Building Stage Resources
So, you’ve come up with a business idea, congratulations! Now it’s time to make it official. You’ll need to build out a strategy to reach your audience and figure out how much it will all cost so you can set yourself up for financial success. Often at this stage, it can feel overwhelming to know where to start so we’ve provided some common questions to help you start thinking about what will be most helpful.
Want to learn more about different stages of business and the milestones? Check out our business growth roadmap.
How do I choose what to focus on to help me reach my growth goals?
- Essentialism by Gret McKeown — Learn how to prioritize and apply selective criteria to focus on what really matters
- Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo — Learn how to retrain your brain to think more creatively and positively in the face of setbacks so you can focus on your goals
How do I turn my hobby into a business?
- Stop Treating Your Business Like a Hobby: 5 Ways To Step Into The Business Owner Role By Elizabeth McCravy https://elizabethmccravy.com/stop-treating-your-business-like-a-hobby-5-ways-to-step-into-the-business-owner-role/
How do I know if I can quit my day job?
- 4 Ways to Know it’s Time to Quit Your Day Job and Launch Your Company by The Muse, Danielle Mund https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-ways-to-know-its-time-to-quit-your-day-job-and-launch-your-company
How do I make time for my business?
- Timeblocking and Imagining Your Ideal Week: (Blog + Template) https://ashleyjanssen.com/time-blocking-and-imagining-your-ideal-week/
How do I set a yearly strategy plan with measurable goals?
- How & Why to Write SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Based) — step by step guidance and questions to get you started https://frontiermarketingllc.com/how-to-write-smart-goals/
- What are key performance indicators (KPIs) and how to track them to measure your business success https://www.freshbooks.com/blog/kpis-small-business
- Delivering Happiness: Zappos by Tony Hsieh — Purpose/Vision/Values
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown — Personal Development
- Setting Small Business Goals — Instagram Example https://youtu.be/14wzxr9lqLI
- Why the secret to success is setting the right goals: TED Talk by John Doerr — Learn about OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) https://youtu.be/L4N1q4RNi9I
- How to set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and Goals by Y Combinator, Adora Cheung https://www.ycombinator.com/library/6j-how-to-set-kpis-and-goals-sus-2019 *Transcript also available as article
How do I increase my profit margins?
- 19 Easy Ways to Increase Profit Margins for Your Small Business https://www.thekickassentrepreneur.com/increase-profit-margins/
- How to Increase Profit Margin: 5 Strategies for Any Business https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/how-to-increase-profit-margin
- How to Increase Profit Margins by Tony Robbins https://www.tonyrobbins.com/business/ways-to-increase-profit-margins/
How do I develop processes to help me streamline and standardize my business?
- Why Your Solopreneur Business Needs an Operations Manual https://onewomanshop.com/2017/solopreneur-business-operations-manual/
- Process Documentation: Should Small Businesses Bother? https://www.bramleysolutions.com/blog/process-documentation/
- 7 Simple Tips for Documenting Your Important Business Procedures by Michel Theriault https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2013/09/17/7-simple-tips-for-documenting-your-important-business-procedures/?sh=47d318a91ab8
- 5 Standard Operating Procedures Every Product Business Must Create https://youtu.be/2GF3yjkXEfg
How do I ship heavy items?
- Cheapest Way to Ship Heavy Items by ShipBob https://www.shipbob.com/blog/shipping-heavy-items/
How do I avoid having too much inventory?
- How to Manage and Identify Excess Inventory https://whiplash.com/blog/manage-identify-excess-inventory/
How do I manage products as a Maker?
- Multichannel Selling: How to Decide on Sales Channels for Your Business and Manage them Effectively https://www.shopify.ca/enterprise/what-is-multi-channel-retailin
When do I need insurance and what are my options?
- Do I Need Small Business Insurance? By TruShield Insurance https://www.trushieldinsurance.ca/blog/insurance-101/need-small-business-insurance/
- What Business Insurance Do You Need? By Business Development Canada (BDC) https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/business-strategy-planning/manage-business/what-business-insurance-do-you-need
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Small Business Insurance by Small Business BC https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/5-frequently-asked-questions-about-small-business-insurance/
How and why should I file for GST?
- Complete Guide on Collecting GST/HST for Self Employed Canadians — https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tips/self-employed-taxes-collecting-gst-hst-8730
- GST and HST basics — How To Do Right by the CRA and Your Business https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-gst-and-hst-basics-how-to-do-right-by-the-cra-and-your-business/
How and why should I register my business (sole proprietor vs incorporation)?
- 5 Smart Reasons to Register your Small Business by OWNR https://ownr.co/blog/5-smart-reasons-to-register-your-small-business/#:~:text=When%20your%20business%20grows%2C%20you,Compensation%2C%20health%20benefits%20and%20more.
- What Are the Costs of Incorporation for Provincial or Federal by OWNR https://www.ownr.co/blog/incorporation-costs/
- When is it Time to Incorporate my Small Business? https://www.liveca.ca/blog/when-is-it-time-to-incorporate-my-small-business
- Benefits of Incorporating by Government of Canada https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cd-dgc.nsf/eng/cs06641.html
Marketing & Sales
How do I consistently share with my audiences?
- 5 Tips to Help You Create a Consistent Content Strategy for Your Business https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/business/trends-and-insights/articles/5-tips-to-help-you-create-a-consistent-content-strategy-for-your-business/
How do I capture great product photography?
- DIY Guide to the Perfect Product Photography Setup by Shopify https://www.shopify.ca/blog/12206313-the-ultimate-diy-guide-to-beautiful-product-photography
- How to Take Product Photography at Home with a Smartphone by Shopify https://youtu.be/ZFqvFP4GsvI
How do I advertise and promote my business when I’m short on time?
- Marketing Your Business When You’re Short on Time https://endeavorcreative.com/marketing-short-on-time/
- 10 Marketing Tips to Help You Thrive as a Solopreneur https://startupnation.com/start-your-business/market-your-business/marketing-tips-to-help-you-thrive-solopreneur-john/
- How to Start Social Media Marketing by Neil Patel: https://youtu.be/-tdFvJLw2UQ
How and when should I create my own website?
- The Digital Economy Program (DEP) is designed to help small businesses take their businesses online. Helps small businesses in Alberta undergo digital transformations and adopt eCommerce practices free of charge including training and advisory support towards digital strategy development, Google My Business assistance, social media posts, and taking awesome pictures for your businesses. https://dep.businesslink.ca/about?gclid=EAIaIQobChMInN3CsJn5-AIV78LCBB0E7AStEAAYASAAEgKyf_D_BwE
- 10 Reasons Why it’s Important to Build a Small Business Website https://www.constantcontact.com/blog/small-business-website/
- How to Make a Small Business Website https://themeisle.com/blog/how-to-make-a-small-business-website/
Which marketing tools will help me save time and reach my audience?
- 7 Sales & Marketing Tools for Solopreneurs, Free to Get Started https://beckiebrown.com/sales-marketing/sales-marketing-tools-solopreneurs/
- 22 Digital Marketing Tools You Need When Starting a Business https://neilpatel.com/blog/online-marketing-tools-start-business/
- 5 Must Have Social Media Tools https://hellobeverley.com/wp-content/uploads/5-Must-Have-Social-Media-Tools.pdf
How to choose where to market my product/service?
- 7 Tips for Successful In-Person Marketing https://leadautomationsystems.com/old-school-marketing-101-7-tips-for-successful-in-person-marketing/
- Where to Sell Handmade Online https://www.madeurban.com/blog/where-sell-handmade-online/
- Smart Marketing Strategies for Handmade Businesses https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9040-handmade-business-marketing-tips.html
How can I have a great market or in-person sales experience?
- The 5E Experience Design Model https://medium.theuxblog.com/the-5e-experience-design-model-7852324d46c
How can I collaborate with other small businesses?
- 6 Ways Small Businesses Can Collaborate for Free https://mybeautifulfluff.com/blogs/fluff/6-ways-small-businesses-can-collaborate-for-free
- 6 Reasons Collaboration Can Help You Grow Your Business https://www.thebalancesmb.com/collaboration-grows-your-business-2951718
- Business Collaboration: How to Reach Out and Work with Strangers https://youtu.be/JJ_5GETyLyg
How to choose where I should sell my product/service and how to get into retail spaces?
- How to Approach Retail Stores to Sell Your Product https://wholesalesuiteplugin.com/how-to-approach-retail-stores-to-sell-your-product/
How can I improve my sales skills?
- 15 Tried and True Ways to Improve Your Sales Skills https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/how-to-improve-sales-skills
- Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink
How and why should I create a marketing plan?
- ATB Marketing Plan Template: PDF Download
- How to Write a Marketing Plan by BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada) https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/marketing-sales-export/marketing/5-no-nonsense-strategies-attract-customers
- Small Business Basics: Marketing by Business Link https://youtu.be/-qLLsgD1Kbc
Should I have a separate bank account for my business?
- Personal Banking vs. Business Banking: Do You Need Separate Bank Accounts? https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/banking/personal-vs-business-bank-account/
- 8 Reasons Why You Need a Bank Account for Your Business https://www.moneyunder30.com/when-do-you-need-a-bank-account-for-your-business
How do I file taxes for the first time as a new business?
- Filing Taxes as a Self-Employed Small Business Owner by Turbotax https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tips/filing-taxes-as-a-small-business-owner-6214
- Canadian Income Tax and Your Small Business: Preparing and Filing Canadian Income Tax https://www.thebalancesmb.com/canadian-income-tax-and-your-small-business-2948640
How do I track monthly cash flow?
- Business Cash Flow Calculator https://www.shopcom/capital/calculator?itcat=blog&itterm=58612357&shpxid=cc43774a-8FF3-4AD0-454D-0E176A19D8B3
- Cashflow Tracking Spreadsheet Template https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Eq1CE8quJei-Lgt_1DdMVzxgv8v-ROpLQiKHT7okHgM/edit#gid=2137285335
- Cash Flow Management https://www.shopify.ca/blog/cash-flow-management
- Pandemic Cash Flow by Blaine Bertsch — Learn simple strategies to track your cashflow weekly, monthly and yearly as well as how to manage your finances.
How do I budget for costs without missing key pieces?
- What Is Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) and How to Calculate it https://www.freshbooks.com/hub/accounting/cost-of-goods-sold-cogs
- What are my Operating Expenses? https://www.netsuite.com/portal/resource/articles/financial-management/operating-expense.shtml
- Don’t Forget to Include These 5 Expenses in Your Business Budget https://quickbooks.intuit.com/ca/resources/expenses/5-overlooked-business-expenses/
- Understanding Financial Statements by Oracle https://youtu.be/0EQLDst9P98 (2 min)
How much should I charge for my services/products?
- How to calculate your hourly rate (solopreneurs) https://www.getresponse.com/blog/how-to-calculate-your-hourly-rate
- What Do I Charge? Find Your Product Pricing Sweet Spot https://youtu.be/Su0PaBtNmqM (5 min)