Has entrepreneurship been calling your name but haven’t been sure where to start? Even if you’ve always had a side hustle going outside of your regular gig, the thought of bi-weekly paycheques ending and full-on hustle beginning
can be is daunting. Lucky for us, there are a lot of great tools floating around to help us get there.
BMO recently launched a major study in conjunction with The Beacon Agency and Carleton University to outline the issues women face with entrepreneurship: securing funding and taking risk”which comes with the territory when going on your own. Some of the key findings? Women’s confidence grew when they got the help they needed”and deserved. So how can you feel prepared and supported before making the leap? Here are four tips to help you launch your own business.
Financing doesn’t just come from the bank. BMO’s Susan Brown commented that there are more options than banking or venture capitalists. Leasing is a good opportunity, personal equity, funding from friends and family, subordinated debt and credit cards [are all options]. Most businesses are financed with many of those forms in place simultaneously. Chat with a variety of people in your network to gain a thorough understanding of where and how you can finance your company.
Bounce ideas off your network
I chat with entrepreneurs nearly every day and they all say iterations of this, with every winning idea came eight bad ideas. If you have an ongoing list of business ideas that you could get behind”big or small”write them down and run them by people in your network that you trust. Michele Romanow, serial entrepreneur and youngest dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den also had a great idea to talk to your competitors. Finding out key info from the marketplace could be a make or break decision.
Seek a financial advisor
And don’t seek just one. Shop around and find an advisor you not only trust, but you like. According to the study, women take a relationship approach to business, and if that connection isn’t there in the early meetings, women can become discouraged or less confident. The learnings here? You won’t always have a relationship with the first advisor you seek. Book multiple meetings and find someone that will not only give you great advice, but you’ll be able to open up to as well. And no, finding someone you like doesn’t mean someone that agrees with everything you say. Your financial advisor should challenge you to consider things you hadn’t previously thought about.
Seek networking groups
Owning a business can be lonely in the beginning, and it’s important to seek out a solid network to help guide you through the tough days (sorry ladies, there’ll be a lot). Gro Your Biz, an initiative that links together female entrepreneurs and private sector experts, is a great membership option if you’re ready to take your business to the next level. If you want a less formal mentorship approach, or aren’t needing that level of support just yet, Brainstation and Toronto’s own Centre for Social Innovation offer great informal peer-to-peer opportunities at their classes, events or even just their workspaces.