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You've got a great idea, a bang-up product, or a service that's a cut above anything else out there. So how do you turn your vision into a real-life business? These five steps are the perfect starting point.

Starting a business isn’t rocket science (unless your business is, in fact, in rocket science). But it does take some careful thought and planning. These five steps can help you kick-start your start-up, setting you up to turn your vision into reality.

Here are five things to do when starting a business:

1. Figure out How You’ll Stand Out

There are a lot of businesses out there, so do some research to determine what others are doing in your space, then find your unique angle to help differentiate your business from the competition.

Download this checklist, Will my business fly?

2. Build a Business Plan

A business plan is like your road map for your business. It defines what your business is going to do, helps you establish your structure, and map out how you’re going to reach your goals. Beyond pointing you in the right direction, your business plan may also help you spot opportunities, helping you fine-tune your next steps.

3. Work out the Funding

So… how are you going to pay for your new venture? Do you have savings you’re putting towards it? Looking at getting a loan from the bank — or maybe from friends or family members who are willing to help? Or perhaps you’ve got your eye on a grant or a line on some investors? There are many options when it comes to funding a new business. The key is to know what they are, and which one(s) will best fit your business’ style, size and growth plan.

Check out this cash flow tool: Start-up Costs Calculator

4. Draw a Line in the Sand

Once you’re a business owner, you’ll find that mixing business finances with personal ones may complicate things. By separating your business and personal finances from the get-go, you may be in a better position to track your P&Ls, manage your taxes, and keep an eye on your cash flow and spending. A business bank account and credit card may be great tools to help separate finances and keep things run smoothly.

5. Register Your Business

Once you’ve completed steps 1-4, it’s time to make your business official. That involves registering your business with the right government agencies to get your business number (BN) and sign up for government programs such as GST/HST and payroll deductions. When you register, you will also finalize your business name and the structure of your company. It’s simple to register or incorporate using Ownr (avail in ON, AB, and BC).