When starting a new business, there are several things you have to take into consideration. You can have the best products on the market and still not be successful if you haven’t set your business up properly. Below are six key aspects you should be focusing on as you set up a new business and lay the foundation for future success.
Naming Your Business
Your business name is one of the most important aspects of any new venture. Your business name means a lot, and the most successful brand names can become very well-known and associated with quality. When naming your business, keep the following in mind: it should be easy to remember, reflective of what your business does, stand out in the market and have positive connotations.
Also, make sure it is a name that has not already been registered or a name that has been trademarked. In order to check to see if a proposed name is available, it is prudent to use a NUANS professional to assist you. A professional will preclear the name first and provide you with their opinion as to whether the name is available BEFORE the NUANS is ordered.
Once you have begun the process of starting a new business, you must register online or mail to the ministry the proper registration forms to operate. Business registration works on several levels, and you may register your small business with your city or municipal area, your province or the federal government.
You can incorporate your business provincially or nationally. It’s helpful to engage a company such as that specializes in business registration or a law firm which is most likely the more expensive option. When completed, you will have all the information you need such as official registration of your business’s name for your GST/HST account, and your Business ID number.
Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax
When starting a new business, it is generally a good idea to register for a GST/HST account as soon as your business is established. If your business makes more than $30,000 a year, you must charge GST/HST. Plan for success; don’t wait until you break the $30,000 threshold in sales. Above all, talk to your accountant for advice.
NOTE: HST/GST refers to Harmonized Sales Tax/Goods and Services Tax. One tax account is opened for both of those taxes. When selling to customers in different provinces you are required to charge those customers HST/GST at the rate for that province. You can determine the rates by referring to Revenue Canada’s Provincial Rate Table.
When starting a new business, insurance is a required part of daily operations. For example, most businesses in Ontario must register with the WSIB within 10 days of hiring their first worker. As a business owner you are responsible for your workplace’s safety and your workers’ well-being.
You will also want to consider various other insurance plans to cover things such as your business’s physical property, goods, protection against natural disasters, and liability insurance to protect both employees and customers.
Communication With Customers
A business needs to have ways for their customers to communicate with them. Naturally you will want a phone number so customers can call with inquiries about products, services or general information. When setting up a phone number, make sure you choose professional-level services and a number that is distinctive, and if possible, not easily confused with other companies.
A website is also a highly valuable asset. Not only can you use a website to promote your business and provide information to customers, you can also use it as a storefront in its own right to take orders online.
Marketing, Branding and Social Media
Marketing is key when starting a new business. You have to get your business’s name out there in the community to drive sales. It takes more than having a website to reach customers. Marketing is a proactive part of business and you need to be involved. Now that you have a brand name, it’s time to leverage it on social media.
Setting up accounts on popular social media websites allows you to promote your business, inform customers of upcoming events, respond to customer questions, and engage with the community through contests and the like. Proper use of social media makes your company more well-known and can encourage sales.
This blog was written by Maureen McCabe, Toronto Marketing Consultant and founder of McCabe Marketing. They are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. If you’re setting up a new business and aren’t sure how to create a marketing plan, get in touch with McCabe Marketing. They can help you create your Marketing Action RoadMap™ for success!