Sometimes, you just want to get started. Nothing fancy but something more than what you have today. You’ve decided to turn a passion, hobby or interest into something more. Where do you start?
Well, that’s the million dollar question and I can help you answer that. Let’s be clear, you need to define what your product or service will be before starting. This is a must. You also need to know who you intend to sell to or have sold to in the past and what it is you would like to say to them – describe your product or service, list them, have pictures and or testimonials readily available.
Next, you need a tax number. In Canada, call CRA and tell them you are starting up a sole proprietorship and want a tax number. They will ask you some basic questions and you will then be given an HST number. Some people might tell you that you don’t need one. I highly suggest that if you intend on making any kind of money (over $30k a year for example) that you get one now and start charging for it.
Set up a separate account specifically for depositing and saving HST. DO NOT SPEND THIS MONEY !! This is how businesses get in trouble financially. Operate on a cash flow premise and you will avoid this pitfall.
Now, in Nova Scotia there is this thing called Registry of Joint Stock. Here you can register and request a business name. In order to qualify for some government grants you need to be registered here. However, as a sole proprietor you are not legally obligated to register your business here. If you feel the need go here for more information: https://rjsc.gov.ns.ca/rjsc/ .
Now, you need a logo, business cards, website and email and maybe even a social media page. To keep this simple and within budget you can do a couple things – hire a company like trigve.com to walk you through this and set you up. or you can manage it yourself through connections you may already have, or a combination of both.
Let’s say you decide to go it alone – okay, good for you. Here is what I suggest:
- ALWAYS buy your own domain name.. NEVER let someone do this for you and place the domain under their control. Once you build up your business it becomes exceedingly harder to get them to transfer into your name.
- Buy hosting that auto-renews annually and pay monthly. As a start up, there is no need to incur costs up front when you can spread it out over time. Check out www.rebel.ca or godaddy.com for domain searches and hosting.
- Next, you need a website. WordPress templates are the fastest way to get started on a minimal budget. You will need help setting this up. Call a friend or visit trigve.com to help you with this. You can find templates that can be modified to your business here: www.monstertemplates.com
- Once you have your hosting set up – this can take up to 72 hrs for the domain to go live, be patient, you have no control over that, you can then install and modify your template, add your logo and content and start sharing the news!!
- Hire a bookkeeper if you are not one yourself.
There are more layers to this, and much more you can do, however, you now have a web presence, a legal business and are ready to hit the road. If you decide you want business cards, work with a local printer like www.halcraftpritning.com.
It’s that simple.
Here is an example of one that just went live: www.alienlights.ca