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Stages In Your Business

Starting a new business is one of the most difficult and rewarding endeavours you may ever undertake. Whether you're planning to run a small business from home, or laying the foundations of a large corporation, there are many things you need to know. Between writing your business plan and hanging that first earned dollar on your wall, you're bound to run into all sorts of surprises. Let us walk you through some of the steps involved and introduce you to some of the organizations you'll be dealing with. Informing yourself and being prepared will not only make the process smoother but will increase your chances of success in today's fast-paced and highly competitive markets.


Starting Your Business

All good businesses start with an original idea.  From initial concept through to completed business plan, Peace Hills Trust can help you get your idea off the ground.


It Starts with an Idea

All good businesses start with an original concept or idea, but sometimes your original idea doesn't make the money that you imagined. The idea may need some slight adjustment or even a major overhaul. What seems like a good idea one day, may not be such a good idea after time passes. Remember, the marketplace changes constantly and to be successful in business you must always keep coming up with new ideas.

After Your Business Plan

You have an idea and a plan to make it profitable. But there are countless legal issues involved in starting a business and the choices you make can be the difference between success and failure. Go to Login Business Page 

Getting Legal Advice

At Peace Hills Trust, we know how hard it is to start a new business, especially if it's your first. But don't worry, there are people and organizations out there who can help.It's strongly advised that you consult a lawyer or legal accountant before making any major decisions about starting your new venture. They can help make sure that you meet all the necessary legal requirements before you begin. Be selective in choosing a lawyer. Make sure that he or she is knowledgeable about the type of business that you wish to begin, and able to provide all the services you'll need.  

Organizations You Need to Know

Whether you're planning on being a sole proprietor or on heading a large corporation, if you're starting a new business you'll need to contact a variety of regulatory bodies. There are several different organizations existing on the federal, provincial and municipal levels. Peace Hills Trustcan help you find the information you need to contact them before you begin any new project.

Financing Your New Business

From a lemonade stand on the corner to a brokerage house in the downtown core, every business needs capital to get started and to continue operating. Described below are the four basic types of financing you should be aware of.

Venture capital (Equity or Shareholders' Loans) Equity is money paid in exchange for partial ownership of the company. There is no obligation to repay Equity-the investor has bought a share in the profits. A shareholder loan is money loaned to the business by a shareholder. Both equity and shareholder loans create leverage which is the ability of the business to attract other loans and investment.

Capital asset financing (Term Loans) Term loans are used to purchase fixed assets required by the company, such as office equipment, vehicles, etc. A percentage of the value of the assets purchased then acts as security against the loan until it is repaid.

Operating loans are used to cover wages, rentals, inventory costs and other expenses in advance of collecting revenues to pay them. The lender will use a percentage of your accounts receivable as security against an operating loan. Operating loans are essentially a series of pre-approved, monthly 'term loans' that save you from having to constantly negotiate new loan terms.

Bridge capital financing is a form of loan intended to 'bridge the gap' between the due date of a payable and the date a specific receivable is anticipated. The receivable itself is the security for the loan. Bridge financing is typically reserved for low-risk situations.

Working from Home

At some time or another, you've probably imagined what it would be like to work from home. The gurgle of the coffee machine wakes you. You take the time to linger over a couple of cups while reading the newspaper in your housecoat. You check your day's agenda and make a few phone calls. With no one to interrupt you, you manage to get most of your work done by early afternoon. Maybe you take a shower, throw in a load of laundry, and head to the bank during the mid afternoon lull.

No commute. No rush. No distractions. No boss. What could be better?

The fact is, that while working from home definitely has its advantages, there are disadvantages too. Will you be able to perform all the day-to-day tasks necessary for running your business from home? Do you have the space available to conduct business meetings if necessary? Are you sure you won't be more distracted by small chores at home than you would be by co-workers in an office?

These are questions that only you can answer. But if you do decide that working from home is right for you and your business, then you can look at the other benefits of having a home office.

You're the Boss

Most businesses need employees to help with day-to-day operations. While hiring employees can certainly make it easier to get all the work done, having even a single employee can make operating your business more complicated.

At Peace Hills Trust, we want to help you understand these issues because, as an employer, you are strengthening our community by creating jobs for others.

Where Can I Learn More?

There are many resources available to someone starting a business. Whether you want to begin a small mail-order business out of your home or start a multinational corporation, there's plenty of free information at your fingertips.

The internet is an invaluable resource to anyone in business. You can find out about consumer trends and get up to date market analyses, which will be able to help you plan your business and assess your market. Learn how to obtain funding for your project from the government or private resources.

Another great advantage to using the internet in starting your business is that many of the legal registrations and applications are available online. Filing forms electronically can save you time.

One thing to be careful of when researching online is that you focus your search on the right region and get the information that's relevant to you. The internet is international, so what applies in one province or country, may not apply in another.

Government agencies have information packages available to help you as well. Contact them and they can mail you what you require. Peace Hills Trustcan also assist you with various aspects of your new endeavour. Come and talk to us before you begin.

There is a lot of material out there to help you start your business. Use it. Your competition will. Go to Login Business Page 

Growing Your Business

You have your products or services, now how do you get them out to potential customers? By putting together a comprehensive marketing budget and learning which types of advertising and promotion will work best for you, you'll have no problems attracting new customers.


Getting to the Customer

Market research is vital to succeeding in business. Who will need your product or service? Is there a demand for it? Once you've answered these questions, you need to establish how you're going to distribute, what price to charge and how you're going to promote your service or product. Marketing begins with customers' needs and you should design a strategy to fulfill those needs.

Paying Your Employees

Though it's of paramount importance to pay all of your bills in an accurate and timely fashion, the fact is that your employees rely upon and plan around their payment schedule. Even a 'minor' delay of a single day in receiving a paycheque can cause an employee serious hardship. Should such delays happen repeatedly, employee morale will drop, your employees may quit with little or no notice, and they may even report you to the Better Business Bureau.

Managing Cash Flow

Having a positive cash flow simply means having more money coming in than going out. A positive cash flow is critical to the operation and success of your business, and is a key indicator of a healthy, well-run business. Unfortunately, especially in the beginning, maintaining a positive cash flow can be difficult.

There are two basic keys to maintaining a positive cash flow.  First, you need to know how much cash is coming in and when, and second, you need to know how much cash is going out and when. The trick lies in balancing your income against your outlay. To do this, you need to be aware of a number of important factors. Is your business seasonal? Is your payment cycle in sync with your collection cycle? Are you managing your assets and inventory properly by purchasing only what you need, when you need it? In order to keep your finances running smoothly, you'll need to constantly evaluate all of these things and be prepared to change your practices as necessary.  

Reaching Capacity

As your business grows you may run up against limitations imposed by the size of your facilities, the number of your employees, or both. It's critical that you anticipate and plan for these occurrences. If you're unable to grow to meet increasing demands, you may lose customers and profits to your competition.


Becoming an Employer

If your business becomes too large to run by yourself, you may need to hire extra personnel to help out. The first step to becoming an employer is to get a Business Number, which will allow you to deduct income tax, Canada Pension Plan contributions and Employment Insurance premiums from your employee's wages. There are many rules and regulations to adhere to as an employer; make sure you comply with all of them before you bring new people on board.

Marketing Strategy

Your business is up and running. You've invested a lot of time and money to get your product or service just the way you want it. Now what? The first thing to do is find out which people will be buying your products. Who will your customers be? Once you've found this information, you need to devise a plan that will physically get your products and services into the proper market so people can buy them.

Foreign Exchange (FX)

If your business involves importing or exporting products to or from other countries, you're affected by the value of the Canadian dollar. If you provide a service in another country, you're similarly concerned with the rate of exchange. Foreign exchange is determined by the value of all the world's currencies in relation to one another.

While there is almost nothing you can do to affect the value of the Canadian dollar, there are some precautions you can take to make sure your business doesn't go under due to a fluctuation in FX. Learn more about protecting your profits and devise a strategy to manage your exposure to these changes.

Determining Your Technology Needs

Technology is an important part of any business. Whether you need a desktop computer for spreadsheets and an inventory database, or you need servers for a local intranet and broadband internet access for hundreds of employees, the fact is that technology is an important tool in modern business. You might be able to operate your business without a single computer, but if your competition is 'wired' you might find yourself left behind.

Determining your specific technology needs is simply a matter of informing yourself. Take stock of the tasks that need to be performed in order to operate your business effectively and determine which of those tasks can be made easier and more efficient through technology. There are many different ways you can determine what you need. Ask questions, go to the library, search the internet, or contact a technology consulting firm. By becoming an educated consumer, you will save time and money when it comes to purchasing, installing and operating new technology.

New Employees

When you start your business you may be the only employee, or one of only a few. But as a business grows, you may need even more employees in order to meet the demands of a growing customer base. Eventually, you should step away from handling the everyday workload and into a more managerial role. This can be difficult, as up to this point you have probably tried to handle it all yourself. Now you will need to delegate the major responsibilities to key employees and be able to trust that they know what they're doing. The fact is that they may not be as proficient as you, but the costs of trying to do it all yourself as your business continues to grow are much higher than the cost of a few mistakes made by employees in the learning process.

Joining Forces

Sometimes you can learn a lot from your competition, what they're doing right, what mistakes they make along the way. Your competition can also learn from you. Maybe your competitor is a genius when it comes to design and production, but has no idea how to market - while it just so happens you have a real knack for that aspect of the business. After keeping an eye on each other for some time, you may decide that you could increase profits by joining forces.

You don't have to limit your analysis of potential alliances to the person down the street. You can align yourself with businesses and companies from other countries to capitalize on the skills you have and different resources available to each of you. Nor do you have to limit your partnership to just one other business or even to a similar business. A coffee shop, a bookstore and a laundromat could form a very successful alliance, given the right circumstance.

There are things you should be aware of before you decide to form or join any alliance. First of all, you need to ascertain whether there's enough of a market to support both you and your potential partner. If there is, proceed with caution. Look closely at what each of you is bringing into the relationship and make sure that profits will be divided accordingly. Legal assistance and a solid contract are strongly advised.


Learn all about the various types of federal and provincial taxes that apply to you and your business. If you're federally incorporated, you have to pay taxes in monthly installments. If you're the sole proprietor, you include the income (or losses) of your business in your personal income tax - even in this situation, you may be required to pay taxes in installments.

There are a lot of tax regulations to be aware of when operating a business. Revenue Canada provides all of the information you need to make sure that your business complies.

Should You Expand?

If business is going well, you may be thinking about expanding. Before launching into any new markets, there are some key things you must consider. First you'll want to make sure that the current success of your business is not a fad. Do some forecasting to make sure that the market will keep rising in your new area. You also want to take a very close look at the area you're expanding into. Is there a need for your product or service that hasn't been provided in the past? Make sure another competitor hasn't already gotten the jump on you, established themselves and cornered the market.

New Challenges

If you've finally managed to get ahead in your business, you've probably attracted your competitors' attention. They'll be watching to determine what you do right, and learning from any mistakes you make. By setting a new standard, you've challenged them to do better, so now isn't the time to be complacent.

Using information to maintain a competitive advantage requires effective interpretation. Analyze the information to determine the strengths and weakness of your competitors, where they see opportunities, and what they see as a threat. From this basic analysis, you can start predicting their next actions.

Creating a Non-Profit Organization

The principle benefit of a non-profit organization is its tax-exempt status. Take a look at some of the criteria you will need to meet in order to become-and to remain-a registered non-profit. 


Registration with Revenue Canada

In the case of a non-profit organization, 'registration' refers specifically to registration with Revenue Canada for income tax exemption. If your organization has no need for tax-exempt status-if it will not be accepting gifts and issuing official receipts for income tax purposes-then your organization does not need to register.

Finding Direction

A non-profit organization may have a few volunteers or it may have hundreds. Without a strong board of directors to steer the organization, their efforts will not be fully realized, and the aims of the organization may not be effectively met. To allow your directors to run the organization effectively, they'll need to know what is expected of them. Without some sort of job description, directors will not be able to focus their efforts-and the efforts of others-toward specific goals.

A Non-Profit Business Plan

Your non-profit organization will need a well developed business plan to get it off the ground. In order to simply apply for registration you'll need to clearly state the objects of your organization. You must also be aware of and prepared to comply with all federal, provincial and municipal requirements. Furthermore, in order to be successful, you'll need to have a carefully developed structure, operating procedures and bylaws.

It may sound like a lot of work, but a business plan for a non-profit organization isn't that different from any other business plan. You simply need to describe why your organization is valuable, both to those who benefit from it, and to those who fund it.  

The Rules of Your Organization

Aside from having to obey the legal and financial regulations of your province and region, a non-profit organization needs its own internal constitution and bylaws. These rules, which must be decided on and approved by the board of directors, will govern all the operations of your organization.

Are You Covered?

Non-profit organizations have a lot of the same insurance needs as regular businesses. If you lease office space, for example, you'll need to consider renters insurance that covers theft and fire to protect any office equipment or furniture that the organization owns.

If you're using a vehicle for operations, make sure you have insurance that complies with the regulations of your province, especially if there will be multiple drivers.

Bond insurance should be considered if you have board members or volunteers working with money. You always hope that you can trust the people wanting to help, but sadly that's not always the case.

If your project involves working directly with the public, you may need liability protection in the event that something unexpected or unfortunate happens.

Non-profit Structure

Non-profit organizations come in all shapes and sizes. A poetry group that gives free readings at a café once a month is just as much a non-profit organization as an international agency mandated to protect a certain species of wildlife.

There are, however, two main types of non-profit organization: those that are incorporated and registered as non-profit charitable organizations, and those that are not. If you are incorporated, your organization will probably function very much like any other corporation, and that means you need a formal structure.

Getting to Know You

As a non-profit organization you have to market yourself to two different groups: the people who stand to benefit from the services that you're providing and the people who want to support those services. If you're sponsoring a hot meals program, you first need to let the people who need this service know how to contact you to obtain help. You also need to get the word out to the people in the community who would like to support your cause, either by volunteering their time or by donating money, building space, materials, etc.

Staff vs Volunteers

Many people are unable to help out a non-profit organization by donating money, but are willing to donate something just as important: their time. Finding people who will work for you for free isn't easy, but it's not impossible either. There are several internet sites devoted to matching volunteers with organizations. Although volunteers are an invaluable asset, there are limitations involved. Be aware that, since they aren't getting paid, they will determine when they're available, not the other way around.

Aside from volunteers, you will likely require at least a few paid staff. As with any business, hiring staff requires you to carefully decide which jobs you need done, interview prospective employees, and finally hire the best candidates. Be sure to comply with the Employment Standards Act and all other regulations governing employer/employee relations.

How Do You Receive Money?

As a non-profit organization, the majority of your funding, comes from small, individual contributions. These are people that you have reached who believe in what you're trying to do and want to support your cause. It's essential that you make it easy for them to contribute financially. If the process of donating is too arduous, they're less likely to help.

The First Rule

The most important part of fundraising is to ask people for money. It may seem obvious, but a lot of people are shy, or can never seem to find the right time. Even members who donate large sums of money to the non-profit organization should to let their friends, family and co-workers know what they're doing to help others, and then ask them if they would like to make a donation. Most people will not give money if they are not asked.

Organization is the Key

Starting up a non-profit organization is the same as starting up a new business. The key to success is a solid original idea and a well thought out long-term plan; this is also the key to getting grants. The first thing you need to do is write up a business plan that answers the following questions: Do people need this new organization? Are there people who will support you? Where will you get the funding necessary to operate? Why are you the right person/people to do this project?

Supporting Your Cause

You need the support of your community to start up a new non-profit organization and to keep that operation going. Whether you're a small local project or a huge, national non-profit, the support of people who want to help you is essential. Make it easy for your supporters to help you financially by getting a merchant credit card account. 

Ending Your Non-Profit

There may come a time when you decide to close down your organization. It may be because of funding; you've tried try every way imaginable to raise the funds necessary to operate but just can't get the support you need from the community. Maybe you just don't have the time to keep the organization going and you can't find anyone else to take over the responsibility of running things. It could also be that the service you originally provided is no longer necessary, and you find that there are less and less people using the service every week.