Marie Birkbeck

Roberta Ciolli, North Basin Business Advisor with Basin Business Advisors (BBA) was in town recently facilitating a ME INC workshop that provided a ton of valuable information for anyone considering starting up their own business, or expanding an existing one.

What exactly is ME INC? Think Me Incorporated.

This workshop briefly outlined the steps that anyone considering going into business for themselves should be taking. One of the most important pieces of advice was “Do your homework!”
Have you got what it takes to be an entrepreneur? BBA defines an entrepreneur as someone willing to work 80 hrs a week to avoid working a strict 40.

Will your business be a fresh start-up, a franchise or buy existing? Each option has it own advantages and disadvantages; it is important to understand what you could be setting yourself up for and make an informed decision. The BBA website has a full checklist of things you need to know or consider before jumping headlong into a business. Do your Market Research - is there a need for the type of business you are planning? Know your competitors, and what will make your business stand out from them? What will be your Business Model - Brick and Mortar, Home Based, or Virtual? Determine the legal structure of your proposed business. Will you be a Sole Proprietor, Partnership, Corporation, Co-op, Not Profit, or Social Enterprise?

It is also important to know how owning and operating a business is going to impact your lifestyle. Are you prepared to make the required sacrifices that come with the job?

Starting the Business - once you have fully explored and considered all of the above points, and you feel you are ready for to move forward, it is time to create your Business Plan; a critical step in the process. Think of a Business Plan as a roadmap to your business success; from dream to reality and everything in between. In addition to assisting you, the business owner, to better manage your business, a good, solid business plan makes it easier for a lender or an investor to assess your proposal and, hopefully, help you finance your venture.

Once the business plan is in place and you prepare to launch, you will need to secure financing, explore the legal stuff, including choosing and registering your business name, become familiar with the Tax and Payroll structures, secure your business license if operating within a municipality.

The following evening Roberta facilitated the workshop “Building Your Social Enterprise” which will be covered in an upcoming issue.

Ciolli is hoping to return to Valemount later in the year to offer the ME INC program again, and possibly “Succession Planning for Businesses”.

In the meantime, if you have an existing business or a social enterprise and need some advice, an advisor is just a phone call away. Call 250-837-5345 ext 3204 or toll free at 1-855-510-2227. A full list of checklists and resources can also be found at ​http://bbaprogram.ca/me-inc-resources

The Basin Business Advisors (BBA) Program is​ ​funded by Columbia Basin Trust, and administered and managed by Community Futures Central Kootenay. BBA​ ​provides free, one-to-one, confidential business advisement services, workshops and other resources.