Would you like to work independently and at your own pace? Do you dream of starting a home-based business but don’t know where to begin? In this article, we’ll help you make sense of it all by sharing with you the basics you need to know before embarking on this great project.
The legal framework for starting a home-based business
Admittedly, this isn’t the most fun part, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Once you’ve determined your sector of activity, you can register your business with the government. To do this, you’ll need to provide information such as the location of your business, the name of your company and its legal status. Then check whether you need a permit or license for your business.
Choosing the legal form of your business
An important step in setting up a home-based business in Quebec is choosing your legal status. Your choice will depend on your needs, your objectives and your project.
There are four main legal forms:
Sole proprietorship: the business is owned by a single person who manages it, schedules decisions, assumes responsibility and collects the profits.
General partnership: the business is owned by several people under the terms set out in a contract.
Incorporation (or joint-stock company): the company is managed by shareholders. Profits are paid back to shareholders or reinvested in the company.
Cooperative: the business is managed democratically by co-owners who may be employees (worker cooperative), customers (consumer cooperative), or different groups who may be workers, consumers, suppliers or partners (solidarity cooperative).
The legal status of your company will have an impact on your tax situation. Remember to check this point.
Starting a home-based business and making yourself visible
Once you’ve finished with the administrative side of things, the most interesting part begins: what you want your business to look like, and how to make it visible to your future customers.
Designing your logo and graphic chart
First and foremost, you’ll need to give your company a visual identity. Colors, typography, a design that will distinguish you from the others, that will enable your future prospects to identify you very quickly.
If you don’t think this is so important, think again for a few minutes. What do you think of when I say “IKEA”? Probably the colors blue and yellow. What if I say “Home Depot”? Stencil typography will certainly come to mind… or the color orange. And if I say “Audi”, you’ll think of that distinctive logo with the 4 rings. There are thousands of examples of this type, so you get the idea. Any entrepreneur who wants to succeed needs to think about his visual identity, whatever his field of activity.
Build a website, a blog and think SEO
Today, having a website is a must. Any potential customer needs to be able to find you online. It’s a space that you can personalize according to your visual identity, which you’ll have established beforehand, and where you can explain who you are, what you do and what you offer. You can also go one step further by offering online sales of your products or services (if this is feasible in your field of activity).
A website is generally composed of fixed content, with headings such as “Home”, “About us” and “Our products/services”. However, you may want or need to communicate your news, or simply share information on different subjects. In this case, a blog is the right solution. It offers you an additional space within your website, with regularly updated content.
For both the website and the blog, it’s crucial to think about the keywords you want to be listed for on search engines like Google. This is what’s known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which brings together all the techniques used to ensure that your website arrives in your customers’ top search results.
Keep a presence on social networks
Having a presence on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn or Tiktok is now just as important as having a website to start a home-based business. These platforms enable you to forge direct links with your customers and build loyalty thanks to the proximity created by your content. They are also platforms where your customers can contact you more easily.
Create a network
Whether physical or virtual, creating a network allows you to enhance your address book, meet other players in your field and gain visibility. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll find new customers directly by taking part in an event, the fact that the people you meet identify you as an expert in your field could open up new opportunities for you.
Be easily located
One of the best ways to make yourself visible is to be easily located by your customers. Of course, this only applies if your activity involves physically meeting your customer (direct sales, make-up, hairdressing, massage, medical sector…). Google Maps is the reference in this field, and you can indicate the location of your premises yourself. But that’s not all… you can also add your opening hours, photos and customer reviews, all of which will help you to increase your prospects’ confidence tenfold.
Advertising is an extremely effective tool for making yourself visible to people likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Set aside a monthly budget to promote your website, in particular through Google ads, which will place your website in the top results for selected keywords.
Know how to delegate
Starting a home-based business can feel like an obstacle course. There’s a lot of information to assimilate and steps to take. It can feel like you have to be an expert in dozens of different areas: accounting, administration, website creation, article writing, business promotion, SEO… Many give up for lack of time, knowledge or support.
That’s where knowing how to delegate is essential. Of course, there are extra costs involved, but it’s a blessing in disguise. It frees up some of your mental workload to focus on what you enjoy. Why you decided to start a home-based business.
Tonconsultant.ca is a team of webmarketing consultants. Thanks to our expertise in this field, we offer a personalized and professional service to help you achieve your goals. We can help you with website design, copywriting, SEO, advertising, content creation and much more. Please contact us for a free consultation.