Starting a Business in Canada Checklist

Table of Contents

Canada
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First Things First

Do you have enough time to put into running your business?
Are you willing to quit your job to run your business full-time?
Do you have a good enough education to run your business? If not try ICS Canada or Sprott Shaw or BDC
Do you have an awesome idea? An invention, or maybe an innovation?
If you have an invention idea, I suggest your contact these people for help: InventHelp
Do you have the money to start the business? If not are you willing to take out a loan?
Do you know a professional business person who could mentor you? If not try: MentorCity.com
Are you able to go a long time before beginning to pay yourself a wage? Sometimes new businesses do not generate enough money to be able to pay the owner! Once your business is established and successful then you can start to pay yourself a wage.  
Business Plans For Canadians

Business Planning

Figure out a niche in the market. Does another business already offer your desired product or service? If so, can you find a way to improve upon what they offer?
Is there a demand for your product or service?
Identify your target market and customer base.
Hire a business consultant to help you plan your business.
Research your desired industry.
Try this service: Canada Market Research
If you are the only owner of your business, then you should form a Sole Proprietorship. If you have partners, then you should form a Partnership.
Research your competitors using SEMrush
Pick a start date for the launch of your business.
What makes your business unique and better than the competition?
Write a 3 sentence USP (Unique Selling Proposition). It should briefly describe how you are better than the competition.
Do you offer better quality products?
Write a Business Plan using:    Bplans    Gov't of Canada    LivePlan
Check your business plan for spelling and grammar errors using:
Grammarly
 

Your Business Name

Write a list of potential business names.
Find a cool and unique business name using one of these generators:
Business Name Generator    Shopify    Namelix    Business Name Maker
Make sure the name is not another business' trademark.
Google each business name to see if it is still available: (Don't use quotation marks)
  Google    

Check each corresponding domain name to see if it is still available.

NUANS report is the pre-requisite of name pre-approval for certain jurisdictions such as Federal, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick, and PEI: Nuans
Pick either a .com or .ca domain name. If your market includes people in the USA, then get a .com instead of a .ca
Quickly purchase the best domain name that is available. Just to make sure somebody doesn't purchase it before you.
Don’t choose a business name that is hard to pronounce or spell.
Choose a name that isn't offensive in another country or language.
Get your business name approved and then register your business with your province:
  • British Columbia
  • Alberta
  • Saskatchewan
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • New Brunswick
  • PEI
  • Nova Scotia
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Yukon Territory
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nunavut

 
Canadian Legal Guide for Small Business

Legal

Hire a lawyer for legal advice. NOTE: I am not a lawyer.
Determine whether any industry-specific licenses and/or regulations may apply to your business.
Obtain a Business License.
Pay other fees and permits.
Keep all bills and receipts.
Keep detailed records of all transactions. Money in and money out.
Backup all your documents and computer files. Burn them to a DVD and copy them to a USB drive.
Incorporate your business to protect you legally.
Get business liability insurance.

Get building insurance for your business location.
Get a patent for your invention. Gov't of Canada
Get a trademark for your name/slogan. Gov't of Canada
All written works are automatically copyright protected. Gov't of Canada
Register for GST/HST Account: Gov't of Canada
Register for PST Account:
  • British Columbia (PST)
  • Alberta (GST only)
  • Saskatchewan (PST)
  • Manitoba (RST)
  • Ontario (HST)
  • Quebec (QST)
  • New Brunswick (HST)
  • PEI (HST)
  • Nova Scotia (HST)
  • Newfoundland & Labrador (HST)
  • Yukon Territory (GST only)
  • Northwest Territories (GST only)
  • Nunavut (GST only)
 

Keys to Success

Find a niche in the market. Find something that nobody else is doing or selling.
Improve upon products and/or services that already exist in the market.
Come up with a cool name for your business.
Get an awesome domain name for your website.
Pay a professional web designer to make your website. Consider hiring me: Eldaha Technologies
Pay for multiple forms of advertising. Without advertising your business will probably fail. I suggest you try:
  • Google Ads
  • Microsoft Ads
  • Facebook Ads
  • YouTube Ads
  • Yelp Ads

Also consider advertising in newspapers, TV, radio, magazines, etc...
Offer the cheapest prices on the market.
Offer premium quality products and services.
Re-invest your profits into R&D (Research and Development) or improving your business.
Hire the most skilled employees.
Pay your employees awesome wages and offer numerous perks.  

Government of Canada

Learn what records to keep for income tax purposes.
Get a business number, which is a unique 9-digit number which identifies a business or legal entity. Not all businesses need a number. Gov't of Canada
Get a CRA account. Not all businesses need one. Gov't of Canada
Collect GST/HST when people pay you. You only have to do this if your sales are above $30,000 per year. Included in the $30,000 is the revenue of all persons associated with you. Gov't of Canada
Federal Gov't Grants: Business Benefits Finder

For more info on grants and financing: Gov't of Canada  

Your Products

Innovate and Invent new products.
Come up with a cool brand name for your product and trademark it.
Manufacture your product in China or Canada. China would be cheaper, Canada would support locally.
To learn about manufacturing in Canada check out: Gov't of Canada
Premium quality vs. Cheap. People like good quality, but they also like saving money.
Sell your product(s) cheap, but at a high volume.
Patent your inventions. For assistance, try InventHelp
Try to cut costs with your products without sacrificing quality.
Create your own store brand, which you can sell more cheaply.
Acquire the rights to your competitor's products.
Consider environmental issues: Gov't of Canada  
You are the Brand

Your Services

These businesses are simple to get started as you are the product.
Offer your employees on-the-job training.
Be honest and have integrity. Don't lie to your customers.
Offer competitive prices.
Get paid either by the hour or by the job.
Reward loyal customers.
Offer extended business hours.
Be available for last-minute emergencies.
Make a YouTube video about your business/service.
Advertise why you are better than your competitors.
You can run your service business while having a full-time job at the same time.
When deciding how to price your services, you should consider: location, distance traveled to your customers, prices of your competitors, your expertise, and your expenses.  
Branding

Your Brand & Branding

To learn all about brands and branding, check out Ignyte
Hire a marketing expert to help create your company's "brand."
You need to develop loyal customers, who prefer to buy your product.
Your brand is essentially the way others perceive your business, good, bad, or ugly.
You want your business to have a good reputation:
  • Employees are friendly and helpful.
  • You offer lower prices than your competitors.
  • Your products and/or services are premium quality.
  • You offer a wider range of products or services.
  • You provide awesome customer service.
  • Your business matches your competitors' sale prices.
  • You offer a good warranty for your products.
 
The 1-Page Marketing Plan

Marketing & Advertising

Pay a professional web designer to make you a website. You could hire me: Eldaha Technologies
Hire an advertising/marketing agency, such as Brandlume
You should hire a graphic designer to make you a business logo. If you are on a tight budget, consider hiring me: Eldaha Technologies
Also, get a graphic designer to design your business cards. Once again, consider hiring me: Eldaha Technologies
Facebook Ads
Google Ads (For help with this, try WebBloom.com)
Microsoft Ads
YouTube Ads
Yelp Ads
Newspaper Ads
Newspaper Flyers
Magazine Ads
TV Ads
Radio Ads
Brochures
Signage
Posters
Email Marketing

Press Releases
24-7PressRelease.com – Share Your News

Social Media for Business
Open social media accounts:
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • YouTube
 

Your Website

Make sure your desired domain name does not contain any trademarks.
Your domain name should be easy to spell and remember.
Try not to use numbers or hyphens in your domain name.
Pick an awesome domain name that is no more than 15 characters long.
Pick either a .com or .ca domain name. If your market includes people in the USA, then get a .com instead of a .ca
Quickly purchase the best domain name that is available. Just to make sure somebody doesn't purchase it before you.
Hire a Web Designer to create your business website. You want this up and running before launching your business. Consider hiring me: Eldaha Technologies
If your website is large and complicated and needs frequent updates, you should hire in-house designers. These people should do your site as a full-time job.
Set up an e-mail address that uses your domain in it: example@your-site.com
Pay for a web hosting service such as: GoDaddy
For web hosting, I recommend that you try a “virtual private server” (VPS).
Hire a marketing specialist to write the copy (text) for your website.
Get an SSL certificate for your website. This is essential!!!
Try this to make your site more secure: Securi
Your web designer needs to be educated in SEO, Search Engine Optimization. If not, then don't hire him. Check out my teaching on SEO: mySEOresource
Use The Best SEO Tool Websites
Link to your social media pages from your website using these icons: (Right-click to save!)
 
Bookkeeping for Canadians for Dummies

Financial

Open a business bank account: RBC Royal Bank
Obtain a business credit card: RBC Royal Bank
Obtain a bank loan: RBC Royal Bank
Appear on Dragons' Den
Find someone to invest in your company by selling them a share in it.
Hire an Accountant and/or Bookkeeper.
Federal Gov't Grants: Business Benefits Finder

For more info on grants and financing: Gov't of Canada
When starting up a new business, re-invest much of your profits back into operating the business.
Invest some of your profits in GICs as a safe investment for your money. RBC Royal Bank
Keep a close eye on cash flow, money going in and out of your bank account. You must plan for the future so that you don't run out of the money needed to keep your business operational.
Create a budget to help you plan your purchases and expenses. It should include your income, assets, and expenses.
Get a Business membership with Staples to save you money on office supplies and equipment.
Offer coupons with sale prices on them.
Offer different sale prices every week on some of your products.
Sell store gift cards. When they buy a card, they can load any amount on it.
Get POS (Point of Sale) machines so that your customers can pay by debit, VISA debit, or credit card: Lightspeed

 
FastStart Your Business

Startup Expenses

Advertising and Marketing.
Brochures and other materials.
Domain Name Registration: GoDaddy
Hire a web design specialist such as me: Eldaha Technologies
Website Hosting Fees: GoDaddy
Buy or lease office/retail location(s).
Renovate your office and/or retail outlet.
Computer equipment and software: Staples

Microsoft Office software: Office.com

Starting a Business
InkJet or Laser Printers: Staples
Office machines: Staples
Stationery supplies for your office: Staples
Furniture.
Business logo and business card design. Hire me: Eldaha Technologies
Get your business cards printed at: Staples
Obtain a toll-free phone number.
Purchase company vehicles with signs stuck on them.
Gas and insurance for your vehicles.
Get internet access in your office.
Get Land-lines (phone).
Building an inventory.
Employee payroll.
Give cell phones to all employees:
  • Alcatel
  • Apple iPhone
  • Google Pixel
  • HTC
  • Huawei
  • LG
  • Microsoft
  • Motorola
  • Nokia
  • Samsung

Starting a Business For Dummies
Pick a cellular service provider:
  • Bell
  • Chatr
  • Fido
  • Freedom
  • Koodo
  • Rogers
  • Shaw
  • Telus
  • Virgin Plus
 
Employee Experience Advantage

Employees

Find the best employees using indeed or Zip Recruiter
Be willing to hire inexperienced prospects and train them on the job.
Administer the payroll. Try this software: Humi
Research "Employment Standards" laws to see how you are required to treat and deal with employees.
Deduct your employee's income taxes.
Offer a pension plan.
Offer employee perks.
Treat your employees well.
Give employees smoke breaks or time to stretch and take a break.
Offer employees paid leave.
Offer on the job training.
Pay for college for employees to make them better employees.
Promote the best employees giving them more responsibility.
Offer competitive wages.
Offer profit sharing. Give your employees a portion of your profits.
Reward employees for doing an amazing job and for innovating.
How to be a Great Boss
Common employees needed by a start-up are:
  • Accountant
  • Business Development Manager
  • CEO
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • COO
  • Customer Relations
  • Customer Service
  • Department Managers
  • Human Resources
  • IT Person
  • Janitor
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Office Clerk
  • Operations Person
  • Product Manager
  • Receptionist
  • Sales Manager
  • Sales People
  • Web Design Team
  • Writer
 

Resources

BDC Glossary of Business Terms.
BDC Business Courses at the Entrepreneur's Learning Centre.
BDC They support small and medium-sized businesses in all industries and at every stage of growth with money and advice.
Futurpreneur They provide financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39.
Small Business BC They help British Columbia’s entrepreneurs grow successful and sustainable businesses through expert business advisors, educational services, easy-to-use free resources and engaging community events.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce Be part of a network that's committed to a simple goal: helping businesses succeed and our families, communities and country flourish.
BC Chamber of Commerce The BC Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most broadly-based business organization in B.C.
CIRA Learn how to choose a business name, pick the perfect domain name for your business, build a website and more!
BDC eBooks Here you'll find a selection of easy-to-read, concise eBooks written specifically for Canadian entrepreneurs. Covering a wide-range of topics from online marketing to cash flow management...
Privacy Laws The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada provides advice and information for individuals about protecting personal information. We also enforce two federal privacy laws that set out the rules for how federal government institutions and certain businesses must handle personal information.
BusinessLink.ca Your business plan should be the foundation of everything you do as a business owner.
Alberta's BusinessLink.ca Free expert business help in Alberta—whatever stage you are at. Business training, events, financing advice, research, support & webinars.
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