Rob Morton, Toronto exec leverages experience at RLM Consulting, Home Capital to guide new entrepreneurs 

This is the year. You’ve been having entrepreneurial thoughts for some time now, and you’ve decided that this is the year you’re going to take action and make it happen. It’s time to unleash your new business on the world.

While it’s great to have dreams, especially at a time when so many people are turning theirs into reality, it’s also important to approach your new venture methodically. In other words, get all the necessary pieces in place. You need a plan.

Leveraging his 20+ years of experience in financial services, Toronto executive Robert Morton has provided strategic consulting to a variety of industries with respect to planning, new product development and organizational effectiveness — this includes entrepreneurs who are starting on their journeys.  

Here, Rob Morton provides five guidance points for entrepreneurs who want to launch a new company.

Get your plan in place.

“You can’t expect to start a new company without a well thought-out and carefully worded business plan,” says Morton. If a venture is going to have any chance to succeed, it needs to have a roadmap that defines everything about the company. This includes what, specifically, the company will offer, whom its customers will be, where it will be located, and all logistical considerations. 

For example, will you be manufacturing a product or providing a service? What will it cost to accomplish that?

“At this stage, it’s advisable to sit down with someone who can walk you through creating your first business plan,” he says. “This can be a formal business advisor, a mentor or even someone who owns a successful company and is willing to share information with you.” The bottom line, says Morton, is that while there are no guarantees, having a solidly written business plan will enhance your chances of success.

Check your finances.

Can you afford to start a company? That’s the question. Countless new companies go out of business sooner than anticipated due to financial problems. To launch and run a company can require a sizable investment. If it’s successful, you’ll need even more money to scale it properly. One of the things you’ll want to consider as you’re about to open a company is if it’s financially sustainable. This also means ensuring that you have strong cash flow, as there are many costs associated with running a company.

Embrace the need to change.

Gone are the days when everyone worked in similar ways. Today, things continue to change rapidly, so as a business leader, you’ll need to embrace disruption. Toronto’s Rob Morton notes that, “Technology driven services are becoming ubiquitous in finance. New technology like blockchain and fintech are transforming business models and economic models, and how digital is becoming mainstream.” He adds that data that allows us to look at customer needs far more accurately, is all around is. “All companies need to stay aware of and adapt to new technologies or risk falling behind to competitors,” he says.

Hire wisely.

It pays to be smart when it comes to developing your staff, so give lots of thought to the types of employees your company will need to run smoothly and generate revenue. This can be a time-consuming process, so it helps to determine what skill sets, experience, professional backgrounds, and personality types will likely function most effectively in the culture you’re building.

Manage your company’s performance on an ongoing basis.

Morton says that a talented and skilled workforce is the lifeline of any organization. So, in order to build an empowered team, companies need to work toward a management cycle that prioritizes ongoing support and improvement. “Organizational effectiveness is key,” he says. Above all else, he notes, set clear expectations and empower employees to collectively reach company goals.