Start-ups know what it means to hustle. Working around the clock, worrying about money, trying to figure out your legal responsibilities and wondering how to grow your business as quickly as possible. The life of a start-up! To help make things easier, we’ve curated a collection of tips and information.
A study by BDC shows that 30% of Canadian small and medium enterprises have a marketing budget of less than $5,000 per year. For start-ups wondering what is a reasonable marketing budget, this study establishes a benchmark. However, that doesn’t mean you need to budget the same amount. Rather than aim for a random figure, you should run the numbers and determine what you can comfortably afford. Every business scenario is different. Many marketers will tell you that what matters most is how you use the budget you have. If you don’t have the marketing chops you need to boost a start-up’s exposure quickly, look at resources and your options for marketing help.
When you do delve into marketing, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Try different platforms – starting with the ones where your target audience are spending the most time.
Set goals! Without clear goals and metrics to track progress and success, you are less likely to generate the outcomes you need. Figure out what you need in terms of customers or revenue and reverse engineer from there to determine what it will take to reach your goals.
Define your target audience. To maximize every marketing dollar you have, it’s important to understand your audience and craft your messaging to speak to their pain points. When you know who your ideal audience is, you know where to reach them, when to reach them and how to talk to them!
Determine where your business will operate. If you are only operating in one province, you only need to worry about registering the company name there. If you are operating in all of Canada or even internationally, that changes things.
Talk to a lawyer to determine if you need to incorporate your business or if a proprietorship, partnership or limited partnership is best for you. Additionally you will want to talk to a lawyer about ownership of shares and have them draw up a shareholders agreement, and likely a partnership agreement too.
Intellectual Property is a big concern for start-ups. You need to ensure your IP is protected. A lawyer can help you determine what you need and help you get it done.
Start-ups typically invest in protecting their company by having a lawyer draw up an NDA and employee and contractor agreements. Protecting yourself with these agreements helps you avoid costly litigation down the road.
The last tidbit for start-ups that we want to share is, make sure you see a business lawyer. While you may know someone who practices another area of the law, you aren’t saving anything if you end up with problems down the road due to gaps in their knowledge. Business lawyers are experienced in navigating all of the various detailed aspects of protecting a start-up.
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