Starting a Business in Canada Checklist

Table of Contents


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 then consider these business schools:
      • ICS Canada
      • Sprott Shaw
      • BDC
      • Online Universities List

Do you have a really good idea? An invention, or maybe an innovation?
If you have an invention idea, I suggest your contact these people for help: InventHelp
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?
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:
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.
Does your family approve of the business idea and are onboard with it? Are they willing to help run the business?

Market Research

Your "target market" includes everyone who might be interested in purchasing your products or services.
Market research is the process of learning everything you need to know about your target market.
Do they need or want your product?
What features do they want your product/service to include?
The task of market research can include: interviewing people, focus groups, surveys, and observing potential customers.
You need to determine the demographics of your target market. Consider these categories:
      • Age
      • Career
      • Education Level
      • Ethnicity
      • Gender
      • Income
      • Marital Status
      • Race
      • Religion
And sometimes these:
      • Body Weight
      • Eye Colour
      • Favorite Colour
      • Fitness Level
      • Hair Colour
      • Hobbies
      • Smoker or Non-smoker
      • etc...

What prices would your customers be willing to pay for your product/service?
What would the cheapest prices be, and what would be the most expensive prices?
What is more important to your market: cheap prices or high quality?
Are your potential customers local or located elsewhere?
Don't ask family or friends if they like your business model, as they might not be completely honest with you. They don't want to disappoint you. Ask strangers instead.
What does your target market want in the terms of products and services? You should identify a need they have and then set out to solve that need.
Are the people in your target market environmentally oriented? Would they disapprove of some of your business practices?
To help with market research, try these:
      • Brandwatch
      • Canada Market Research
      • Google Trends
      • Ubersuggest

For definitions of market research terminology, read these:
      • Modern Marketing Partners
      • Pollfish

Business Planning

Hire a business consultant to help you plan your business.
Create a Business Model Canvas. For a free printable form, print out ourPDFor try ouronline form

Write a 2 sentence USP (Unique Selling Proposition). It should briefly describe how you are better than the competition.
It is essential that you create a business plan for your new business. You need this for a few reasons:
      • It helps you figure out your business's strengths and weaknesses.
      • It helps you figure out your startup expenses.
      • It helps you figure out your financial situation, and if you need a loan.
      • You need it to take out a business loan. You have to show your plan to the banker.
      • You need it to attract investors. You will need to show them the plan.
      • It helps you to develop a business strategy.
      • It helps you plan for the future.

Write a Business Plan using:
      • Bplans
      • Gov't of Canada
      • LivePlan

Check your business plan for spelling and grammar errors using:


If you are not going to incorporate, then you have two choices: 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.
Pick a start date for the launch of your business.

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's trademark.
Google each business name to see if it is still available: (Don't use quotation marks)

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
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:
      • Alberta
      • British Columbia
      • Manitoba
      • New Brunswick
      • Newfoundland & Labrador
      • Northwest Territories
      • Nova Scotia
      • Nunavut
      • Ontario
      • PEI
      • Quebec
      • Saskatchewan
      • Yukon Territory


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.
Make sure you sign written contracts as needed. For example, sign a contract with your customers outlining the services you will provide them.
Keep detailed records of all transactions. Money in and money out.
Back up all your documents and computer files. Burn them to a DVD and copy them to a USB drive.
Make your business a corporation which will take away any personal liability for your business's screw-ups. If you are not a corporation, and somebody sues you, then they can take your personal possessions. If your business is incorporated, then they can't take your possessions.
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:
      • Alberta
      • British Columbia
      • Manitoba
      • New Brunswick
      • Newfoundland & Labrador
      • Northwest Territories
      • Nova Scotia
      • Nunavut
      • Ontario
      • PEI
      • Quebec
      • Saskatchewan
      • Yukon Territory

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 a great 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 competitive wages and offer numerous perks.
Government of Canada Logo
Government of Canada

Learn what business records to keep for income tax and legal purposes.
Get a business number, which is a unique 9-digit number that 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, and 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

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.

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 top-notch customer service.
      • Your business matches your competitors' sale prices.
      • You offer a good warranty for your products.

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
Give this a try: Pitch Deck
Facebook Ads
Google Ads (For help with this, try
Microsoft Ads
YouTube Ads
Yelp Ads
Newspaper Ads
Newspaper Flyers
Magazine Ads
TV Ads
Radio Ads
Email Marketing

Press Releases – Share Your News

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 the best domain name you can find, 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:
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!)


Keep track of your credit rating:
      • Credit Karma
      • TransUnion

Watch out for scams against your business:
      • Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
      • Gov't of Canada

Open a business bank account:
      • BMO
      • CIBC
      • RBC Royal Bank
      • Scotiabank
      • TD Canada Trust

Obtain a business credit card.
Obtain a bank loan if needed. Don't borrow any more than you expect to need. The more you borrow, the deeper you are in debt and it becomes harder to pay back!
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.
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

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:

InkJet or Laser Printers: Staples
Office machines: Staples
Stationery supplies for your office: Staples
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 Landlines (phone).
Building an inventory.
Employee payroll.
Give cell phones to all employees:
      • Alcatel
      • Apple iPhone
      • Google Pixel
      • HTC
      • Huawei
      • LG
      • Microsoft
      • Motorola
      • Nokia
      • Samsung

Pick a cellular service provider:
      • Bell
      • Chatr
      • Fido
      • Freedom
      • Koodo
      • Rogers
      • Shaw
      • Telus
      • Virgin Plus


Post jobs and read resumes here:
      • Canadian Government's Job Bank
      • indeed Canada
      • Monster Canada

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:
      • Alberta
      • BC
      • Manitoba
      • Nova Scotia
      • Ontario
      • Quebec

WorkSafeBC(WSBC) consults with and educates employers and workers about safe work practices. It also enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and the Workers Compensation Act. Serves BC.
WSIBprovides wage-loss benefits, medical coverage and support to help people get back to work after a work-related injury or illness. Serves Ontario.
Deduct your employee's income taxes.
Offer employee perks:
      • Games room in the office building.
      • Free snacks and coffee while working.
      • Extra paid vacation.
      • Offer a pension plan.
      • Profit sharing.
      • Bring your pet to work.
      • Dress casually whenever you like.
      • Frequent office parties.
      • Give smoke breaks or time to stretch and take a break.
      • Expensive comfortable office chairs.
      • Birthday presents.
      • Paid day off on your birthday.
      • Rewards for doing a good job.
      • Promotions for those who deserve them.
      • Hot tub and sauna in your office building.

Treat your employees well. Make sure the management is friendly and nice towards your workers.
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.
Make sure everything in your office/retail is ergonomic, for your employee's health.
Reward employees for doing an amazing job and for innovating.
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


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. Your business plan should be the foundation of everything you do as a business owner.
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