Things Every Small Business in Canada Should Know
There are generally two ways people come into running a business. First, they come up with an idea, do a thorough research about it, pull together a team and start a small business. Second, they have a business idea but they also have experience of working in the same industry.
Generally, people that start a business through the second approach have advantage in becoming successful as they know their way around the business and have a network of personnel who can provide necessary support and advice.
In any case, if you are opening a small business then you will face numerous obstacles and sometimes you might not know how to tackle them properly. This is where you need help from professional business advisors and mentors and succeed as a small business owner.
Mentor is someone who has worked or is working in the same industry. A mentor can be someone who you have worked in the past, met through someone, or encountered while doing research for your business. He or she should be experienced and successful in their line of business and most importantly, willing to help for no real personal gain. That being said, for small business owners, having a network of professional mentors can be a key to success and here’s why.
- When a new business owner, faces a challenge, and needs answers, often, seeks the guidance of a mentor. There are people who have been through the same type of challenges before you. These people can offer you advice and guidelines to come up with better business solutions, avoid pitfalls and build a healthier business model.
- Mentors are simply business leaders. Being a leader means to be hardworking, ambitious and to have a degree of humility – to be able to take advice even from the ones beneath you without feeling remorse. Having a mentor can help you develop these qualities as a small business owner and lead your team towards glory.
- Nobody is perfect and nobody knows everything about everything and neither does your mentor. However, having a mentor gives you an opportunity to take advice from other successful entrepreneurs who your mentor is in touch with. This way, your business network can grow profoundly.
- Running a business is tough; so tough that the stress can easily bring you down and leave you feeling miserable. During this time, you just need someone who can listen to your problems and give you the courage to move forward. When you have a business mentor, you will have that motivation too.
Professional advisors are similar to mentors because they too are experts in their own field and can provide you valuable insights to deal with particular issues. However, unlike mentors, professional advisors are hired service providers and you can have as many advisors as you want, to help you run a successful business. Accountants, lawyers, financial consultants, business consultants and counselors can all be advisors to a small business. Don’t forget that professional advisors handle dozens of business affairs which is why they can be valuable assets to your organization.
- A professional advisor can provide necessary guidelines to deal with issues that fall under his or her field of expertise. For example, lawyers can help with business documentation and incorporation while accountants can advise on handling money, preparing budgets, projections and financial statements. They can save you time by helping you prepare a business plan.
- Professional advisors are able to keep up with the developments of the market and keep tabs on competition. This way, they can help you come up with better business model and stay above your competitors.
- Every small business has its ups and downs. It is always important to stand your ground during times of troubles and take necessary help from your advisors, as they will be able to show you a path to deal with the problems at hand.
How to build a network of mentors and advisors?
When starting a small business, you should do your market research and visit networking events in your area. This helps you develop a network of key mentors and professional advisors. Remember to take their contact details, invite them for a coffee or lunch, and set up semi-formal arrangements to seek information and advice.
There are various government-sponsored organizations can connect you with a suitable mentor such as The Mentoring Partnership, Mentorship BC, MentorNetwork, and others.
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