Starting a small business is a rollercoaster of emotion; daunting, exciting, confusing, exhilarating; sometimes all at once! When you’re starting a small business, you want all the help you can get; funding and loans, expertise and information, friends and partners. It’s a shame that so many small business owners aren’t aware of the plethora of resources available to them; enterprise is the beating heart of modern society, so take advantage of the support systems we’ve created!
Governments, federal, provincial and municipal, are all often underutilized. To help address this issue, Innovation Canada has created a tool to find you resources for your small business; you input what kind of help you need, what type of business you’re running, and your circumstances, and the tool gives you a list of resources you can use! Entrepreneurship Manitoba is another useful resource for Manitobans, providing advice and loans for new Manitoban entrepreneurs.
You should join trade groups and industry associations linked to your business. These groups will lobby at a national level for issues relevant to your business, and will often have forums where you and like-minded entrepreneurs can mingle and discuss the relevant topics of the day. By joining trade groups, you may gain access to resources and data that can be incredibly useful for forecasting your future business needs; you can also help shape trade group policy, putting issues that matter to you at the forefront.
Related to the joining of trade groups, meeting with other local entrepreneurs is a great way of brainstorming new ideas and discussing issues relevant to your locale. You can join a Business Improvement Zone (BIZ); if there’s none available in the area, create your own! Join any local entrepreneur groups that interest you, and make friendships with other entrepreneurs; aside from the potential cross-promotion and brainstorming, you can make a friend for life, as few folks understand the trials and tribulations inherent with business ownership like other business owners.
Keeping with the local-affiliation theme, consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce. Chambers will often hold mingling events so you can meet other entrepreneurs in the area, and each chamber is linked, so you’ll have access to entrepreneurs across the country. Like trade groups, Chambers of Commerce will lobby the federal government for a more business-friendly environment; by being a part of the Chamber, you’ll have a chance to influence their policy-shaping.
You should also consider hiring from local universities and community colleges; even local high schools can be valuable to you, depending on your business. Especially for a startup, hiring local can be a wonderful arrangement for you and your new employee, and you may start a lifelong relationship with a valuable new member of your industry.
Accountants are by no means an underutilized business resource, but we’d be remiss not to remind you that Compass Accounting will help you keep business expenses under control and tax-law compliant.