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Small Business > Resource Center > Business Tips > Tips 16-18

Tips 16-18

Tip #16: Start a business with fewer startup issues

So you love the idea of running your own business, but you don't want to build a business from scratch? Here's a thought - consider franchising.

Business right out of the box

With a franchise, you buy the right to run a business under a proven brand by paying an upfront franchise fee and ongoing royalties. You may be required to buy materials and supplies from the franchisor or designated suppliers. There will be other obligations as well, which will be described in detail in your franchise agreement.

In exchange, you typically get exclusive rights to a geographic area and you'll receive ongoing support and training while your learning the ropes of your new business. This helps you avoid some of the risks of building a business from scratch.

Be an informed buyer

You can learn about franchise opportunities through online sources, industry publications, and franchise shows in major cities across Canada. And be sure to contact current franchisees to make sure they're satisfied with the system they joined.

Count on RBC for help

Financial products and services from RBC are the leading choice in Canada for franchisees. Contact an RBC franchise specialist as part of your investigation of any franchise opportunity, or visit www.rbcroyalbank.com/franchise to find out more about how RBC can help you get your business up and running.

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Tip #17: Get a competitive advantage with a competitive review

Want to get ahead of your competition? Start by doing a competitive review to assess their strengths and weaknesses using these techniques:

SWOT analysis

Identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This type of analysis is an excellent entry point into the growth planning process. It's fast, inexpensive, gathers input from your entire team and helps to define your vision of success.

Competitor profiling

Create detailed profiles of each of your major competitors. Use public sources to gather in-depth descriptions of their backgrounds, finances, products, markets, facilities, personnel, and strategies.

Media scanning1

Reading your competitors' ads can tell you a lot about your market segment, including:

  • New product offerings
  • New business branding and market positioning strategies
  • Marketing budgets, media selection and much more.

1) Source: Wikipedia

Other information sources

From trade shows and patent filings to mutual customers, annual reports, and trade associations, there are a multitude of avenues where you can seek competitive data.

Remember, though, research is an ongoing process - your competition is always looking for an advantage, and so should you.

 Learn more

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Tip #18: Assembling your support team

Building a network of people who can give you advice is like having a "virtual team" to back you up.

Building a network using current contacts.

If your new business is in the industry in which you were previously employed, you probably already know key players and customers whose opinions you respect. Talk to them, then ask whether you can call periodically to get their reactions to your progress.

Building a network from scratch

If you are entering a sector that's new to you, try to talk to people who can provide you with market intelligence, contacts and ongoing feedback, including:

  • People in similar businesses
  • Potential clients

Join industry associations, and attend conferences and events, that provide networking opportunities.

Professional advisors

Getting advice from professionals early in your business start-up process can help you avoid common pitfalls and get up and running that much faster.

It doesn't have to be expensive; an RBC small business advisor will give advice for free, and first consultations are often free for other professionals as well.

If you don't have a banker, lawyer, accountant or management consultant, ask friends and business colleagues for referrals.

Look for the right "fit" with the professionals you speak with to ensure they are knowledgeable about your industry and small business.

What specific needs can professionals help you with?

 Learn more

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The content provided here is for informational purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors when implementing any strategy to ensure your individual circumstances are properly considered and that your actions are based on the latest available information.

 

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