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This category features all blog posts that have been made on the site.

5 Reasons to Start your Business in Newfoundland and Labrador Today

All, Business Tips

A lot of people are distracted lately by the price of oil, provincial budgets, and the Muskrat Falls project. What many people aren’t paying attention to are the opportunities available in this province for businesses to start and grow. It’s important to remember, Newfoundland and Labrador is dominated by small businesses. They’re what keep the economy moving and entrepreneurs, like you, are the ones that are making things happen. If you’ve ever considered starting a business, there’s no better time than now, and here are 5 reasons why starting in Newfoundland and Labrador should be top of mind:

  1. Import vs Export: Newfoundland and Labrador imports far more than it exports. Although it can be expensive to import products for this very reason, there are shipping containers leaving this province empty. What does that mean? That means there’s huge opportunity to manufacture and export a product to the rest of Canada or anywhere else in the world.
  2. The Exchange RateHave you looked at the loonie lately? Most see a dip and get concerned that shopping stateside is now more expensive. What you should be thinking about is what you can sell to our counterparts to the south. If you’re selling to the states right now, the odds are ever in your favour. With the current exchange you can get close to 20%+ boost in profit. What products or services do you have that can be marketed to the states?
  3. Labour Market: Newfoundland and Labrador has always had a dedicated and loyal workforce. Companies have moved here for that specific reason. There’s a tremendous amount of local talent and resources in Newfoundland and Labrador. Look around you and take advantage of it.
  4. Developing Industries: Newfoundland and Labrador hasn’t yet met its potential in development, in fact, we’ve barely scratched the surface. Our landscape provides huge opportunity for adventure and eco tourism. Our limited food supply leaves huge opportunity in agriculture as more people want fresher, readily available foods. Our aging population leaves huge opportunity to provide services to that demographic which aren’t currently being met. The list goes on…
  5. Technology has no boundaries: Small businesses can embrace technology and use it to their advantage whether that means selling online, developing an app, or creating something else entirely different. The infrastructure is here and so is the support to help you make your technological dream a reality.

Want to see more? Click here to read Are you Meant to Be an Entrepreneur?

Interested in starting your business today?  Click here to Meet Our Coordinators and learn how they can help you get started!

How to Turn Your Passion into a Business

All, Business Tips

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?

10 Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

All, Business Tips

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!

Take risks

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.

Challenge yourself

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!

Local Marketing: How to Get Your Business Out There

All, Business Tips

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.

Social Networking

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.

Bulletin Boards

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.

 

Do I Need a Business Number?

All, Business Tips

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 Meant to be an Entrepreneur?

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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.

Why Everyone, Including You, Should Start a Business.

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Starting a business often mystifies people because when they think business, they think of large corporations such as Walmart or Apple.

In reality, most 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’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:

Passion

What’s your favourite thing to do? Imagine spending every day doing just that. Starting a business allows you to grow an idea you’re 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 decisions for your business.

Tax Benefits

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.

Unlimited Potential

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’re 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.

 

5 Reasons You Should Start a Business Today

All, Business Tips

For many, starting a business can seem terrifying and most people are content working 9 to 5 for someone else’s dream. Entrepreneurs however, are not driven by the comfort, ease, and predictability that comes from working for someone else. Entrepreneurs are in the mindset that they want to feel challenged, satisfied, and in charge and often the only way to do this is to start a business. If you have an entrepreneur mindset you may already have the desire to start your own business. Check out our top 5 reasons you should dive in and start your own business today.

1 – You are driven and passionate

You are truly passionate about your business idea and are willing do just about anything to turn your dream into a reality.  Being driven by your desire and passion to turn your idea into a successful business are key to starting your own business.

2 – You want to be your own boss.

You see the value in being your own boss, and the independence it provides you to make your own decisions. Owning a business is empowering because, at the end of the day, you do not have to answer to anyone but yourself for the decisions you make regarding your business.

3 – You have a good idea with income potential

Your business idea meets an unfilled need in the marketplace and has the potential to generate an income. By starting a small business you are enabling yourself to become financially independent.

4 – You want to get involved in your community and create jobs

The current job market is not as abundant as it use to be and starting a business can provide you with the opportunity to not only create your own employment, but give back to your community. Successful businesses can help revitalize communities and provide job security for the people within your community.

5 – You want flexibility

Starting your own business provides you with the flexibility to work the hours you want. You can choose to work as much or as little as you would like. The key thing to remember is that the amount of work you put into your business, is what you will be getting out of it.

Social Media Do’s & Don’ts

All, Business Tips

Social media has grown exponentially over the past few years and can be an excellent way to promote your business. Most social media pages are free, relatively easy to use, and effective at increasing sales, therefore making them an entrepreneurs dream. Smart entrepreneurs understand the value that social media can offer their business and see it as one of the greatest assets available to them. In order to properly utilize social media, it is important to understand the basics of social media etiquette. The following are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to using social media to promote your business.


Do’s 

  1. Do know your target audience

Before you set up a social media page, such as Instagram or Twitter, it is important to understand who it is you are trying to reach. You cannot just post whatever you feel like on your businesses social media pages and hope the posts reach your ideal customers. First you need to narrow down who it is you are trying to reach and then make sure that you are posting content that relates to them.

  1. Do monitor your social media pages daily

Make sure you are checking your social media pages at least once a day, if not more. This ensures that you will catch any positive or negative feedback and comments. You want to make sure that you are the first person to see anything negative (or positive) that is being said about your business. By being first to respond to customer allows you to address any issues or concerns your customers may be having. Being proactive with your social media creates a positive brand image for your business because it lets your customers know you are paying attention to their questions and concerns.

  1. Do understand what you are posting, before you post it

Ensure that your message is the same across all social media platforms that you plan on using.  You want to be sure you have a clear understanding of your business, brand identity, and what image you want to portray on social media before you start posting.

  1. Do post frequently

You want to make sure your business has a presence on whatever social media platform you are planning to use. You want to be posting enough to capture your customer’s attention BUT  not over posting. A social media schedule can help greatly with this. It can be as simple as planning out what to post each day, or as complex as planning your whole month’s social media posts in advance.

Facebook, for example, allows you to schedule posts under the publishing tools section on your businesses Facebook page. All you have to do is create the post and figure out the date and time you wish you to have the post published.


Don’ts

  1. Don’t ignore your online audience

Wither it is good or bad, don’t ignore feedback from your customers. Be aware of what is being said about your business and don’t disappear from social media when someone says something negative about your business. Never delete a post or review from a customer. Proactive business owners understand that not everything said on social media will be positive and they work with the customers in order to deal with and fix the negative.

  1. Don’t expect results instantly

Like anything else in life, you get what you put in when it comes to your businesses social media pages. It takes time, hard-work, and dedication to build a social media following so don’t expect result’s overnight.

  1. Don’t forget about spelling and grammar

Poor spelling and grammar can be a turnoff for customers and gives your business an unprofessional image. The last thing a customer wants to see from a business is a social media post full of spelling and grammatical errors.  Make sure you double check each and every sentence before posting on social media to ensure proper grammar and spelling.

  1. Don’t expect to use social media as your ONLY marketing tool/strategy

Social media can be a business owner’s best friend but don’t expect to have thousands of customers just from using social media alone. A social media platform is often built off the back of other marketing tools such as print or radio ads, websites, billboards, or posters. A new business cannot depend on social media by itself to get the word out about their products or services. Make sure that your marketing strategy isn’t solely based on your businesses social media page, but is well rounded to include other marketing platforms as well.

Meet Your 2016 Coordinators

All, Program Updates

We are pleased to announce that the 2016 Youth Ventures program is now up and running. For 2016 there are 22 coordinators stationed all across Newfoundland and Labrador, ensuring every region is covered, and the tools are there for you to get your business ideas off the ground this summer.

What do coordinators do?

All of your coordinators have diverse backgrounds and a knowledge base to connect you to the business resources and opportunities available to youth in Newfoundland and Labrador. So whether you’re looking for someone to sit with and hash out your ideas, a connection to help you get to know the region, help with how to make your first sale, or advice on how to expand your future empire, your coordinator is there for you.

If you’ve been thinking about starting your own business or playing around with ideas in your head, there’s no better time to start than now. Whether you’re 12 years old, or finishing up your university education, there’s huge opportunity in communities all across the province to explore your business ideas and start going after your dreams. If you already have your business started and just need a little bit of extra help to move forward, your coordinators can help with that too.

Youth Ventures is a free program for students aged 12-29 in Newfoundland and Labrador. We don’t take any ownership of your business, there are no fees to join the program, and  your coordinators are only here to help you achieve your goals. Many students get involved in the program to get help with marketing materials, access to events, assistance in accessing financing, business plan help, or sometimes just to chat with someone about their ideas. Other times, students are looking to get more connected to the community, whether that’s help with finding a mentor or meeting other entrepreneurs and business owners like themselves.

But how can my coordinator help me?

With over 6000 participants after going through the program, the type of help everyone needs is always a little different.  Luckily,  your coordinator has a lot of flexibility to help you with your specific needs for your business start up. In some cases, your coordinator may not have the answer you need, but rest assured they can help you find what you’re looking for.

Interested?

If you want to learn more about how your coordinator can help you, submit your contact information here, and the coordinator for your area will follow up with you shortly!