Many people dream of owning their own small business, but are also unsure of how exactly to go about it. Building a small business is not difficult, but it can take a considerable amount of time and there are a number of key mistakes too many people make that keep them from getting their small business up and running. From finding clients to obtaining small business grants, here are 5 key steps to building your small business.

1. Start with your immediate circle

If you want to be a bookkeeper or accountant start keeping the books for a friend that already has their own small business or do the taxes of your friends, family and neighbours and charge them for it. From the very beginning, you want to make sure people see you as a serious business person, not just someone with a little hobby.

2. As your client list starts to grow, cut back on other work

You may have started building your business during a time of unemployment, but hopefully, you started where you were still employed somewhere else. If you started building your business when you were unemployed, the lure of a full-time job with full-time benefits can be tempting, but if you’ve started building a good base of clients, you are better off looking for a part-time job to supplement your burgeoning income. If you had a full-time job when you started building your business, you might want to start cutting back to part-time hours as your client list grows.

3. Start building inventory and capital

If you want to eventually run a small business, you’re probably going to need inventory, equipment and capital. This is the time to start building and gathering those things, before you become completely dependent on your small business to provide all of your income. Remember that most businesses don’t start generating revenue for roughly the first 5 years. If nothing else, you at least want to start building a nest egg for yourself to tide you over when you leave your full or part-time job.

4. Develop a business plan

Once you have started building a client list and are already doing some paying work, it’s time to start getting concrete about your big-picture plans and putting them in writing. Eventually, you will need others to invest in some way in your small business to help get it up and running as an actual business and not just a side gig.

5. Apply for small business grants

There are a number of small business grants Ontario available, and when you are ready to transition your business from being a part-time job to a full-time business, it’s time to start applying for them. To apply for small business grants, you will need that business plan and some capital in place to show that you are as invested in your business as you want someone else to be.