My apologies for the long post but I wanted to provide some background and context as one thing that stood out to me is developing sound processes for my business that can grow and scale if it ever becomes more than just a 1 girl show. I want to thank this forum and Tom for all their knowledge and expertise that has been shared, I have read many posts and watch many videos in my never-ending search for more understanding.
I have for a number of years done IT related services for friends, family, coworkers and for others within their social circle which has been on a break-fix basis but I want to transition to a support model and reduce the amount of break-fix work in an ideal world. Though running a small business will definitely have its challenges with the proper planning, an open mind and my strong work ethic I believe I can build something solid and beneficial not only to myself but more importantly to the customers that are needing IT related services in my area (Large city in Alberta, Canada). While I won’t be quitting my “day” job I do work shift work and have lots of time off that I want to fill some of it with this business, on average I have 4 days off in an 8-day cycle.
I have secured a domain name for my new company and checked in with my local city about licensing as well as both a small business advisor and an accountant. to arrive at my following next steps to launch the business in order to begin marketing it.
Part of developing strong business processes is decided or shaped around what software or system is used by the business and I wanted to get some feedback on what I have planed for FOSS software to run my company.
- Public Website: Wordpress
- Accounting/Invoicing: Invoice Ninja
- Support Requests: OS Ticket
- Status Monitor: phpServerMon
- Password Manager: Bitwarden_RS
- Cloud Storage/Client Uploads: Nextcloud
- Documentation: BookStack
- Document Mgmt: (SeedDMS | Mayan-EDMS) Still a work in progress
- Inventory: Snipe-IT
I have looked into more all-in-one systems like GPLI but not sure they are the right fit as they tend to have way more features than right now. Part of the drive to us FOSS was to keep operating costs as low as possible while the company is starting and also to not lock into a particular closed format that I find later on might have been the wrong decision. Though something like moving from Bitwarden_RS to paid Bitwarden is something that I see happening fairly soon after my client base starts to gain traction. I will be self-hosting all of my business software using my home network which is mostly old enterprise and prosumer equipment. The only large SPOF is my single internet connection to my house.
I have also been developing a documentation package using my home/lab network to help build a template or both intake of a new client and also to track clients once they are onboarded but right now they are mostly just text files for simplicity.
My plan is to get as sound of a process as possible for the various tasks and services I will be providing when I start off and then from there follow these steps to launch the company which will be done for right now as a sole proprietor.
- Register a business number with the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency)
- Register my business as a Trade Name with the Registry (DMV like entity)
- Update the CRA with my Trade name and request a GST number
- Open a business bank account
- Get a business ph#
- Get business cards made
- Launch the public website
- Market/network like crazy
I would also greatly appreciate and welcome any other tips, advice, cautions, words of wisdom or guidance anyone has to share as I being taking and making this business a reality.