By RANGA RAJAH
Special to SAF
The desire to own a business usually starts with a dream. And it is pursued for various reasons, including a passion for business. It entails challenges, risks. Some describe business as a tightrope walk without a safety net. Yet they want a piece of that pie.
So what then does it take to start a business? A business plan is the first step. It involves outlining the structure of your business, products/services, growth potential, financials and future plans. The next step would be to look for centres that assist entrepreneurs get started.
Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre (MBEC), Small Business Enterprise Centre, Brampton (SBEC) are a few ‘to go’ centres. They have programmes for starting a business, building it, followed by helping the business grow. Usually after the business plan is sent, these centres provide consultations that help new entrepreneurs with further details about their chosen sector.
It takes four to six months for the business to start. Other aspects like lease, licences, finances and other essentials have been taken care of.
Of late, a heartening emerging trend seems to indicate that our youth are increasingly turning their hand at entrepreneurship. SAF approached to some young upcoming entrepreneurs who’re today already making a name for themselves in business circles, to get their take on what it takes to set up their own business. We profile some of them below.
Sumit Ahuja — MediaWorks!! Brand Management Company, Toronto
According to Ahuja, Media Works!! was registered in February 2008 with just $80 and a loads of dreams to make a difference. It was incorporated in 2011.
Ahuja says finances, bank loan, etc don’t come easy — especially for a new company, but a good idea coupled with the right business plan is a key tool. Armed with these, she approached the banks and got the loan sanctioned “Banks give you the chance you deserve to financially prove yourself.”
Ahuja is the sole owner and president of Media Works!! and says South Asian community needed a professional media relations company with a grass root level outreach. Thus, taking one tiny step at a time, Ahuja established her company.
Ahuja has a degree in Public Relations and is an events professional from Delhi University, India. She continued her education in the same field in Canada.
Ahuja’s motto —“I always believe to get something you’ve never had, you need to do something you’ve never done.”
Chef Harminder — Coriander Green restaurant, Oakville
Chef Harminder, as he is popularly known, was 23 years old when he started his restaurant in 2005. He had about 40 per cent of the required funds and the remaining 60 per cent of the finances had to be borrowed from friends. “I was working in a restaurant and wanted to own a business because I am very passionate about the various aspects of food including cooking, serving, packing takeouts, etc.
“I knew about registration, licences, lease agreement, etc because I had worked in the same field.”
Experience combined with knowledge of food from different regions of India has helped him achieve success. It is important to stay tuned to diners’ preferences and chef Harminder says his aim is to take a healthier, flavourful version of Indian food to the mainstream.
His future plans include launching a chain of his restaurants in and around the GTA in 2014.
Humayun Haroon — Haroon Legal Services, Confederation Parkway, Mississauga
Haroon says his ambition was to be self-employed. After graduating from Humber College with a diploma in Paralegal Education, he decided to take the plunge into running his business. Haroon had managed to save some money from his previous job. A little help from his friends and family resulted in his being able to start his firm.
The most important aspect of running a business according to Haroon is the ability to take charge of life without the slavish hours you put in a corporate firm, plus the satisfaction of helping clients through the network of the legal system.
Haroon’s firm specializes in Canadian Immigration and other legal services.
Ramneek Singh — Sur-Rang School Of Music, Toronto
Starting the music school was primarily an extension of Singh’s passion for singing. Singh is trained in classical vocal music in India from Ustad Amir Khan. After training for over 20 years, Singh devoted herself to performances while simultaneously teaching. A few years down the line, she started her school.
Her unique selling point is her training from Indian gurus which she is making available here in Canada for interested students. “There are subtle nuances which cannot be learnt from books, constant interaction with the teacher is essential — and a lifetime is not enough to learn music,” adds Singh.
Thus she turned her passion into a business, while also avoiding extensive investments because, initially, she conducted classes in her house.
A friendly teaching atmosphere combined with being computer and tech savvy are the keys to her success. She is planning to start classes on Skype in the near future.
RDB — Music production company, Mississauga, Brampton
Sometimes business idea can grow out of a hobby, as it happened with RDB (Rhythm, Dhol, Bass).
Surj, Kuly (who sadly passed away last May) and Manj grew up listening to the sounds of kirtan. The brothers used to play the harmonium and table, and a few years later they decided to try their hand at music production. They started as DJs at family functions which led to creating remixes followed by music production. Nindy Kaur joined the band after marrying Manj.
RDB knew it was important to think outside the box. They decided to fuse the sounds and create saleable beats. They perform throughout the year and travel to India, the UK, Canada, the US and other places. They have worked with Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and T-Pain.
Originally from the UK, they now work and live in Canada. The group is on the Brampton Walk of Fame — an honour system located at the Rose Theatre in Canada.
• Cost to register a sole proprietorship/ partnership is $60 plus $8 per name search if completed at an Ontario Business Connects (OBC) workstation or via the Internet.
• To register by OBC computer, call for an appointment at Government Information Centre (Service Ontario).
• To register via the internet visit www.businessregistraton.gc.ca.
• The cost to register a sole proprietorship or a partnership in person at the Companies Branch or by mail is $80 plus $12 per name search; call 416-314-8880.
• Mississauga Board Of Trade (MBOT) and Brampton Board of Trade (BBOT) offer a wide variety of business services, professional development programs, networking events and marketing opportunities.
• Other online resources at http://www.mississauga.ca/mbec and http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/business/questions.
By RANGA RAJAH