Help for the first-time entrepreneur

August, 2010 — With pragmatic advice for the would-be entrepreneur, the Aboriginal Business Planning Workbook 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, 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 covers 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 thinking that you are prepared to take the next step and create a proper business plan if you decide to proceed.

And no, I don’t advocate that anyone attempt to research, analyze, 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 use a PC at a local public library.

For some people, starting their own business and being their own boss is either 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.

About Market Metrics

Market Metrics Inc. helps knowledge-based businesses with strategy, planning and innovation. We offer our clients a unique combination of top-shelf professional skills, competitive pricing, and real-world industry experience in business planning, marketing, and technology.

The consultancy was founded in 2003 by Greg Graham, a seasoned strategic marketing professional. Greg is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), a Fellow of the Ontario Institute of Management Consultants (FCMC), and an Accredited Small Business Consultant (ASMEC) in the United States. He holds MBA/BEE degrees plus a Certificate in Strategic Management.

Prior to founding Market Metrics, Greg's 21 years of corporate experience encompassed tech start-ups through Fortune 500 companies. He is an expert in subscription-based business models (including SaaS). Greg frequently performs consulting engagements on behalf of the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).