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Small Business Ownership: Passion and Pride Tammy Lavigne, Resource and Information Specialist, Job Skills

About the Author

Tammy Lavigne is a Resource and Information Specialist with Job Skills - Employment & Business Services. After years of working with a Canadian corporation and volunteering in the not-for-profit sector, Tammy decided to turn her passion for making a difference in her community into a professional career. Tammy's career change into employment services allows her to assist clients with career exploration and provide them with the resources and information necessary for their job search.

If you have ever thought about going into business for yourself, congratulations! You might be one step closer to being your own boss. Many small business owners enjoy the fact that all of their hard work is reflected directly back for their own benefit. What do you need to know before you venture down the road of self-employment? Here are some steps to help you get started:
  1. Know yourself. Self-employment requires long hours, dedication and commitment. While excellent organizational, planning and execution skills can take you far, you also need to consider your ability to persevere and overcome obstacles. Are you able to take responsibility for every facet of your business? Believe in yourself and your product so you can sell it ''from the heart''.

  2. Talk it over with family and friends. The long hours required for a new small business can certainly make your family and friends feel your lack of presence in everyday life and at social events. Have a conversation with the individuals that will be affected by your absence to ensure that they understand and are supportive of your goals and objectives.

  3. Look over the various options. Could your hobbies or professional skills become a basis for a successful small business? Do you see a need in your community that has not been fulfilled? Would it be better for you to purchase an existing business or franchise? Network with other small business owners. Do some market research. Join your local Chamber of Commerce or Board of Trade.

  4. Assess your skills. Do you have a well-rounded business background or do you need training to help make your business successful? Many Colleges and Small Business Centres offer courses and workshops to help you develop the skills needed to run a small business. If you are currently in receipt of Employment Insurance, were on Employment Insurance in the past and are currently working at a survival job, or are youth between the ages of 15-30, you may be eligible for funding and training to help you start a small business. Visit your local Employment Ontario service provider for details.

  5. Critically evaluate your financial situation. Many businesses struggle to make profit for at least the first year of existence, sometimes longer. Do you have access to funds to be able to pay your household bills and your business expenses until you have some positive income? Make sure you have a secure source of funding to sustain your through your start up. Whether it is through savings, a line of credit, or other means, you need to make sure that you can cover your expenses.
Being your own boss just may be the ''toughest job you'll ever love'', but the rewards in owning your own business can be immeasurable.

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