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Help for the first-time entrepreneur

With pragmatic advice for the would-be entrepreneur, case [1] the “Aboriginal Business Planning Workbook [2]”  provides a realistic approach to figuring out if running your own business is really for you.

The workbook is one of a series of business guides developed by Alberta Aboriginal Business Services in conjunction with The Business Link, buy [3] a not-for-profit organization supported by the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta that provides information and advice to Alberta’s small business community.

A big part of the reason that I recommend this guide is because it targets people who haven’t started businesses before and may not know how to go about it. Making the shift from being an employee to entrepreneur is a major life decision. This is one of few resources that I have seen that addresses this issue, with sections on how to find and quickly assess business ideas, make a preliminary decision to proceed further, and review the skills that you’ll need to run your own business -– before investing a significant amount of time and money in a complete business plan and other start-up activities. This helps take the emotion out of the decision to start a new venture, and puts it on a rational basis.

The workbook covers essential topics such as determining what resources you’ll need to start up and how much revenue your business will need to generate in order to support you. It also includes an introduction to other basics such as researching your industry and competition.

The workbook format can be printed out and completed with pen and paper, so you don’t even need a PC. Blank areas for your thoughts are included and you could always use additional pages if required. One downside is that you don’t get a nicely-formatted business plan document when you’re done. But you will have done enough of the preliminary thinking that you are prepared to take the next step and create a proper business plan if you elect to proceed.

And no, I don’t advocate that anyone attempt to research, analyse, write, and format a business plan without the use of a PC and a high-speed Internet connection. If you don’t have this essential tool, see if you can book time on a PC at a local public library.

For some people, starting their own business and being their own boss is a dream, or a way to turn a hobby into an income. For others it may be an economic necessity. Regardless of your motivation, the Aboriginal Business Planning Workshop offers a way to consider the reality of starting your own business before taking the plunge.