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Resources for Young Entrepreneurs

Expert: Julie King

Christopher asked:

I am a 21 year old, in Calgary, Alberta, with an interest in starting a business. My business idea is printing business cards, flyers, t-shirts, reviewing resumes...etc. I am having a hard time narrowing my focus. I have been searching online and can't seem to find a specific guide on "A-Z For a Young Entrepeneur". Can you help?

Julie King answered:

I started my first business as a young entrepreneur, and was 27 when we started working on the CanadaOne(TM) site. So I understand your question, and some of the concerns you likely have.

There are some excellent resources on starting a business, and you are wise to be concerned about narrowing your focus. While the resources are online, they are not - as you pointed out - in a concise guide. It's something we hope to put together on CanadaOne in the coming months, as we have over 700 articles on our site, but it is a big job that will take some time.

So, with that in mind, here's what I'd recommend:

  1. Drop by your local library, and look for a good starting a business book or two. A few that I found particularly useful include:

    The Rhythm of Business, by Jeffrey C. Shuman with David Rottenberg (review)

    The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael E. Gerber
    ISBN# 0-88730-728-0

    Failproof your Business, by Dr. Paul Adams (review)

    Building a Dream: A comprehensive guide to starting a business of your own, by Walter S. Good
    ISBN# 0-07-560769-7

  2. Locate and visit a local business centre
    In Calgary there should be a handful of centres with programs to help entrepreneurs understand the basics of starting a business. The programs are normally free for new entrepreneurs. Here is one place that I know of:
    Calgary Business Information Centre

    Qualifying start-up entrepreneurs can often apply for the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEA), where there is a weekly allowance of about $200. Most SEA programs require that the applicant be in receipt of EI or welfare benefits, but there are sometimes special programs open to youth in general. You can find out about these SEA and youth programs from your local HRDC office.

  3. You should also be able to get help by calling this free business support line:
    The Business Link Business Service Centre

  4. There are many helpful articles on CanadaOne as well. Try using our site search engine (on the homepage, and on other pages throughout the site) to find articles on marketing and targeting your market - we have a bunch on the topic. For example, use a search phrase like: marketing focus target.

  5. Here are some particularly useful links for new businesses from our archives:

    Starting a Business Guide

    Writing a Business Plan

    Marketing & PR Checklist

    Ask-an-expert Marketing 101

I hope these starting points and suggestions are of some use. If you decide to start your own business I wish you great success!

About the author

Julie King is the co-founder and managing editor of CanadaOne, Canada's first small business portal.

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