Quebec is filled with people ready to start a business, with new ideas, incongruous, sometimes questionable but often innovative and value creating. These geniuses, these visionaries, these entrepreneurs rush to put their ideas into action as soon as the opportunity arises. Sometimes the business plan is not perfected and even the administrative aspects are not completed, but an entrepreneur with an idea does not stop there. Go for it! In this article, we will present some points to consider when starting a business: a “checklist” for entrepreneurs.
Strategy and business plan
A brilliant idea and off we go! A business plan, which should normally be the first step in starting a business, often takes second priority. However, this step is crucial and will allow you to position your business within its field of activity and against the competition.
Not the type to fill pages and pages of text? Choose a simplified template instead.
An idea, a company? In Quebec, it is possible to do business under the name of a company that can take several legal forms. The choice of legal form for a business is one of the first steps and you must take an interest in it. Solo taker, group of partners? You can refer to the Quebec Enterprise Register for more details on each legal form.
Depending on the legal form chosen, it may also be necessary to register your business with the Quebec Business Registry.
Businesses are required to register for the GST and QST with Revenu Québec as soon as their sales exceed $30,000 per year. At that time, the business must collect the GST and QST (i.e. charge it on its sales invoices) and remit it to the government every month, quarter or year. In addition, you can then claim a refund for all taxes paid on business expenses.
A company expands and begins to have employees. As soon as an employee is hired, the company is obligated to deduct and remit payroll deductions to the Quebec government.
Besides, an employee means payroll management. You must choose a system to manage the payroll. There are systems integrated into accounting systems and external systems. We suggest that you choose a system that is external to your accounting system, such as ADP, Nethris or Employer D. Although the cost may seem higher when you make your choice, don’t hesitate, you won’t have to produce T4s and Relevé 1s at the end of the year. In addition, you will be assured that deductions at source will be remitted on time and that the deduction rates will be up to date at all times.
A head full of projects, too many projects and insufficient funds. Or is it just that the operational working capital is higher than expected? When you start a business, you have to make a budget. What will be the cash inflow and outflow?
You can also use a small but very good Quebec app to help you. This will give you a lot of credibility if you have to look for funding to make up for the shortfall.
And if you need to consider obtaining funding, be prepared, it’s not a sure thing. There is of course the classic bank loan, but you will be asked for guarantees. There is also equity financing, such as Femmessor, which supports women-owned businesses, or the BDC, which allows for capital repayment vacations. There are also a multitude of government and municipal grants. For example, Quebec City has various grants for young entrepreneurs or technology-based businesses.
You will incur expenses when you set up your business and during its start-up. It is important to compile everything in an accounting software in order to have a quick and rigorous follow-up on the financial situation of your company. Your accounting system will also serve as a tool to make your GST/QST returns. For the choice of your accounting system, although there are several accounting solutions, we recommend without a doubt Zoho. We have produced several web capsules and articles to help you get started.
Website and Social Media
Nowadays, you can’t do without these marketing tools. Take the time to think about what you will need, because the web is the best way to reach your customers. Your website represents your virtual showcase and can also be an important source of revenue if you make sales online. The BDC offers a lot of advice in this regard.
Starting a business takes a lot of energy, there are so many things to do. Evaluate your strengths and seek expertise in the areas you are least familiar with. A word of advice: keep your eyes open even if you delegate or subcontract some of the work. You’re the boss after all, it’s part of your responsibilities!