Do you need a minimum capital to start your business?
No, there is a book called “Star Up with 100 Dollars” and it’s full of ideas for start-ups with a small budget. I will say that with the arrival of the internet is more and more possible, you can make a website yourself for only 60 dollars. It’s not because you receive a billion in funding that you will have more success.
What areas need to be mastered?
An entrepreneur is someone who knows how to do everything but not very well, so he can do accounting, programming, law, but he is expert in nothing. The most employed profile is going to be expert in a specific area, so I think being an entrepreneur is really being a generalist.
Is starting a business accessible to everyone?
Yes, but if you ask me if it’s a good idea for everyone I’ll say no. At the moment the media and everything ‘shows us that being an entrepreneur is “cool”, but the other side of the coin is that it’s really difficult, you work hard for not making money, you can quickly to be discouraged, to be demoralized. From time to time you have successes but you know it took me like 15 failures to have a mini success.
Once you have your business idea in mind, what are the first steps to get started?
The first thing is that I ask people I know who do their opinion on my idea. It’s good to put on paper with an excel chart and have the most reliable data sources possible.
After that if everything seems good is good to do a test phase; try to find a way to test a premise. If these steps are good and validated, it’s because you know you have something good, I think these steps are necessary.
What are the difficulties that can be encountered?
You see all the difficulties that you can meet in your life, well it is sure that you will meet it, everything happens! Lack of money, lack of motivation time that the project is profitable, human resources to manage, marketing … It’s like a series of puzzle to solve, and by dint of solving it becomes easier and easier .
Does starting a business require a lot of energy?
YES ! A LOT !
What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs?
I will surely not listen because I started my project I was young but I really advise to have a long-term vision. Often when you start a project, you want to have a lot of money right now, especially when you’re young. It’s much easier to be successful when you give yourself a long-term vision, because all of a sudden, you realize that you do not have to settle all your stuff tomorrow, but rather in the next 5 years so that in 20 years it works, and it’s much more motivating to think that way, everything becomes more calm.
What organizations can help young entrepreneurs?
There are really many, already the CLD, local development center in Quebec, it’s really a counter for entrepreneurs, it asks you a business plan, talk about your investment, subsidies … But we realize that it is important to go through these steps to be able after having the help of big organizations for the evolution of your project.
In which cases is a patent required?
A lawyer will tell you, as soon as you have a new technology. I think it’s a waste of time, it’s not because you have a patent that you do not have someone who will do the same thing, it’s because you have a patent that it thicken your current file if you have someone doing it. It’s more of a trick for big companies to fight.
Can we start a business absolutely alone?
Yes definitely, but again you really have to be ready to do everything because in the beginning you will not have the funds to outsource. You’re still alone at the head of a project, it’s as if you were the captain of a boat.
How to make oneself known when one is new on the market and with a small budget?
It’s really the challenges of the century! The best way today is social media, there is possibility to reach a larger audience but after that requires a constant effort.
What are the main laws to know about starting your business?
First there are the laws to register his name, connected to your person or incorporation. There are also tax laws, the best is to seek advice from entrepreneurs because lawyers is really expensive. Again the local development center is a good source for information.
Do we necessarily go through financial difficulties when starting? Your advice to escape?
Yes ! The needs are unlimited, the resources are limited, so you have to succeed in creating something that will be self-defeating income.
I realize that what makes you happy is to solve the puzzle to reach your goal, it makes some satisfaction.
How to prepare a business plan?
I’m so not a fan of the business plan! The only advice I can give is to keep it simple, I was forced to do a bible with lots of business by organizations but in the end we do not use that much. Just two pages saying your idea, your customers, your marketing strategy, what you think it’s going to bring and what you’re going to test and that’s it. On the other hand it is important to update it and quietly it will become bigger and bigger.
Organizations often prefer when it’s big, it gives credibility.
How do taxes work?
It depends on the place, in Quebec it’s an incredible mess because we have a provincial and federal system and both have different skills; taxes are provincial and credit development is federal. You really have to do two tax reports and know who to send it to.
After the governments are still flexible enough they are not there to sink the business.
Your advice for getting financing from banks?
The banks and I did not have a great relationship haha. The thickness of the documents matters and they are really afraid to take risks of not being reimbursed. It’s really hard for entrepreneurs to have bank loans, but here we are fortunate to have BDC, the Bank of Canada, which is for entrepreneurs, and they have more flexible parameters but with a stronger interest rates. The others will lend when things are going well and there are more risks.
How to choose the right legal form for our project?
The best info is going to be to ask a contractor you know. But in summary you have the personal company that is for small projects, as soon as it grows the incorporation becomes a good deal.
You have three choices, you have the classic: the incorporation is a society that is there to make money psi that you own so there is capital. After you have the coop, which is owned by members, and there are three types: coop of consumers, producers and workers.