Valley First

5 things to consider before starting your own business

The digital world has enabled virtually everyone to start a business, whether it’s a side hustle to pocket some extra cash or a full blown business. It makes sense; entrepreneurship enables people to fulfill their passions and work on their own terms while putting sweat equity into something that is theirs instead of someone else’s.

There are numerous resources — vlogs, blogs, articles— that make it look easy, but it’s important to do your homework before embarking on this journey.

Don Lester, Business Banking Advisor at Valley First's Downtown Kelowna and West Kelowna branches, shares some advice to those who are considering starting a business.

Plan. Plan. Plan.

Many people don’t have a business plan, but instead they have a general idea of what they want to do.

Going through the process of creating a business plan is valuable for several reasons. Not only does it give you a chance to work through all aspects of your business and get everything down on paper, but it's also necessary if you are trying to get financing for your business.

It’s also important to determine at this point what type of business you are going to start: a sole proprietorship, a corporation or a partnership.

If you are leaving a full-time job to pursue a business venture, the need to plan grows exponentially. Such a major life transition should also be accompanied by a life plan to ensure that all aspects are being considered, especially your finances.

Self-employment can be volatile, so sometimes obtaining any sort of lending can be challenging depending on what your income looks like for the first couple of years.

Key Takeaway: Create a business plan.

Fund your business

You have a great idea but need some cash to get it off the ground. There are a few ways to help with this.

Surround yourself with a good team

You have an idea and passion, but maybe you don’t necessarily have strong expertise in other key areas of the business. It’s important to recognize your strengths and know where you may need some support. One of those experts is a Business Banking Advisor.

A big advantage for our business members at Valley First is that you have our contact information, so if you have questions or need information, we’re only a text, phone call or email away from you. We have a one-on-one relationship with members which is a huge value add.

In addition to this, there are a few key areas where you should seek to get some support— accounting, insurance and legal. It’s important to have regular meetings with your “team” as you get your business off the ground.

Key Mistakes to Avoid

There are three main areas where new entrepreneurs can stumble.

  • Registration. Ensure you’re properly registered with the BC Registry Services. This enables you to operate under a specific name and allows you to accept and make payments with your financial institution under a business name.
  • Paying yourself. New business owners will often either pay themselves too much or too little. It’s important to consider the business first and what it can support.
  • Payroll taxes. Make sure that you have a reputable bookkeeper or accountant in place. Sometimes people can have a tendency to lean on a friend or free software in the beginning and they have to switch to an accountant or bookkeeper later which can be costlier and time consuming to clean up.

Encouraging tips from award-winning entrepreneurs

You now have the know-how to take your business to the next level, but we all know that starting a business isn’t just about planning and the paperwork; there are several other factors that help businesses thrive. Each year, Valley First’s Fan Choice Awards recognize local businesses that are doing it right.

Here are some tips from two Kelowna-based businesses that took home Fan Choice awards in 2018.

Continuously learn and grow

Lara Yanik is the owner of NeuMovement, a wellness studio in Kelowna and Vernon dedicated to helping people heal physically, mentally and spiritually by integrating various approaches to health, including physiotherapy, yoga, pilates and more.

Yanik says that for her the process of starting her own business was exceptionally rewarding, but also very challenging. “The best advice I could give to anyone starting out in business," she says, "is to fall in love with developing yourself, and dedicate yourself to continuously learn and grow. I believe this attitude is paramount to business success."

One of the ways to achieve this she says is to find great mentors. "I've had a business coach for years and she has had an incredible impact on the success of our business and my own personal development and happiness."

Deliver exceptional customer service

For Yanik, this growth mentality applies to you as a business owner but to your business as well and the way that you deliver value to your customers. "Focus on bringing as much value as possible to your clients or customers. We try to help and positively impact as many people as we can, and that drives us to continue to grow and improve our business."

"Funding, good location, great staff (if you can afford it as a start-up) are priorities, but your business will rise and fall on the customer service you provide," says Cindy Henderson the manager and owner of Globally Fair, a family-owned artisan fair trade shop in Kelowna. "From the beginning stages of planning for your business, make sure that excellent customer/client service is one of your top priorities."

How do you continue to offer the best customer service? For Henderson, it's simple: "Doing what you love makes it easy to provide great service."

Whether your business is just starting out or reaching new levels of success, we have the right advice to help you reach your goals. Contact one of our business banking experts today.

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We encourage you to speak to a business banking expert at any of our branches for more information on how Valley First can make things simple!