Immigrants seeking to build businesses need to be well equipped with the necessary information they need on business and entrepreneurship in their new country and how to navigate the culture of their new home. Below are some steps to consider when looking to start a business venture after immigration.
Step 1: Make sure you are ready for entrepreneurship.
It is easy to come up with an idea to start a business but not so easy to launch and build a profitable one. Many studies have shown that eighty percent of businesses fail in the first five years. Before you take the risk of starting a business, make sure that you are prepared for all the work entailed with starting and running a new business venture in a foreign country. It may be more beneficial to work for someone for a short while to figure out the dynamics of your new environment and to earn some money before venturing out on your own. Another option would be to visit the country a few times before you make the final move so you have established contacts to help you get your business up and rolling once you arrive.
Step 2: Embrace the culture.
To run a business anywhere, you need to understand the local culture, who your customers are, what they like to buy, and how they like to buy it. The best way to get immersed in a new culture is to get involved with groups in the community where you live such as volunteer organizations, business associations, your local place of worship, or a job. Opportunities to connect with people who have lived in the country longer than you can give you some great perspective on the culture and possible locations for your new venture. They will give you some idea of where your target market is located and you can do your own research to see if the location and people fit with your business plan. Once you have built a solid network where you live, you can branch out and make connections elsewhere.
Step 3: Evaluate your options.
When starting a business, there are important differences between starting from scratch, buying a privately-owned business, and buying a franchise. It is imperative to clearly define which option is the best for you. Each option has its pros and cons which you will have to thoroughly investigate before making your final decision about your business structure. It’s important to consider your motivations. If you enjoy creating things and love when your customers relish in your creations, then starting a business from scratch may be for you. However, if you prefer to own a business that is already up and running, where you just come in and take over, then purchasing an already established business may be a better option. Before making that choice, check out my previous article entitled “So You Want to Buy a Business? 5 Things to Consider Before You Leap.”
Step 4: Build your credit score.
Being new to a country like Canada means you may not have a history of responsible credit use which banks can refer to when deciding whether to lend you money as you start your business. Fortunately, there are some quick ways to build up your borrowing potential. One of the easiest and fastest ways to build up your credit score would be to sign up for a credit card and use it responsibly. Within a few months, you will start to develop a credit score that a bank can use to qualify you for a small business loan to finance your business. The most important thing to remember is that you must make your payments on time and not drive your credit utilization score too high. Credit utilization refers to how much credit you have used out of the total amount you are eligible to borrow. Banks want to know that you are not completely credit dependent and have access to other sources of capital, for example, a savings account, investments, or other sources of income.
Step 5: Prepare a business plan.
I cannot stress enough the importance of a business plan, especially when you are just starting out with your business idea. A business plan is a written description of your business' future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. Even if you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you've begun the process of writing a plan. Business plans are inherently strategic. You start at one point, with certain resources and abilities but you want to get to another point in the future (usually three to five years out) at which time your business will have a different set of resources and abilities as well as greater profitability and increased assets. Your plan shows how you will get from one point to another.
Step 6: Find a mentor.
There is a lot to soak up when you start a business, especially if you have just recently arrived in a new country. A mentor, someone with experience who can offer you advice and guidance, can be a huge help and time saver. There are many organizations and programs that offer training, mentorship, advice and guidance to new business owners. We at CQ BUSINESS COACH can help with the process through workshops, seminars, and programs which offer business coaching, mentoring, business planning, and strategy support to start your business in Canada. Doing an online search in the country where you land can provide information on other business service providers that can help you get your business up and running successfully.
To find out how we can help you, contact us at CQBC Inc. or 647-858-2195 for information about our workshops and seminars on how to get your business started in Canada.