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Steps to Starting a Business in Canada

Part 1: Starting a Business in Canada Step by Step



Starting a Business

Starting a business in Canada may seem overwhelming at first. There are just so many things to do! This guide to the starting a business resources on the Small Business Canada site is designed to help you make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur a reality.

Each step of this guide links to detailed information that will show you how to complete that step. The steps are roughly in order but you don't need to follow the order slavishly when you’re starting a business. It really doesn't matter if you complete step 3, for instance, before you complete step 2.

Steps to Starting a Business in Canada

1) Come up with a good business idea.

One thing that's the same about starting a business in Canada as anywhere else is that you need a good business idea first. Follow the link above to find collections of small and home-based business ideas you can browse through, how to come up with winning business ideas of your own, and how to test the viability of your business idea once you've chosen one.

2) Write a business plan.

My Writing a Business Plan series that starts with this Business Plan Outline will lead you through the process of writing each section of the business plan. You'll find more information, including links to sample business plans, in the Business Plans section of this website.

3) Choose a winning name for your business.

When choosing a business name, there are two things to consider; the business name's marketing potential and its legal elements. The link above will take you to the information you need to choose the best possible business name for your new business when you're starting a business in Canada.

4) Choose a form of business ownership.

What forms of business ownership can you choose to legally structure your business when you're starting a business in Canada? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of the forms of business ownership? These resources will help you choose the best form of business ownership for your new business.

5) Register your business name.

Business name registration is a legal requirement for almost all businesses in Canada. Find out whether or not you have to register your new business's name and learn all the details about business name registration for new businesses in Canada here.

6) Find small business financing.

While many new small businesses are financed out of their owners' pockets, many others need an infusion of funds from other sources to get off the ground. This page presents the main small business financing options for financing a new business in Canada.

7) Get a business license.

While not necessary for all businesses, many new businesses will need to get business licenses before they can operate legally within their municipalities. If your city or town doesn't have a website, you can find the information in the blue pages of your phone book.


You may also need other licenses and permits depending on what kind of business you're starting. Industry Canada's BizPaL is a really useful tool for finding out what permits and licenses you'll need to do business. Available in most provinces and territories, BizPaL will provide a personalized list of the business documents you need for all levels of government.

The steps for starting a business in Canada continue on the next page. Click to read about the five other steps you need to go through when you're starting a business, including registering for the GST/HST, registering for PST, and getting your business records off to a good start.

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