About 15% of SMEs in Canada are female-headed, according to a report filed in 2013 by RBC Economic Research. It’s a little, but be careful: this number is growing 60% faster than men’s. Women have the wind in their sails! The adventure tempts us? We read the following before leaving our job!
Step 1: check if you have what you need
Josyane Desjardins is Executive Director of Femmessor Montérégie, an organization that promotes women’s entrepreneurship by providing access to capital and support services. According to the professional, who has worked for nearly 20 years with entrepreneurs, the business community is not for everyone. “According to the statistics, about 10% of people have an entrepreneurial profile,” she says. Going into business requires special qualities and skills. While some can be developed, many, like flair, are innate. In general, entrepreneurs know how to detect opportunities and seize them at the right time. They also have a taste for risk, but especially a tolerance to the latter,
To succeed in business, you also need management skills. Combined with a good sense of organization, they will allow us to manage the different facets of our business. “Like finances, staff, inventory, schedules, etc.,” Josyane Desjardins explains. Leadership is also an asset to convince people to follow us in our project. Finally, it is important to have interpersonal skills that will help us develop a network and surround us with trusted people who can be delegated certain tasks. ”
Over time, Virginie Morin, owner of Les Glaceurs, which specializes in making cupcakes, understood that delegating is indeed essential to the growth of a business. Because, if she started both hands in flour with happiness in 2006, she is now happy to be able to devote herself to the management of its four shops. “With the birth of my daughters, I had to delegate some tasks,” she says. It’s now part of my work philosophy. It allows me to reconcile work and family. ”
Finally, passion is an essential ingredient in the realization of our project, as confirmed by the chocolatière Geneviève Grandbois. “Starting a business is exciting, exciting and rewarding, but it’s also exhausting and it challenges us,” she says. If our desire comes only from the head, we will lack courage to face everything. “What corroborates François Lambert, one of the dragons of the popular show In the eye of the dragonand author of a book that will be released this spring in which he shares his passion for entrepreneurship and his “recipe” for starting a business. “Our project must be the dream we wake up to every morning,” he says. Starting a business can be difficult. So we often say that we will not go through. But when you’re guided by passion, you do it. ”
Step 2: Assess the relevance of our idea
“To know if our project will hold up, it is essential to do a market study, explains Josyane Desjardins. It will help us find out if there is a potential market, identify our customers, assess whether our product or service matches the needs of the market and identify the competition. ”
Several organizations can help us. This is the case of local development centers (CLD), part of whose mandate is to support entrepreneurs. In Montreal, this role is more that of the SAJE organization, which supports new entrepreneurs through advisory services, coaching and training. To become familiar with the market study and the ways to achieve it, one can also consult the guide offered online by the Canada Business Network or through its Quebec portals Info Entrepreneurs and Business Resources. True gold mines, they offer the complete list of agencies and sites to consult to manage a business, from its start to its closure. Another way to know if our idea is good: we talk about it! “If we do not talk about our idea, strong are the chances of dying with it, warns François Lambert. We are talking about it. To our family, our friends, our colleagues. Their feedback is essential to refine our project and take the pulse of the market. “Very few ideas are stolen,” he says. Good ideas, everyone has them. What makes an entrepreneur strong is how it’s done. ”
Step 3: Create our business plan
“This is a thirty-page document in which we present our entrepreneur profile, our project and all the essential elements to its realization: results of the market study, budget forecasts, necessary resources, marketing plan, etc., “explains Josyane Desjardins. It is usually from this document that the donors will evaluate our seriousness and the viability of our project.
CLDs can help us design our business plan. There is also the SAJE organization, which offers a training called Starting a Business , after which a business plan must be written. This certificate of professional specialization is also offered to adults by most school boards in Quebec. If you’re more of a self-taught person, you can opt for the self-completed business plan template on the Business Development Bank of Canada website.