Canadian Bankers Association

Canadian Bankers Association

October 15, 2010 12:38 ET

Small Business Week: Working With Your Bank to Help Your Business Grow

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 15, 2010) - Have you ever thought about turning that good idea into your own small business? If you have, your bank can help. As Small Business Week approaches, the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) and local bankers celebrate the contribution small businesses make to our communities and economy and provide advice to those thinking of starting their own business.

"Starting a small business may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but with some careful planning and determination it can be done and can be a very rewarding experience," said Nancy Hughes Anthony, President and CEO of the Canadian Bankers Association. "Bankers in communities across the country work with nearly two million small businesses, providing advice, financing and other banking services to help these entrepreneurs realize their dreams of business ownership."

Tips on Turning Your Small Business Dreams into Reality

If you're thinking of starting a small business, here are some things you will need to do:

Know Your Market – Do your homework and find out what the market is for your product or service before you start. Identify your potential customer base, decide how you will market to them and find out who your competitors are and what they are doing. This information can be the basis of a good marketing plan.

Set Up a Business Structure – Will your business be a sole proprietorship, partnership or a corporation? How many employees will you have, what will your company be called and where will it be located? How will you manage your finances and deal with legal issues? What sort of advisors will you need? These are some of the questions you'll need to think about before getting started.

Financing Your Business – You will need "seed money" to launch your business, buy equipment and supplies and cover your initial operating costs. There are many types of debt (borrowed money) and equity (invested money) financing available, from loans, lines of credit and credit cards to leasing arrangements. Find out more about the types of small business financing that is available and decide what is right for you.

Talk to Your Bank – Banks can offer the advice and services you need to start and then manage your business, including deposit and transaction accounts, payments facilitation, day-to-day cash management services, foreign exchange, records management, trade advice and business succession planning. In a recent survey by The Strategic Counsel, 78 per cent of small business owners report having a positive working relationship with their main financial institution and they remain loyal: nearly one-quarter (22 per cent) have had a business relationship with their bank for more than 20 years.

Develop a Strong Business Plan – Now that you've done all this thinking, you should write your business plan, a clear description of what your company will do and how it will be run. Many banks and other organizations offer free information kits and software to help develop a business plan, but generally it should outline:

  • How the company will be managed and owned and the markets in which it will operate
  • The products and/or services you will offer and how they will be produced, marketed and sold
  • The strengths and weaknesses of your company and your short and long-term plans
  • The amount, sources and types of financing you will need
  • Information on operating costs and sales and cash flow forecasts

You may require the assistance of an accountant, lawyer or other business advisor to develop you plan, but it should reflect your own thinking. A good business plan can be an important element in a small business' future success.

Seek Out Advice and Information – Depending on your business, you may need to seek out professional advice in accounting, legal and regulatory issues, insurance or technology. Small businesses are such an important part of Canada's economy, that there is an extensive network of organizations providing a wealth of resources.

The CBA has a list of the tools and resources available for entrepreneurs. In addition, Industry Canada's Canada Business website can help with information about a variety of government and non-government business services.

Small business week runs from October 17 to 23, 2010.

The Canadian Bankers Association works on behalf of 51 domestic banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada and their 260,000 employees. The CBA advocates for effective public policies that contribute to a sound, successful banking system that benefits Canadians and Canada's economy. The Association also promotes financial literacy to help Canadians make informed financial decisions.

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