Moving to a new country can be daunting. As a newcomer, it might take you some time to find your feet and get used to living in Canada. You might decide to open your own business to help support you and your family. With a proper plan, perseverance, and a little help, you can grow your business and become a success story. At Achēv, we’re on hand to help you with our newcomer services that will help you start your life in Ontario and build a future for you and your family. We’re sharing ten tips on how you can start a business as an immigrant to Canada.
1. Find A Niche You’re Passionate About
Being your own boss is not easy. It’ll be a lot of long hours, and it can take years for you to reap the benefits of your hard work. You want to find something you’re passionate about and believe in. It could be a service that you offer the community or an innovative product that you think fills a gap in the market. You don’t have to settle on the first business idea that comes to mind. You want something that will make you want to get out of bed in the morning and drive your ambitions to grow your business. Once you’ve found your niche, you can take the first steps to start your business.
2. Plan, Plan, Plan
Before you can call yourself a business owner, you want to develop a plan for your company. You want to add as much detail as possible while still being flexible. Consider whether you want to work independently or if you’ll need to collaborate with other companies or freelancers to create your product or service. While you should always have one eye on the future, it’s a good idea to come up with a short-term plan to see you through the first few months of your business.
3. Look for Financial Support
It’s worth checking if you’re eligible for financial support as an immigrant. Different districts and NGOs have grants and loans available for you to access as a start-up business. These programs can provide the building blocks for your business and help you get off the ground in those crucial early weeks.
4. Utilize a Digital Strategy
Don’t overlook the power of social media and a digital presence. Once you have your business established, you want to launch a website and build a social media presence. It’s the future of marketing and will help you build brand awareness and attract new customers. You can run these platforms yourself or outsource them once you’ve got enough revenue coming into your business.
5. Get Familiar with Your Paperwork
As an immigrant entrepreneur, you might not be as familiar with the paperwork involved with your taxes or general business administration. You want to do your research and become familiar with the legal side of your business as early as possible. Getting ahead with your paperwork and staying on top of it means you won’t have a frantic dash just before filing your taxes.
You can usually find this information on government websites, or an accountant will be able to talk you through everything you need to establish your business. Don’t forget that you’ll have to register your business and make sure you fill in all the tax information.
6. Draw on Your Experience
As an immigrant, you’ll have a unique point of view that can make your business stand out from the crowd. Don’t be afraid to draw on your life experience to help you make business decisions. There might be something that’s common practice in your country that we don’t do in Canada. You can bring these practices with you and create a more streamlined system.
7. Find a Mentor
One piece of advice every business owner will give you is to find a mentor. Starting your own business can be a challenge, even more so as an immigrant. You can find a mentor through online programs or communities that bring together small business owners and entrepreneurs. You might be able to find your mentor within your local community. Having someone you can turn to for advice is invaluable, especially as a newcomer. There will always be people out there who want to share their experience and knowledge with you.
8. Tell Your Story
You’re one of the biggest selling points of your business. As an immigrant, you’ll have a story to tell your audience. You can wave it into your brand story and make it part of what your business represents. In the competitive business world, it’s inspiring stories like yours that can set you apart from the mainstream competition.
9. Invest Back into Your Business
Depending on your business, you might want to take a few training courses every year to top up your skills. If you’re opening a beauty salon, investing in these courses can help you build your portfolio and diversify your business.
Investing in your business (and yourself!) is also about making sure you have the tools you need to set you up for success. While you don’t need the latest version of an iPhone or top-of-the-range software, you want to have the technology that will enable you to run your business smoothly. For the first few months – even years – of your business, you want to focus on reinvesting your money back into your business to invest in yourself, your product, or service.
10. Network Within Your Community
As a newcomer to Canada, it’s likely that you won’t have an established network to call on to support your new business. At Achēv, our immigrant services are available to help you find your feet and get started on your new life in Canada. You never know when you might come across someone who can help your business. Believing in yourself means you can put yourself out there and interact with people who might be interested in your company.
Don’t be afraid to carry a few business cards around with you – you’ll never know when you’ll need them! Take advantage of newcomer events in your community where you can meet other immigrant entrepreneurs who are starting on their business journey.
Do you need support on launching your business as an immigrant to Ontario? Reach out to our friendly and multilingual newcomer services team at Achēv and we’ll help you achieve your career and business goals. We have five Newcomer Information Centres across the Greater Toronto Area. We also offer our services virtually for newcomers who are outside of the Greater Toronto Area. Contact us today!