Youth Beyond Enterprises

A resource page for teen entrepreneurs.

The only way to know if entrepreneurship is the right path for you is to jump in feet first. If you flame out, so what as long as there are no lingering financial and physical effects. Dust yourself off and try it again. Yes, blogs like mine are great resource materials and are designed to be used as such, but you need to really experience the trials, tribulations and successess of being an entrepreneur in order to really get it.

One of the best ways in this area for High School students is an event coming up in two weeks known as Startup Weekend- Bay of Quinte Edition. This event is taking place from 02-04 June 2017 at Loyalist College, and is being run by QuinteVation and Startup Bay of Quinte.

It’s 2.5 jam-packed days of experiencing what it is truly like to live the life of a startup entrepreneur. You’ll see that: it’s messy, there’s non-stop chaos, you’ll want to quit multiple times, and, that it is among the most rewarding things you’ll ever get a chance to do. If you have been seriously considering starting a business, I encourage you to attend. I know I would be if my Cadet Squadron didn’t have our Annual Ceremonial Review and Spring Gliding that weekend!

If money is an issue (there is a $50.00 entrance fee), send me an email via the Contact Section. I will sponsor one lucky person to attend the event.

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Warning: this is my most personal post I’ve ever written, and may ever write again. This week isn’t about steps you should take to build the next great business, I’m going to get quite candid about my struggles with mental illness. I haven’t done an ounce of research like I normally do for my blogs to make sure I’m providing you (whomever you are) with the most current and relevant information. Heck, I haven’t even done an outline that’s been sitting in my Draft Blogs section waiting for the timing to be right.

Over the past 30 minutes it’s taken me to write those two sentences, I’ve jumped off this page 10 times and told myself “no one wants to see this on their newsfeed, they’ll think it’s a cry for attention”. But then I told myself that this needs to be written, because there are likely more people out there just like me who at times feel like they are all alone and no one else understands what they are going through and how they are feeling. I can tell you, that from the very bottom of my heart, that you are not alone.

My Story 

Being an entrepreneur (even a part-timer such as myself), it comes with some preconceived notions about who you are as a person. For the most part, they are completely true- you are strong, hardworking, highly motivated, loyal to a fault at times, and ridiculously imaginative/creative. Where it can be off-kilter is the notion that we always have it together every moment of the day and that we know what our exact next moves will be. If I had a buzzer right now, I’d be blaring it because for me, this is not the case. Yes, I plan for every day because I need to due to; having a full-time job, being a CIC Officer with a local Air Cadet Squadron, working a Saturday here and there for the local library, looking after family, and making sure that I’m writing on a regular basis, but I don’t necessarily have it together every moment of the day.

There have been many days where it gets to be too much for me, and I focus a little bit too much on what other people think of me and I need to take a step back or change directions before it completely engulfs me. In the past, I used to think I could just keep pushing through it, that if I could see it through to the other side, I’d be stronger. Was I ever wrong about that! I’d try to keep working at my desk (because most times these anxiety attacks would hit me at work), but the work I was doing would take twice as long to complete and more often then not, there would be tears and feeling like a crushing weight on my chest and I’d be feeling every emotion telling (ok, berating) myself to calm down. There were also times that I would feel absolutely nothing, almost dead inside because something had clicked off. People would see me, but they wouldn’t ask if I was ok, they’d talk to others about the fact that ” Rachael is crying again”.

Now I know myself better. I know that I can’t just keep working through it and hope it will disappear if I ignore it because that just exacerbates it. If I start to feel overwhelmed (the tears, the weight, the feeling of not having accomplished anything ever), I take a break. Even if it’s just to the bathroom to let the tears out, or to go see someone/something who is guaranteed to put a smile on my face. I always take a few minutes to remind myself of just how damn far I’ve come since I pretty well hit rock-bottom 5 years ago when I: survived an EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), dealt with regret from leaving a distinguished post-secondary institution that would have guaranteed me a job for the next 20 years, had a concussion from when I passed out as a result of said eating disorder, and had some regret over leaving the Basic Officer Training Course a few days in because it got to be too much too fast. One thing I remind myself of is that, during that time, I still managed to graduate from Loyalist College (to my knowledge, I was the first in my family at that point to do so) with a 4.0 GPA. I also now hold positions incredible organizations where I feel valued and that the work I do makes a difference.

Common signs of anxiety

For those of you who live with or know someone that is prone to anxiety, and for those of us who do struggle with it, but sometimes disregard a symptom as something else, here are the common signs of anxiety, courtesy of the Canadian Mental Health Association:

  1. Racing pulse, heart palpitations, possibly even chest pain;
  2. Shortness of breath, panting, dry mouth;
  3. Blushing;
  4. Nausea and/or vomiting;
  5. Trembling, shaking, muscle tension;
  6. Dizziness;
  7. Hot flashes and sweating, or chills;
  8. Difficulties with sleep, and;
  9. Inability to concentrate.

For more information, please visit: Understanding Anxiety Disorders- CMHA Toronto

Where to go to get help if you need it

If you, whomever or wherever you are, need to chat and don’t know where to turn, you can always send me an email via the Contact page. I also encourage (no, implore) you to reach out to a loved one or call a mental health crisis line. I’ve done both, so I can assure you that it does help and has saved me a few times. Here are some numbers and websites to keep handy:

  1. Kids Help Phone (for those 18 and under): www.kidshelphone.ca or 1-800-668-6868.
  2. Good2Talk (for those in post-secondary school): www.good2talk.ca or 1-866-925-5454.
  3. Mental Health Helpline: http://www.mentalhealthhelpline.ca/ or 1-866-531-2600.
  4. Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program: http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/caf-community-health-services/mental-health-resources.page or 1-800-268-7708.
  5. Open Line Open Mind (a.k.a. 310-OPEN, a part of Quinte Health Care): www.openlineopenmind.ca or 613-310-6736.
  6. If you can’t access these or live in an area without a mental health crisis centre, and you need help, talk to your doctor. If it’s an emergency, go to the nearest hospital. Please!

Helpful tips

As a proud member of the Canadian Forces, I came across this poster on my Facebook newsfeed, and I want to share it with you all.

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Let’s GET LOUD Youth Beyond Enterprises followers and readers of this post!

May 1-7 is Mental Health Week in Canada, a week that is aimed at ending the stigma surround mental health and making it so that people who deal with mental illness such as myself are not afraid to talk about their struggles and get the help they need. Except for my initial apprehension about writing this post, I am a very loud advocate for openly talking about my struggles and mental health in general.

Remember, I am here for you, and we’re all in this together.

Much love,

Rachael

 

 

 

When you are starting out as an entrepreneur and just getting your business venture off the ground, you will find that there is an almost over-abundance of people ready to critique you and your business. Heck, this happens even after you’ve been in business for 10 years or have launched 20 businesses! Cynical sounding, I know, but it’s true.

But wait!! I’m not being entirely cynical because to me, there are two different types of criticism, constructive (helpful) and destructive (harmful).

What’s the difference?

Constructive criticism is designed to be helpful and is based on valid facts/observations. It’s meant to help you & your business to grow and become stronger. It’s not always positive, but even negative criticism can help you to see things in a new light (i.e. a production method, or a pitch strategy). The critic is almost always giving it based on their personal & professional experience, and because they genuinely want to help out.

Constructive criticism is also:

  • Educational (or at least intended to be);
  • Related to the issue/task at hand;
  • Helps to build on or bolster an idea, and;
  • Is intended to better the person/business.

Destructive criticism is designed strictly to ridicule and cause harm. The critic’s aim is to destroy, belittle and embarrass. There is no upside or way to put a positive spin on what is said/written, because the critic absolutely does not have you or your business’ best interest. It is destructive criticism that gives people a fear of criticism in general and what gives it criticism itself a bad name.

Destructive criticism also:

  • Often makes a person feel like they themselves are being attacked;
  • Tears apart/down an idea;
  • Is often not well thought out and spouted out rapidly & randomly, and;
  • Is sometimes intended for the person to feel so miserable about themselves and/or their business that they give up, which gives the destroyer the chance to take over.

How should I respond to criticism?

The Muse, a contributor for Forbes Magazine, wraps it up in as neat a bow as I could, so here are their six ways to take criticism like a champion, with my comments beneath:

  1. Stop your first reaction.
    • Keep yourself (face, voice, and body language) neutral.
    • If your first reaction to criticism is to either burst into tears (me in my younger years) or to get mad, it can damage your reputation and constructive critics will be less likely to want to give you the criticism in the future for fear of you having the same reaction. Destructive critics will see it as a win because they really want to see if they can get a rise out of you.
  2. Remember how beneficial feedback is.
    • Feedback can only make you and your business stronger.
    • If it is constructive feedback, take what they have to say into deep consideration when making decisions about the topic/issue in question. If it is destructive feedback, take it and rise above it. Use it as a motivator to push yourself and prove that person wrong!
  3. Listen to understand (not just to respond).
    • Listen closely to what the person has to say, and allow them to finish full thoughts before responding. Take short notes if you want to make sure that you don’t miss anything (stick to bullet points or key words).
    • After they are done, paraphrase what they said to make sure that you fully understand what they are intending to say. This shows the constructive critic that you value what they have to say, and it might make the destructive critic think twice about what they have to say (in the event that it was said in the heat of the moment) and so they can see that you were fully listening.
  4. Thank them for their comments.
    • Show them that you value their comments (even if you don’t agree with them, which is OK) and that they took the time to come and talk to you about their observations.
  5. Ask questions to get a better understanding.
    • Now is the time to get some clarification on issues that were brought up to see how you can go about integrating their comments into making you and/or your business better, or if there is something that you need to address (i.e. a serious issue such as health and safety, customer service, workflow, etc).
    • Ask them for specific examples (i.e. I noticed that when you make this type of cupcake, the batter always tastes off, or I’ve noticed that when So-and-so is working, they are always on their phone or talking to their friends instead of paying customers).
    • Acknowledge and explain (but don’t get defensive about!) points that aren’t disputable (i.e. we’ve been experimenting with the types and brands of flour we use to see what gives us the consistency and density we want).
    • Ask if it these are isolated incidents or if they are repeated/have been noted by others.
    • Ask them for their ideas about how they would solve the issue.
  6. Ask for a chance to follow-up.
    • If it is a minor issue with a simple fix, there may no need for follow-up and a simple “thank-you” along with a rough game plan from which you plan to move forward is sufficient.
    • However, if it is a more severe or recurring issue, it is definitely acceptable to ask for an opportunity to meet again to get more clarification on the issue and to develop a more finite plan of attack.

That’s all for me this time! I hope you all have a great, refreshing and relaxing long Easter weekend!

On a side note, if you want to see some more young entrepreneurs such as yourselves (or such as young people you know if you are one of my older readers!) in action, head on over to www.makeyourpitch.com, which is an online competition that invites high school students in Ontario to pitch their business ideas in a two-minute video in a bid to secure coveted spots in the Summer Company program (which in turn gives them access to up to $3000.00 in startup capital and access to mentors/coaches). You can vote once a day for your favourites and voting ends on April 20th!

 

 

 

Mark Twain once said “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”

This is very, very, very true! Look at all of the companies that are now engrained in our everyday lives! Two of my favourite examples are McDonald’s and Tim Hortons. McDonald’s has poured millions (probably billions) of dollars into advertising their Egg McMuffin. A simple english muffin with egg, ham and cheese that you can also make at home, is the absolute best way to start your day and a healthy one at that. They’ve done such a good job at advertising this product that they pretty much don’t need to anymore, with the exception, I find, of the times of year that everyone is looking to make healthier food choices.

With Tim Hortons, they’re successful advertising has engrained them into the Canadian psyche and culture. Double-Doubles, Timbits and Iced Capps are pretty well synonymous with being Canadian, much like loving hockey and cheering for the underdogs. Go anywhere in the U.S. beyond the immediate border areas and order a Medium Double Double (my go-to standard) with a Canadian accent, and they look at you as if you are crazy. Trust me, I’ve done this in Delaware. Pay attention to Tim Hortons advertising next time you see one. Most times (except for Roll Up the Rim time), they aren’t overtly selling their product, their selling you an experience or they’re trying to evoke a memory (i.e. hockey arenas, family gatherings, road trips, catching up with friends, etc.) and showcasing how their products were or can be an integral part of that time.

These companies have spent millions, likely hundreds of millions, on attaining this type of success with their advertising (almost to the point where they really don’t need to do so anymore). But one thing to keep in mind is that these two massive international chains both started out just like you. When they launched, they likely didn’t have a lot of money to spend on advertising. In fact, I’m guessing that Tim Hortons had more money starting out to spend on advertising than McDonald’s (which originally started out as a BBQ restaurant owned by two brothers in 1940) because Tim Horton himself was already a fairly well-known member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

How’s a young(er) entrepreneur like yourself (and me) to advertise our products & services when we don’t have a lot of money? When most of us are starting out, one of the first things we do is create a social media page for our company, but we’ll save that for another post later on.  Let’s look at 5 other ways to advertise that costs little or no money! Caution: just because they’re cheap/free doesn’t mean that they will be easy!

  1. Craft an Elevator Pitch!
    • Advertise your product while advertising yourself.
    • People get their first impression on you in the first 6-8 seconds of talking to you.
    • Make an “elevator” pitch which is a short introduction to who you are, what you do and what product you have created.
    • This will help you understand who you are and what you want from a potential client.
    • For more information, see 1 Minute To Win It (The Elevator Pitch).
  2. Leverage Your Community!
    • Use the community you live in as an advantage.
      • Example: printing off bookmarks of your product and or service that you have created and leaving these in the local library and or book store.
    • Little, simple, and free ideas like this will help get your product and or service well-known throughout the community and ultimately help your company to grow.
  3. Collaborate!
    • Connect with small local businesses around your area, and while promoting your own business promote theirs as well, and have them promote yours.
    • This will bring in a new and larger demographic of clients, and really help get your business going and help to build a name for yourself.
  4. Network!
    • This is probably the biggest way to get your product and or service known.
    • To network you have to be willing to talk to everyone, shake hands of people you meet, and ultimately sell yourself and your company to them using that “elevator” speech we talked about earlier.
    • Networking will give people the real idea of who you are and how your business will benefit them.
    • For more information, see Networking- Not Just For Computers Anymore!
  5. Give It Away!
    • A big thing in business is knowing that sometimes you have to lose, or spend money in order to make money. I know I may have said differently in other posts, but this is the truth when it comes to advertising your product and service.
    • If someone has the opportunity to try your product or service before buying it, it will help influence their decision when they are actually ready to buy it.
    • Studies have shown that people buy products when they know they work, and know exactly what it does.

I hope this helps and good luck! Remember, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, drop me a line on through my contact page!

Rachael

 

There are four recognized types of businesses in Canada: sole proprietorships, partnerships (including general, limited, and limited liability partnerships), corporations, and co-operatives. Three of these you have definitely heard of (sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations), and one of which you’ve likely heard of but may have not associated with being a type of business (co-operatives). Whichever one you choose is based on your business needs and the type of business you are setting up.

This week, YBE will explore each of these types, including defining them, how you set one up, and laying out the pros & cons.

Sole Proprietorship

What is it?

According to the Canada Business Network (CBN) and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) (the people you and/or your parents pay your taxes to), a sole proprietorship is where you as the business owner are solely responsible for the business and its operations, even if you have employees or contractors.

There is no legal difference between you and your business. All profits that the business makes is yours to keep, and all losses incurred are yours as well. At the same time, if the business gets into any legal issues (i.e. with creditors or client lawsuits), they can go after your personal and business assets.

How do I start one?

  1. Register & determine the availability of your desired business name (see Registering Your Business and Its Name in Canada for more info).
  2. Register for the necessary permits, licenses and taxes your business needs (varies by province and municipality).
  3. Open up a separate bank account for your business transactions (including separate business cheques, debit card and credit card).
  4. Start operating your business!

What are the pro’s to having one?

  1. Relatively easy and inexpensive to establish.
  2. Filing business income (your profits and/or drawings) is done on one line of your personal income tax return.
  3. If your business doesn’t do so well, it lowers your overall personal income, which in turn puts you into a lower tax bracket.
  4. All decisions are made you and you alone.
  5. Depending on the type of business you will be running, the startup capital may be minimal.

What are the con’s to having one?

  1. By law, your business is just an extension of yourself, which means that you are personally on the hook if things go south.
  2. The income you earn is considered taxable income, so if the business has high profits, this could push you into a higher tax bracket.
  3. All of the decision-making rests on you, and you will often be wearing every “hat” (i.e product development, accounting, marketing, sales, custodial, etc.), which can be daunting and exhausting.
  4. If you are suddenly unavailable (i.e. sick or away) or otherwise incapacitated, your business cannot continue without you.
  5. It can be difficult to attract potential investors if it is only you and no other backers/people with vested interests.

Partnership

What is it?

According to the Canada Business Network (CBN) and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), A partnership is a non-incorporated business that is created between two or more people.

In a partnership, your financial resources and those of your partner(s) are combined, and then invested into the business. How you split the investment, profits, decision-making and ownership is dependant on the legal agreement that is recommended to be in place.

There are three different types of partnerships: General Partnerships (each partner is equal in sharing profits and liabilities); Limited Partnerships (where a person can invest/contribute to the business, but they are only liable to the business and creditors for the amount that they invest and are not involved with the day-to-day management), and; Limited Liability Partnerships (In Canada, a limited liability partnership is only available to specific groups of professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, and doctors, and these agreements are governed by specific provincial laws).

How do I start one?

  1. Register & determine the availability of your desired business name (see Registering Your Business and Its Name in Canada for more info).
  2. Register for the necessary permits, licenses and taxes your business needs (varies by province and municipality).
  3. Complete a partnership agreement (I very much advise this).
    • This agreement includes, at a minimum: the business name & description, the effective date of the agreement, the names/addresses of all partners/involved parties, the duties and responsibilities of each partner, the extent to which each partner will be involved in the business, how the partners will make business decisions, and how/when the partnership can be dissolved.
    • Other items that can be discussed in the agreement include (but are not limited to): capital contributions required by partners, the method of profit distribution, ownership of partnership assets, transfers of partner interests, admission of new partners, bankruptcy, incapacitation or death of a partner, insurance, dispute resolution, confidentiality, accounting methods and partnership records, banking arrangements, signing authority for cheques, leases, other documents, and auditor or accountant of partnership.
  4. Open up a separate bank account for your business transactions (including separate business cheques, debit card and credit card).
    • Make sure that you get all of the business’ signing authorities to sign off on and approve the opening of this account and all of its transactions to make ensure accountability.
  5. Start operating your business!

What are the pro’s to having one?

  1. It is fairly inexpensive and easy to establish a partnership.
  2. A partnership can sign contracts and borrow money, which can lessen a bit of the liability placed on the individual partners.
  3. Start-up costs are incurred by multiple people, which eases the individual burden.
  4. Equal share in management responsibilities, profits, and assets.
  5. If profit is low or if there is a loss, then that can lead to lower net incomes to report on you and your partners tax returns.

What are the con’s to having one?

  1. By law, your business is just an extension of yourself and your partners, which means that you are personally on the hook if things go south.
  2. Depending on the type of partnership, and what is laid out in the agreement, there is still unlimited liability (which means that creditors can still come after your personal assets to pay off debts).
  3. Finding a suitable partner can be sometimes difficult.
  4. There is the potential for conflict between partners (which is why it is crucial to discuss this in the agreement).
  5. Depending on the partnership, you are still on the hook for any and all decisions made by your partners (i.e. broken contracts, bad debts, etc.).

Corporations

What is it?

A corporation (which can be created at either the federal or provincial level), is a legal entity that is separate from its shareholders (yourself and other investors). As a legal entity, it is responsibly for bearing the responsibility for its debts, obligations, and actions.

How do I start one?

  1. Select a Corporate Jurisdiction, which will determine if you will operate in a specific province (register with that province) or nationally (register with the federal government).
  2. Select a Corporate Name and determine its availability.
    • Check with your Corporate Jurisdiction on regulations for choosing a name. In general, they need to be different from that of already existing businesses and trademarks, can be in one language or officially bilingual (English and French), and end with a legal element of either Limited (Ltd.), Incorporated (Inc.), Corporation (Corp.), Limitée (Ltée.), or Incorporée (Inc.)
  3. Complete the Articles of Incorporation and file/register it with the appropriate government agency.
  4. Purchase a Corporate Seal and Minute Book, which involved keeping certain corporate records (i.e. the Articles of Incorporation, all corporate bylaws, shareholder meeting minutes, directors meeting minutes, resolutions from each, a list of the directors, a list of securities, transfer agreement registries, shareholder agreements, and all forms filed with the government).
  5. Complete, establish and publish By-Laws, organizational minutes, and issue shares.
  6. Obtain all other necessary permits and licences needed to operate the business.
  7. Open up a separate bank account for the corporation’s transactions (including separate cheques, debit card and credit card).
    • Make sure that you get all of the business’ signing authorities to sign off on and approve the opening of this account and all of its transactions to make ensure accountability.
  8. Start operating your business!

What are the pro’s to having one?

  1.  Limited liability for shareholders (which is you and the other people you are working with).
  2. It is a completely separate legal entity.
  3. Ownership is transferable, so a corporation can exist long after the original shareholders have either moved on, become incapacitated or died.
  4. It is easier to raise capital as a corporation, as there are more signs of longevity and stability.
  5. Taxes may be lower for an incorporated business, and you only claim the wages/salary drawn and income from shares on your personal income tax.

What are the con’s to having one?

  1. Very highly regulated.
  2. It is incredibly expensive to set up and register.
  3. There is a legal requirement for an extensive amount of corporate records, many of which need to be documented and filed annually with the government.
  4. There may be a need to prove the validity/existence of bona-fide directors to ensure that they are not mere placeholders.
  5. There is the possibility of conflict between shareholders (part owners) and directors (those that make the decisions on behalf of the corporation).

Co-operative

What is it?

A Co-operative is owned and controlled by its members. There is no distinction between a director and a shareholder, as they are one and the same. It can established as a non-profit or for-profit organization, depending on the desire of the members. This is the least common type of business in Canada, although sometimes different individuals and/or businesses can come together to pool their resources and provide easier access to their common needs (i.e. delivery and sales of products and/or services).

How do I start one?

  1. Assemble a group of interested people and identify the need of the co-op.
    • Needs can include: instability of work, unavailability of certain products and services, and better working conditions through shared enterprise.
  2. Identify what professional help is needed to launch (i.e. a co-operative developer, feasibility consultant, expert advisors, financial and legal consultants, etc.).
  3.  Conduct a pre-feasibility study.
  4. Hold an organizing meeting.
  5. Conduct a viability study.
  6. Organize the association.
  7. Plan out the operation of the enterprise.
  8. Plan and organize startup financing and cover all bases of the legal aspects of the enterprises operations.
  9. Recruit and train staff.
  10. Hold the first General Meeting with the members.

What are the pro’s to having one?

  1. It is owned and controlled by the members.
  2. All members have an equal share and all decisions are made democratically.
  3. There is limited liability for the members against the enterprises debts, obligations, and actions.
  4. Profit generated by the Co-operative is evenly distributed amongst its members.
  5. Being in a Co-operative can mean improved market access for the individuals and/or businesses involved.

What are the con’s to having one?

  1. Because all decisions need to be made by all members, the decision-making process can be drawn out and lengthy.
  2. All members must participate in order for the enterprise to succeed, which can be difficult if some only participate half-heartedly.
  3. There is the potential for conflict between members.
  4. Same as a corporation, there is a need for extensive record-keeping, as there is a need for all members to be kept abreast of all of the goings-on, finances, and legal obligations that the Co-operative is faced with.
  5. Due to the equal profit-sharing, there is less incentive for members to make additional capital or non-financial investments than their colleagues.

It is important to note that it is possible for businesses to change their type over the course of its existence (always consult with a lawyer who specializes in this area before making this decision). Many large corporations nowadays have their roots in sole proprietorship and partnerships, including: Apple (which has been all of the common three during its existence, which started with Steve Wozniak building his first computer), Amazon (started by Jeff Bezos in his garage), and Google (which started out as a partnership between Larry Page and Sergey Brin).

I hope this helps you with deciding what type of business you will have, and has given you some insight into how your business can adapt and evolve over the years from one type to the next if you so desire! I know it’s got the wheels turning about in my head for sure!

 

Having a great mentor at any stage of the game when you are an entrepreneur is, in my opinion, absolutely crucial. It’s important when you are starting up, it’s important when you are thinking of adding a product/service, and it’s even important when you decide to either close up shop or sell. To be bold, having a mentor just might be the difference between sinking and swimming in business. This is because quite often (9.99/10), they’ve been exactly where you are now and have tonnes of information/experience that they are willing to pass on to the right person.

What is a Mentor? 

According to Futurpreneur.ca, mentors provide business advice, as well as support and encouragement, to help young entrepreneurs remain focused on what is important for the success of their business. 

GoMentor (a solely Canadian site designed to pairing together mentors and mentored) has a similar, but more in-depth definition of what a mentoring relationship is. According to them, a mentoring relationship is “an open, supportive relationship, based on trust and mutual respect. Through this special relationship, a person with a wealth of experience (the mentor) wishes to make their experience and knowledge available to another person (the mentored entrepreneur) to guide them in their personal and professional development as an entrepreneur“.

The Benefits of Having a Mentor.

  1. They can provide you with advice & a different perspective for looking at different aspects of your business (i.e. marketing, office layout, pricing models, etc.).
    •  Entrepreneurship can’t all be learned from reading a book or article. The vast majority of it (98.99%) is learned from just getting out there and doing it.
    • They’ve been where you are now, so they can pass along some tips and tricks that they used to help them when they needed to make a decision or clear a hurdle.
  2. They are a great person to vent to when you need to let off some steam about the business.
    • There will be days, weeks, maybe even months when you consider throwing in the towel because of one reason or another. A marketing campaign might not be generating as much revenue as anticipated, or maybe your starting to doubt your own abilities as an entrepreneur.
    • Again, your mentor has likely felt the exact same way before, often many times over! It’s quite cathartic to open up to someone who has your and your business’ best interest.
  3. They offer multiple opportunities for networking.
    • Mentors often have incredibly vast networks themselves of people that they can reach out to on your behalf as needed.
    • If you need help with something (i.e. patents, bookkeeping, marketing, etc.) or want to make a connection with someone (i.e. the owner of a store you want to display your wares in or a possible angel investor), just ask your mentor if they know them or know someone who does! They already have a vested interest in your success, and it helps to have a mutual connection already in place.
  4. Mentors help boost your confidence through encouragement.
    • When your faced with hard times and difficult decisions, it can be really taxing and take an incredible toll on your mental health. Mentors are a great source of encouragement and confidence boosting as they can empathize with you because they too have experienced the highs and lows.
    • They themselves have likely grappled with mental health issues that come from bearing an extreme amount of stress and self-doubt for extended periods. Because they know you on a personal level too, they know the right words and actions to use to help lift your spirits up again.
  5. A mentoring relationship can end up turning into a long-lasting friendship.
    • Sometimes a mentoring relationship only lasts for a short-period, depending on the arrangement between the mentor and mentored.
    • In some instances, though, you can really hit it off and create a strong bond that lasts for years and multiple collaborations. This can really help your business to succeed because of the consistency and access to resources that this brings about.

How to Find a Mentor.

  1. Determine what it is that you are looking for in mentor.
    • What is that you hope to achieve with a mentor.
    • Are you looking for someone to help with setting and achieving goals? How about someone that can offer guidance on specific areas of your business? Are you looking for someone you can seek advice in general from as another entrepreneur?
  2. Look around your inner circle, but think outside of the box too.
    • Start by looking at family members and friends who are working on or for similar businesses or industries. This will help the relationship flourish much more quickly because they already have a vested interest in helping you be successful on a personal level.
    • Use your network to put it out there that you are looking for someone to mentor you. A positive word about you to a potential mentor through a mutual connection can do wonders! In this case, don’t make the decision about who to have as a mentor lightly. You want to establish a rapport and relationship with them before you ask them to make such a big commitment and attach their name to you and your business.
  3. Send them an invite to meet.
    • Once you’ve found someone you think you would like to have as a mentor, reach out to them! Find out the best way to contact them (most often phone or email), and send them an introduction to you and your business with an invite to meet to discuss things further. You might also want to include why it is that you decided to reach out to them (i.e. reputation, mutual friend’s recommendation, expertise, etc.).
    • Even if you don’t think they’ll accept (i.e. too busy, too sought-after, etc.), send an invite anyways. You never know!
  4. Be clear on your expectations for the mentoring relationship.
    • Make sure that your (potential) mentor is clear on what you are looking to get out of the relationship.
    • This way, they can determine if they are the right person for you, and if they have the time/expertise to really be of benefit to you. If it’s the case that they don’t think they would be the right fit, thank them and ask if they know of anyone they can recommend. Also, ask if you can keep the lines of communication open if you have any questions.
  5. Clearly define the parameters of your mentoring relationship.
    • How will you communicate (i.e. by phone, email, in-person)?
    • How often will you meet (i.e. weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, sporadically)?
    • Will the meetings be formal (with an agenda) or informal (with loose sets of questions or concerns)?
    • Will there be a set timeline for the relationship (i.e. 6-months, until you reach X-number of dollars in revenue, etc.) or will it be fluid with no end-date?

Honestly, I don’t know where I would be right now with Youth Beyond Enterprises if it weren’t for my mentors Ilona, Chantal, Bob, Wendy, and so many more! They helped me to fully conceptualize it, gave me advice based on what they’ve experienced in their lives,, helped me to fully think things through when I was working out how the pivot to online would work, and are just in general there if I have any question or need to vent!

Without them, I truly don’t think I would have had the courage to continue on. I don’t think I’ve ever thanked them fully for the support they’ve given me, so I’ll say it here publicly: THANK-YOU!!!

 

 

Some of the most frequent questions I get asked, both wearing my YBE hat and not, are:

  • How do I get a business license?
  • How do I apply for a patent?
  • How do I register a trademark?

Let’s take a look! Because I know that some of you are operating your businesses in different parts of Canada, I will go through how it is to be done properly and legally in every province and territory, with a focus on sole proprietorships and partnerships. For those looking for information on Trademarks and Patents, I’ve listed the most important pages on the Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s website.

For those following along from outside of Canada, I encourage you to consult your local government authorities for more information.

NOTE: If you are under the age of 18, you will need a parent to assist you and possibly sign-off on any documents. In some provinces & territories, businesses can only be registered to someone over their age of majority (which varies province to province and territory).

Registering a Business Name (Obtaining a Master Business License)

Ontario

Main source: Business Name Registration- Government of Ontario

  1. Gather all required documents and information (including email address and applicable payment method);
  2. Decide how you will be registering, as this will be a determining factor in costs and speed.
  3. If you are unsure if a business with the same or similar name is already operating in Ontario, you can conduct an Enhanced Business Name Search, which can only be done online.
  4. If registering online, go to OBC Integrated Business Services Application. The cost will be approximately $60.00, payable by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) only.
  5. If in person, you have one option, and that is to visit the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services in Toronto (full address found on main source page). The cost will be approximately $80.00, payable by cash, debit, credit card (Visa or MasterCard), cheque, or money order.
  6. If by mail, select the type of business to get the form that you need to fill out: Sole Proprietorship/Partnership or Corporation. Once it is filled out, it needs to be sent to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (full address found on main source page). The cost will be approximately $80.00, payable by cheque or money order only.

Alberta

Main sources: How to Apply for a Business Name- Government of Alberta and How to Register, Change or Cancel a Business Name- Government of Alberta

  1. Determine the type of business name that you will be registering: a trade name (sole proprietorship), partnership, limited partnership or limited liability partnership. See How it Works for more information on what each entails.
  2. Choose your business name.
  3. Obtain a Business Name Report (not mandatory, but highly recommended to lessen the chances of any legal trouble). To generate this report, you need to contact an authorized NUANS (Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search) member.
  4. Complete the required paperwork. All PDFs are found on the How to Apply page.
  5. Take all of the necessary information (business name information, Business Name Report if obtained, identification, and fee payment) to an Authorized Corporate Registry service provider.

British Columbia

Main source: Registering Proprietorships and Partnerships- Government of British Columbia

  1. Request a business name. You need to search the name choice database to see if your desired name is still available, and then submit a name approval request. This can be done online, in person at a Service BC location using a Name Approval Request Form, or by mailing the same completed form (full address found on main source page).
  2. Register your business. You need to complete the appropriate form for your type of business, Statement of Registration Sole Proprietorship or Statement of Registration General Partnership. You can submit the registration paperwork either online, in person at a Service BC location, or by mail (full address found on main source page).

Manitoba

Main source: Instructions for Registering a Business Name- Government of Manitoba

  1. Reserve your business name to determine if it is available. This can be done either online, in person (full address at the bottom of the main source page) or by mail (contact the Companies Office for full mailing address).
  2. Register your business.  You will need to complete and submit a Registration of a Business Name form to the Companies Office either in person or by mail .

New Brunswick

Main source: Register/Renewal of a Business Name- Government of New Brunswick

  1. Determine the type of business name that you will be registering.
  2. Register your business. This can be done online, or by downloading the  Certificate of Business Name form and mailing it to the Corporate Registry Operations (Unit) (full address found on main source page).

Newfoundland and Labrador

Main source: Registry of Companies- Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

  1. Currently there is no legislation at this time in Newfoundland governing the registration of business names, sole proprietorships or partnerships.

Nova Scotia

Main source: Ready to Register My Business- Government of Nova Scoti

  1. Reserve your business name. This can be done either online, in person at any Access Nova Scotia location, or by mail (full address found on main source page).
  2. Register your business name with the Registry of Joint Stock Companies (mandatory). This is done either online, in person at any Access Nova Scotia location, or by mail (full address found on main source page).

Northwest Territories

Main source: Business Registrations- Government of the Northwest Territories

  1. Important note: you must register your business name within 60 days of commencing operations.
  2. If you wish, you can do a search of business names and partnerships using the Corporate Registries Online Search system.
  3. Register your business name via mail or in person to the Corporate Registries office (full address found on main source page). You must fill out the following forms in duplicate: Declaration of Use of a Business Name (Sole Proprietorship) or Declaration of Partnership. If submitting by mail, fees can be paid credit card (Visa or MasterCard), cheque, or money order. If submitting in person, fees can be paid by cash or debit in addition to the options listed above.

Nunavut

Main source: Registering a Business for the First Time- Government of Nunavut

  1. Register your business name. If a sole proprietorship, complete the Declaration of a Business Name and if it is a partnership, complete the Declaration of a Partnership
  2. Register your business with the government on an annual basis. Print and complete the application form, attach copies of any required supporting documents (varies depending on business), sign it, and either mail or drop off the completed package to either NNI Headquarters or your regional NNI Office.

Prince Edward Island

Main source: Business Name Registration- Government of Prince Edward Island

  1. If so desired, conduct a business name search on the Corporate/Business Names Registry
  2. Register your business name. If it is a sole proprietorship, complete the Declaration for the Registration of a Business Name and if it is a partnership, complete the Declaration of Registration of a Business Name (Partnership). Based on my research, these forms must be filled out, printed, signed and mailed/dropped off to the Consumer, Corporate and Financial Services Division of the Department of Justice and Public Safety (full address found on main source page).

Québec

Main source: Register an Enterprise- Government of Quebec

  1. To register your business, you must do so online. For a sole proprietorship, you must go to Produire la déclaration d’immatriculation d’une personne physique. For a partnership, you must go to Produire la déclaration d’immatriculation d’une société de personnes.
  2. Register your business with Revenu Québec for one or more of their file. For more information, see Registering for the Main Revenu Québec Files.

Saskatchewan

Main source: Register a Business- Government of Saskatchewan

  1. Choose your business type. For more information, see  Choose a Business Type.
  2. Register your business name using the Corporate Registry Customer Portal.
  3. To register your business, gather all required documents and login to Corporate Registry Customer Portal. For more information on all of the required documents you need, see Register a Sole Proprietorship or Register a Partnership.

Yukon 

Main source: Partnership and Business Names- Government of Yukon

  1. To apply for a business name, complete, print, sign and submit the Application for Name Reservation. This can be either mailed or dropped off to the Department of Community Services (full address found on main source page).
  2. To register your business name, complete, print, sign and submit the Declaration of Business Name. If you will be in a partnership, you also need to complete, print, sign and submit the Declaration of Partnership. These can both be either mailed or dropped off to the Department of Community Services (full address found on main source page).

Applying for a Patent

A Guide to Patents- Canadian Intellectual Property Office

This page details absolutely everything you need to know about applying for a Patent in Canada. It outlines everything from what exactly a patent is and why they are valuable, to how to prepare your application (including format), and all the way up to information about how to market the fact that your product/service has been patented.

Registering a Trademark

A Guide to Trademarks- Canadian Intellectual Property Office

This page details absolutely everything you need to know about registering Trademarks in Canada. It outlines everything from what exactly a trademark is, to how to file your application, and all the way up to monitoring your trademark to make sure no one is using it without your knowledge or consent.