As our world slows down and our busy schedules are put on the backburner, now may be a great time to put your dreams into reality. We have taken this quiet time to put together a list of things, mostly free that people can do to begin the path to self employment.
If you have questions that you have been thinking of for getting your start up going, feel free to reach out and ask away. Our amazing staff are here and available to give you support.
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” Bobby Unser
For those of you who are not familiar with his name, Bobby Unser was a famous American race car driver who pushed himself and his cars to the limit.
There’s no better time than the present – this age old adage has perhaps never been more relevant than right now. It may be that your job has reduced working hours or has been advised to close entirely. Regardless of the reason, a large number of individuals are finding themselves in a vulnerable position working for someone else and may temporarily be at home with a lot more free time on their hands.
Make the most of any opportunity and the time you are being given to do the things you’ve been dreaming about doing but just haven’t had the time. If you have always wanted to work for yourself and start your own business, now is the time to get things started. Getting your business set up now, lets you put your plan in place and build a solid foundation for the future.
The costs of registering your business are actually quite minimal, but registering the business name you’ll operate under allows you to then begin planning the other aspects of your business. It’s quite simple and very fast to get registered and have your completed business registration sent directly to you by email. And, after registering, you won’t need to spend anything else until you’re ready to begin operating.
“Decide what you want, and then act as if it were impossible to fail.” Brian Tracy
You can do this!!!
Register a business starting at $120.00 depending on Province
Here is a listing of things you can do to start your new business for free or little money!!
How do I start with no money?
If the budget to start your new business is tight, no need to worry. There are a number of free resources and online platforms you can utilize to start an online business. Business owners frequently start their business in this situation, where they do not have the capital up front to pour into their business. For this reason, many rely on these free resources to get their business ideas off the ground. These can include everything from online learning, web developer tools, and graphic design apps.
What kind of online business should I start?
The answer to this question all depends on what you’re passionate about and what you’re knowledgeable about. Being a successful entrepreneur isn’t just about selling lots of product; it’s about providing something of value that helps create joy for your customers or solve a problem for them – or both!
Which online business is profitable?
The profitability of a business is not necessarily linked to the product or service being offered – there are a lot of highly profitable businesses that do not provide very much value to their customers. Besides the actual product or service you offer, the profitability of your business will depend on a few things, including:
- How you market your business
- The strength of your online presence
- The user experience of your customers
Start planning now for the future of your business
Getting started now means that once it’s business as usual again, you’ll already be well on your way with your business. Here’s what you can do to begin planning ahead, so that you can start building a solid foundation for your successful business:
Do a Business Plan for free
It’s vital that you have a plan in order to steer your business in the right direction. Plans can be fluid and change when different obstacles are met, but having a general idea of what the goals are for your business helps move you forward.
Your business plan should include an online marketing strategy, financial plan and outline opportunities for future growth. The more detail you are able to include in your business plan, the better overall picture you’ll create. Remember though, plans can change and sometimes a business plan will need to be revised. Frequently evaluating your business operations against your plan lets you see if you’re moving along according to plan, if your plan needs to change or if you need to make adjustments to your business operations.
Understand your market
Wanting to become your own boss and start a business is fantastic. But, learning about and developing an understanding of your market will help ensure that your new business is wonderfully successful. Do your research to find out about the different aspects of your business. Find out who your competitors are, and perhaps take a look at what they are doing that is highly effective and what isn’t working. If there are online reviews of your competitors, look through to see what their customers have to say about both their positive and negative experiences. Learning from what others are doing wrong can help you avoid those mistakes.
You’ll also want to learn about your target market. Not only will you want to know the demographics of your potential customers, but you will also want to get some intel into their buying habits, routines and what motivates them to act. Once you’ve done your market research and you have a good understanding of how to reach and motivate your target market, you can implement these elements into your marketing and social media plan, increasing your online reach and lead generation potential.
Start Social Media For Free
Let’s face it, social media has become completely intertwined in our daily lives. At last count, there are nearly 3 billion active social media users worldwide. Many of these platforms are free for individuals and businesses to set up and use, making them great platforms for connecting with customers and marketing your business without having to spend a dime.
Creating and scheduling your social media posts to correlate with the schedules and habits of your target audience will help expand your reach and engagement. Social media management tools, like Hootsuite & Sendible can help you schedule and manage multiple platforms simultaneously.
Remember, not all of your social media interactions need to be directly marketing your products and services. For instance, if you run a pet shop, why not share information about fun places to go with your dog, interesting facts about cats or even put a spotlight on your local doggy daycare. Providing people with valuable information, even when it’s not yours and may not directly benefit you in the moment, makes them more inclined to see you as a trustworthy authority in your field. And, when you share things that are interesting, informative and inspiring, it’s more likely that those individuals will share your content with those they know.
Visual content is always great, and if you have a product or service that is best explained visually, creating a YouTube channel with short and informative videos could be a great option for business. You may also want to consider creating YouTube videos to answer ‘how to’ questions, demonstrate your products or troubleshoot different problems that might be encountered. For instance, if your product has a filter that requires cleaning, a short video demonstrating how to get this done can save your customers the frustration of figuring it out alone, and can save you time spent on the phone explaining it.
Search engines love seeing different types of content, and videos are high on that list, helping increase your search engine optimization and boost your search results. Creating a YouTube channel is free, and you can also use the videos you create within your other socials to help increase their views and drive traffic even more.
Creating simple videos does not necessarily require expensive equipment or any particular expertise. If you have the time now, test out creating a few short videos to see if you can get your message conveyed in an easy to understand way, within just a few minutes. Remember to keep your videos both visually interesting and relatively short in order to keep the attention span of your customers.
Start Your Website for free, just takes your time!!!
If you aren’t creating a strong online presence, you may be missing out on a huge potential market. Most searches for products and services begin online, so it’s essential that, as a business owner, you set up your website to create and maintain this presence, making it easy for customers to find and learn about you. Having an engaging and easy to navigate website is an important component to this.
Within your website, you want to give customers a clear picture of your business, who you are, what you provide and how you can help them. If your product or service is something that can be offered online, creating an online store is the perfect way to showcase your goods and generate additional sales.
Shopify Website and Online Store free 14 day trial and $29.95 per month
If you’re looking to create an ecommerce business, a great platform to get started is Shopify. With Shopify, you have the ability to start an ecommerce business selling products or, if you do not have any of your own products to sell, you can use products available within their platform to start your ecommerce store.
There are fees to create your Shopify business, however they are inexpensive and can help you create your online store and start selling in just a little bit of time. And, the ability to do drop shipping using products from third party Shopify suppliers means that you don’t have to have a location for your business and you don’t have to keep an inventory of physical products.
Wix website build with free trial and $29.95 per month ongoing
Contact information should be easy to find and kept updated, and your hours of operation should be clearly outlined so customers know when they can expect to reach you. After you’ve registered your business, you may want to secure any relevant domain names to begin creating your website. If you aren’t very tech-savvy, a website builder like Wix can help you set up your website for free. Once your business is launched and starts generating revenue, you may want to consider hiring a web designer to create a more dynamic and complex website, and perhaps even develop an ecommerce site, where you can start selling online.
Start Writing about the business you are creating
Providing your customers with informative content not only helps them find the information they’re looking for, but it also helps boost your search engine optimization. Blog posts help new customers find your online business, driving traffic to your website, helping with lead generation and creating a better overall user experience.
Just like your social media postings, not all of your blogs need to be trying to drive sales directly. Blog posts are a component of online marketing that are designed not only for selling products, but also for helping people become informed, save time and money and find answers to problems they need resolved. You can create your own unique content, or link to related articles that answer your customer’s questions.
Spend some time looking at the questions your target market is asking, problems they need help with and questions that are not being answered – or are not being answered very well. Then utilize your down time to get great content written that you can share at a later date.
Get Connected and engagement with others!!
Although you may not have started your business, it doesn’t have to stop you from contacting other businesses in your area and online that you can develop a mutually beneficial partnership with. If the other businesses are well established, you may have to prove yourself first, but once you start selling and begin driving traffic their way, they will see the value you bring and can return the favor.
It could be something as simple as leaving their business card on the front desk of your storefront, or offering discounts exclusively to their clients. This can be a highly effective lead generating relationship, because your established partners have developed a relationship with their customers, where the customers will trust in the referrals and recommendations they are given.
Get input from others
Before launching anything, you may want to get input from others. This may not necessarily include your family and friends, as you’ll want to hear completely truthful information, which you may not get from those closest to you.
Be open to criticism, and be willing to make adjustments or altogether scrap what you’ve done and start from scratch. Looking at who your target audience is, you can utilize online platforms like MOpinion to collect anonymous feedback on your website, email messages and more. Getting this honest feedback can validate your business idea and help you make your content and marketing materials as effective as possible.
On March 25, 2020, BDC is hosting a free webinar How to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 on your business. This can help provide entrepreneurs with valuable insight with how they can carry their businesses through difficult and unpredictable situations. It’s recommended that you pre-register if you are interested in participating.
Time is our most precious commodity. If you have the opportunity right now and the time to dedicate, get started with building your future business. There are a number of things you can get started doing now, without having to spend anything. As the old saying goes, there’s no better time than the present!
Ontario Business Central has been celebrating entrepreneurs since 1992 by helping make their dreams a reality. Our mandate is to help individuals who wish to become entrepreneurs and our sole mission is to provide an easy online platform to begin your dream of business ownership. If you would like further information, please feel free to reach out to any of our staff who are always here to assist entrepreneurs to start their new businesses.
Office Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Monday – Friday E.S.T.
Ontario Business Central Inc. is not a law firm and cannot provide a legal opinion or advice. This information is to assist you in understanding the requirements of registration within the chosen jurisdiction. It is always recommended, when you have legal or accounting questions that you speak to a qualified professional.