Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have any grants? Are there any grants available to women starting a business?
Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan does not provide grants. While there has been a great reduction in the number of grants available to general business start-up over the past 10 years, there are limited monies available. Most of these programs are federally funded and are targeted strictly to specific industries, geographical areas, or particular groups of entrepreneurs (minority groups, etc.).
Do I have to put my own money into the business and how much?
Monies required to get your business started can come from a number of different sources. You may be able to get financing through a bank loan, government loan or grant, personal investors, or even from friends and family. Ultimately, the more you have personally invested in the business, the more you are committed to make that business work, and the more likely other investors or lenders are to support your business venture. A rule of thumb is 20%.
Do I have to be a W.E. member to access your services?
Yes. We have two different memberships available - Full ($100.00 plus GST) or an Associate membership ($50.00 plus GST). Both of these memberships give you unlimited access to our business advisory services to help you start, expand and succeed in business. These memberships also offer other benefits, including discounts on training seminars, use of client resources, networking and mentoring opportunities, and access to our lending program.
Do I need a business plan?
A sound business plan is one of the most important steps an entrepreneur can take to improve their chance of business success. It is your chance to test your idea on paper to see if it is a viable opportunity.
A business plan:
- helps you to become a better decision maker;
- helps you anticipate problems so you can develop possible solutions before a crisis actually
- provides a timetable for accomplishing your stated objectives;
- expands business options;
- helps determine contingency plans;
- helps you explain why certain objectives have or haven't been achieved;
- can be used as a selling tool to attract resources and support; and
- plots a long term course and keeps you focused on the big picture
Can someone write my business plan?
Writing a business plan will take time, discipline and a lot of research. W.E. will not write your plan for you and although you can hire someone to write your plan for you, it is vital you participate in the entire process - after all, this is your business. Knowledge is power and the more you know about your business, the greater your chance of success.
How long does it take to get a loan from W.E.?
The length of time it takes to get a loan from W.E. depends on whether you have completed your business plan. The more prepared you are, the less time the process will take. The first step is to meet with a business advisor who can assist you in completing your business plan. Once your plan is finalized, a loan application is completed and a review and recommendation takes place. On average, this process can take approximately 2 weeks
Should I incorporate?
The three most common business structures are: sole proprietorship, partnership and corporation. Corporations are closely regulated separate legal entities. The advantages of incorporation include limited liability, possible tax advantages, ease of raising capital, and transferable ownership. These advantages are off set by higher start-up costs, possible charter restrictions, yearly reporting and extensive record keeping requirements. It is highly recommended you obtain legal and professional advice before you decide if incorporation is right for you.
Do I need a GST/PST number?
If your gross revenues over a 12 month period do not exceed $30,000, GST registration is optional. However, the decision to register for GST should not be based solely on revenues. Your customers may require you have a GST number to do business. Your local Revenue Canada office can help you determine if you should apply for a GST number.
If you sell tangible goods, or operate as a contractor selling your services, you may be required to obtain a PST number. Contact the Saskatchewan Ministry of Finance at 1-800-667-6102 for more information.
I want to start a business, what do I do?
The following steps will help you get started. (Note: The number of steps may vary depending on the nature of the business you want to start.) They do not necessarily have to be followed in the order they appear.
Develop an idea you would like to investigate.
Research your business idea. Conduct a feasibility study to determine whether or not this idea could turn into a viable business.
Find out if there are any regulations which could prevent you from starting this business or hamper your success.
Do a skills and lifestyle audit. Is this the right time to start the business or do you need to upgrade some of your skills before you get going?
Write a business plan. Talk to a lawyer and accountant about protecting yourself and your assets.
If you decide to go into business, decide on the most appropriate structure. Register your name if necessary.
Identify a business location. Open your business bank account and arrange financing.
Organize your office, your accounting, filing and your client contact systems.
Develop promotional tools to set yourself up for effective selling.
Enjoy the experience!
Do you have any business ideas I could use?
Identifying a good business opportunity is an ongoing process and requires considerable thought and research. Business opportunities can be identified through a number of sources including your workplace, magazines and newspapers, tradeshows and the internet. A sound understanding of consumer trends and lifestyles may also lead to innovative business ideas.