and the value isn’t in the document, it’s in the process. There are hundreds of templates of business plans available online, simple put, they can be a page long if you want and they all look different. The process of a creating a business plan helps you decide if your idea is worth pursuing as a business. Can you produce the product? Can you sell the product? and Can you sell enough of it to make enough money to live? There are also many people who can help you with this part of your research and guide you through it. We’ll get to that later.
Once you’ve decided that your idea can work, it all comes down to execution. This is why passion is so important, because execution in the long term, isn’t easy. A lot of people can keep up with the grind for a short period, but passion and belief in your idea is what gets you through the long term. Business success isn’t always quick and it’s not always easy, but if you truly believe in what you’re doing and have a strong network around you, anything you’ve dreamed about can be achieved.
One of the main benefits to starting your own business is that you are in charge. Don’t be afraid to dive in and make waves. Doing something you are truly passionate about should be fun and exciting. Never be afraid to take risks with your business and don’t let failure discourage you. Figuring out what doesn’t work with your business is just as important as figuring out what does work.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, there are countless resources to help you turn your passion into a business. Whether it’s the Youth Ventures Program, CBDCs, or other supports, we’re here to help you make it happen.
If you want to learn how our Coordinators can help you turn your passion into a business, click here.
Interested in more? Click here to read Are You Meant To Be An Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs are an elite group of people. Many people have the desire to start their own business but don’t know where to start, so we’ve put together these 10 tips for aspiring entrepreneurs!
A lot of entrepreneurs fail before they even have a chance to start because they are afraid to take risks. Our advice, don’t be afraid of risk taking. Being an entrepreneur is a learning process and without risk there is no reward.
An entrepreneur wants to do better, be better, and is constantly pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone.
Do your research
Properly look into the industry or marketplace you want to enter and be sure to do your homework. Doing research takes a lot of the uncertainty out of starting a business.
Create a business plan
Yes it might seem like a pain but having a business plan is essential for aspiring entrepreneurs. Without a business plan your business has no direction of what it hopes to achieve. Also, any sort of financing you may need now or down the road requires you to have a business plan.
Know your business goals
Set goals for your business and yourself, then strive to achieve them. Understand what it is you want to accomplish within the next week, month, and year, then set out to do it.
Be willing to put the time in
Becoming an entrepreneur takes time so be aware of how much you are willing to commit. You cannot expect results if you do not put in the hours needed to start and run your business.
Take the negative with the same attitude that you would use with the positive
Understand from the beginning that not everyone is going to have a positive experience with your business. Learn from the unhappy customers, they are a good way to see where improvements can be made to your business.
Understand that you don’t need a lot of money to become an entrepreneur
Often people associate the image of an entrepreneur with someone who has a lot of money. This just isn’t the case, you do not require a lot of money to be an entrepreneur and start your own business.
Don’t stress out about what could go wrong
If you are constantly worried about what could go wrong you will never take risks or challenge yourself. Entrepreneurs focus on what is going right and what calculated risk-taking can bring to their business instead of stressing out about worst case scenarios.
Believe in yourself
The key thing for an aspiring entrepreneur is to always believe in yourself and what you are doing.
Do you think you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Click here to read 5 Reasons Why You Should Start a Business Today!
Already started and want to learn how our coordinators can help you out? Click here to Meet Your Coordinators!
One of the biggest challenges that young entrepreneurs face is getting their business out into the community to let potential customers know they are up and running. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on fancy advertising to get the word out about your business. There are tons of ways to market your business within your community that are relatively cheap (or free) and can help you create good impressions with potential customers. Check out our tips below on how to locally market your business.
Networking (in person)
A fear for many, but the more people that know about your business the better. The key is knowing your target market and the communication channels for that demographic. Most people are afraid they won’t have anything to talk about or that they’re bad at small talk. If you attend an event where you know your target customer will be, you’ll have something to talk about. If you attend an event with other people in your industry, the same rules apply. It could be a local fair, a Board of Trade event, or a business expo.
The advantage of social media is that it is a low cost alternative to traditional media in terms of actually paying for service. However, it can require a significant time commitment depending on the channels you choose to use. Social networking or social marketing working best, when you’re social. If you set up a Facebook page, try and spark conversation with current customers or potential customers and build relationships for your business. When it comes to social marketing, don’t feel like you have to be in all places at once. Choose one that you feel fits your product/service and also where you potential customers will be. Some of the more common channels are currently Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, and Snapchat. All of which have rapidly changing demographics of their most frequent users.
Most coffee houses, churches, youth centers, grocery stores, and restaurants have bulletin boards where you can put up a poster for your business for free. Just be sure you ask the cashier (or whoever is responsible for the bulletin board) if it is okay to put up your poster before you do so.
Host an Event
If you just opened a food stand and you know of other businesses that are providing face painting, body art, jewelry making, baked goods, etc. make contact with those businesses and see if they would partner with you to host an event. Events are a fantastic way to showcase what your business has to offer, and partnering with other business to provide services you cannot is a great way to save costs.
With all of the channels above, you also have a huge opportunity to build a community around your customers. Take advantage of that because it will present you with opportunities that you may never know existed to provide problem solving products or services to those around you.
A common question asked when a someone starts a business is if they need a business number.
What is a Business Number (BN)?
A business number is a 9 digit account number that identifies your business to the government and is designed to set up program accounts. Program accounts are accounts that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has on record and will use when you file your taxes.
Do I Need a BN?
There are 4 conditions where sole-proprietors need a business number, including the following:
- You just hired your first employee. When you have an employee on staff there are additional requirements on top of their salary including items like Employment Insurance and Workers Compensation premiums. In order to pay those into the government, you need to have an account associated with your business.
- You Import/Export. If you’re importing or exporting products as part of your business activities you’ll need to register for a BN. Each product that is imported or exported has certain regulations around it and potentially certain taxes and duties associated with it.
- You made $30,000 from the business this year. You’ll notice some businesses don’t charge HST on their products or services, in many cases this is because they make less than $30,000/year in sales from their business. Once businesses hit the $30,000 revenue mark, they are required (within 29 days) to start charging HST and therefore have to get a BN to do that.
- You charge HST from the start. From time to time business owners opt-in to charge HST from the day they start. When you register for a BN and start charging HST, there are administrative responsibilities that come along with it versus not charging HST but there can be pros and cons to both situations depending on your specific business.
If you decide to incorporate your business, you’ll also require a business number but that’s a whole different topic.
For most small businesses that get started with Youth Ventures, getting a business number is not necessary. If and when you get to the point where you meet one of the above criteria, registering for a BN is an extremely easy and quick process.
More information about the BN can be found here: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bn/
If you have any other questions about how to get your business started, let us know in the comments below or send us an email at provincial (at) youthventuresnl.com
Are you wondering if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Check out our following list of traits that make up a successful entrepreneur. If you possess one or more of these traits then maybe being an entrepreneur and starting your own business is right for you.
You take initiative
You are able to take the lead in whatever situations you are put in. You are a natural born leader and can easily take charge when the need arises. Being able to take the initiative is critical for entrepreneurs because when you own your own business, there is no one standing over your shoulder telling you what to do.
You are passionate
You have an idea that you are passionate about and wish to see brought to life. This trait will come up in almost every article you read about entrepreneurship because it is the most important. You have to be your businesses biggest cheerleader because if you are not 100% passionate and behind your business, how can you expect anyone else to be?
You do not give up easily
Being resilient, persistent, and able to overcome any obstacles that are put in front of you are incredible traits to have and are essential for entrepreneurs. If you are the type of person that won’t back down from a challenge and will push through even when things don’t go your way, you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
You think outside the box
You often find innovative ways to solve ordinary problems. Being able to think creatively and outside the box to come up with new ideas is an important part of being an entrepreneur.
You are a risk taker
Entrepreneurs take risks everyday when running their businesses. These risks can range from calculated risks involved in every day decision making to taking big risks on new ideas or products. If you are comfortable taking risks and you see yourself as a risk taker, entrepreneurship and owning a business are the right path for you.
You have charisma
If you are a charismatic person with good people skills, becoming an entrepreneur is a good idea. Charisma is the key to winning negotiations, making business connections, and driving sales for your business.
You are competitive
Do you feel the need to be the best and succeed in everything you do? This could be because you have a competitive nature, which is a perfect trait for an entrepreneur.
Do you have one or more of these traits? Well then becoming an entrepreneur and opening your own business may be the right path for you.
Starting a business often mystifies people because when they think business, they think of large corporations such as Walmart, Apple, or Dollarama.
In reality many businesses are small businesses run by real people all around you. They’re the babysitter down the street, your friends that mow the grass for the neighbourhood, they developed that app you use to find which restaurant you’re going to next, they’re the people getting paid for their videos on Youtube. Those are small businesses run by real, everyday people.
Small businesses dominate the Newfoundland and Labrador economy, all you have to do is walk around your community you will see numerous small businesses.
Too often people get caught up in what they feel business should look like versus what it actually is. Chances are, you don’t need accountants or lawyers to get started, you probably don’t even need a business number. The only thing you need is to be passionate about helping people solve a problem, that’s where your business idea is going to come from.
So why should you start a business?
Self employment, or the now trendy term “entrepreneurship”, provides you with opportunities such as the following:
What’s your favorite thing to do? Imagine spending every day doing just that. Starting a business allows you to grow an idea your passionate about and make a profit off your passion.
Ultimate Decision Making
Who has final say? You do. You get to be the captain of your own ship. At the end of the day you are the boss and you get to make all the decisions for your business.
Running a small business from your home allows a few tax benefits because you’re able to claim expenses related to your business, including a portion of your other bills if there is space in your home dedicated to the business.
Ever wanted to make a million dollars. Go for it. Who is going to stop you? The potential to grow and profit from a business has no boundaries, as long as you are willing to put in the work, the potential for your business is unlimited.
It’s a new type of economy, it’s time you embrace what you’re passionate about and turn that passion into what you’ve always dreamed about.
Each year Youth Ventures, with the support of our amazing sponsors, has the privilege of giving out awards to young entrepreneurs who have made an outstanding effort throughout the duration of the program.