Starting a small business is an exciting, busy and eventful time, with so many things to plan and do.
At Presley & Partners, we’ve helped our share of new entrepreneurs. So if you’re looking to launch your small business, here are a few tips to get you on the right track and increase your chances of success.
1. Get real and get help
Owning your own business means you will be wearing a lot of hats – marketing director, janitor, bookkeeper – the list goes on. Before you take on every role, it’s prudent to be realistic about where your weaknesses lie and get help or delegate. Hiring the right people and surrounding yourself with a good team (accountant, lawyer, assistant, etc.) will free you up to grow your business.
2. Marketing, bookkeeping and budgeting require a plan
All of these things will evolve with your business, but it’s essential to nonetheless start with a plan. Planning forces you to think realistically, objectively and unemotionally about your business, and it will likely lead to questioning of past and future assumptions. A plan will also make it easier for you to communicate objectives and strategies to bankers, partners and employees.
3. Track your business finances from day one
Separate your personal and business expenses. Set up a bank account solely for business and use this account for receiving business revenue and paying business expenses. If you need a credit card for business, get one – and don’t put your personal expenses on it.
You should also implement a system for saving your business documents, such as sales records and business receipts. This system can be paper or electronic, and you’ll need it if Canada Revenue Agency ever audits you.
Get an accountant to set up your books and teach you the basics of entering transactions in your software. This will save you time and money in the long run. There’s some great software out there, such as QuickBooks Online, that integrates with other programs that do invoicing, etc.
Consider whether you need to register for GST, PST, payroll, WorkSafeBC, and so on. Be sure to set aside a percentage of your profits to cover taxes, and always set aside GST, PST and payroll deductions for your employees so that the funds are there when you need to pay them. The best person to help you with this is your CPA.
Be sure to do all of your government filings on time to avoid penalty and interest charges. Setting up your business finances properly will help with this.
Being a business owner can be incredibly rewarding, but also incredibly stressful. So do your best to take care of yourself. And one of the best ways to do that is to be prepared.
Colleen Ellison is a Chartered Professional Accountant, CGA, CA and Partner with Presley & Partners, CPAs and Business Advisors, in Courtenay, BC. She can be reached at 250.338.1394 or firstname.lastname@example.org.