Starting a Business in Canada

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Aug 16, 2011 - 3 minute read - business planning

How To Start A Business In Ontario

If you’re thinking of starting a business, the guide that follows will give you an overview of the steps you need to take to get up and running. Like all big projects, things are more manageable if you break them down to a series of smaller tasks. There will obviously be differences depending on where you are located in Ontario, but whether you are in Toronto or Thunder Bay, the overall process will be very similar. The steps that follow could be changed around slightly, depending on your approach to the process, but in general work through the steps from top to bottom.

The Business Idea

  • Think about whether you are ready to be an entrepreneur. Talk to your immediate family members to make sure you have their support. You don’t want to enter into a new business with along a reluctant spouse. (See our post on entrepreneurial attributes)
  • Evaluate your business idea. Does it require a new business model or are other businesses currently operating successfully using this model? (See our post on business models)
  • If you have a new business model conduct a feasibility study to confirm your idea is sound. (See our post on feasibility studies)
  • If your business is operating under a proven business model, conduct preliminary research to make sure that the business makes sense given your skills and finances. Make sure it makes sense for the market. (See our post on initial research)
  • If the your initial research or your feasibility study shows that your business idea has a reasonable chance of succeeding, continue to the next step, otherwise, go back to the idea stage.

Business Plan

Banking and Financing

Put Your Plan Into Action

  • Apply for a business license and any other licenses you need to operate your business. The Ontario Government participates in a website designed to handle this called BizPal. Not all municipalities participate in this service but it’s probably the best place to start. The site will ask you questions about your business and then suggest a list of licenses and permits to apply for.
  • Start implementing your business plan. Depending on your circumstances, this could mean signing property leases, buying and installing equipment and generally getting your business ready to open to the public.

As you can see, when a large project such as starting a business is broken down into smaller tasks, things become more manageable. If you feel like you need more information on parts of the process or if you would like us to cover additional tasks not on this list, please leave a comment below.