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When launching a business, there are a number of steps an entrepreneur must take. But what should they do first? What should take priority?

According to Dominik Loncar, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Futurpreneur Canada, entrepreneurs may want to rush into some of the “legalities” associated with a business, whether it be incorporating or registering their business. But instead of trying to get investors or trying to get patents, Loncar says there are some other things that must be done first.

“There tends to be a bit of a rush to finish the superficial aspects of running a business,” Loncar said. “At some point this will be valid and useful but it’s all about the timing.”

We spoke with Loncar about his top tips on how to lay a solid foundation for a business.

Seven tips for laying the groundwork for a business

  1. Explore your idea

What’s more important is understanding where you’re at in terms of your idea. If you’re in the early stages, still exploring and testing the concept, then your priorities should be towards getting feedback from paying customers or at least potential customers and understanding how they feel about it.

  1. Understand the marketplace

It’s important to take the time to understand the marketplace and get a clear picture of what’s important to the customer. There’s a tendency to assume that because no one’s doing it, it’s a great idea. Well, maybe there’s a reason why no one’s doing it. If anything, I tell entrepreneurs that their biggest role is to find out what the challenges are. If there aren’t any challenges, you probably haven’t done enough homework. The most opportune ideas are going to have challenges.

  1. Develop a niche

There must be a focus on what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to. The niche is always going to drive the focus and the more niche, the better. You can go the other way, where it is so focused that it doesn’t make sense but generally entrepreneurs are better to go more niche. Frankly, sometimes entrepreneurs will have to seek experience if they have no prior understanding of that field. For example, if you’re starting a restaurant, you need experience in the industry or strong connections for suppliers and contributors. Entrepreneurs need to take care of the foundation first.

  1. Figure out timing

The context of where your life is now is important. Sometimes the idea is right, but the timing is off. If it’s an overwhelming time and there’s too much going on, it’s probably not the best time to start a side hustle. In order to start a business, you have to minimize distractions and those can come in many forms, whether it be financial mortgages or emotional distractions or just not being in a good physical space with too much going on.

  1. Learn about the regulations

You need to understand that each industry has its own stipulations and regulations. For example, if you’re going into childcare, that’s riddled with regulations and forms. Some industries are less regulated, but you still need to understand what those regulations are. For instance, if you were to open a retail store, consider what the zoning bylaws might be.

  1. Be prepared to fine tune

Entrepreneurs need to understand that they have to keep fine-tuning their idea. They say the devil’s in the details. You have to keep testing and re-testing and know that what you start with is not what you’ll end up with.

  1. Learn the basics

As an entrepreneur, you’re going to be wearing many hats. When you’re starting out, you have to understand that you can’t outsource. You have to have a solid understanding of all of the areas of a business, from sales to finance to the back-end operations. While you may not be good at finance, you can’t outsource at first. You may eventually hire someone, but there’s no one else in the beginning except you.

Entrepreneurs have to do all of this work in the beginning, so they feel they’re at a stage where they’re confident that their product is ready, and their foundation is ready. Then, they can begin the next steps of launching a business. To learn more about running a small business, visit our Resource Centre today!

Who’s Futurpreneur Canada?

Futurpreneur Canada is a national non-profit organization that has been helping young entrepreneurs across Canada for two decades. They provide financing, mentoring, and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Futurpreneur Canada’s mentoring program works to match young entrepreneurs with a business expert from their network of more than 3,000 volunteer mentors.

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