Business start up Checklist

Canada is becoming a hub for various small businesses. Starting a small business in Canada can prove to be very profitable and the right choice for many entrepreneurs who want to try out a new idea. Although, market for small businesses is very good in this country, there are certain pre-requisites that every business owner should fulfill in order be successful. However, at times, it becomes difficult to track all these requirements. This is why; every small business owner should make a checklist that includes all the things that one needs to do when starting a business in Canada.

Below is a checklist that contains the fundamental building blocks of a business plan. By fulfilling these points, you can stay focused on what you are doing. Remember that this checklist is intended as a quick reference for small business start-ups only. Before going through the list, you are advised to take a look at our guide on how to start a small business in Canada.

Business Planning

  • Evaluate your business idea:
    How did you come to develop your business idea? Is it feasible and marketable?
  • Market research and evaluation:
    Research about the market where you will venture your business. Support the information statistically. Find out how your business model fits into the market. Evaluate your competitors and intended customers.
  • Chose form of ownership/ business structure:
    Incorporation, a partnership, a sole proprietorship or a co-operative?
  • Choose a business name:
    Your business name should capture the essence of your business idea. It should be catchy, unique and define your services or products.
  • Choose a business location:
    Decide where you will conduct your business. Determine traffic, customer accessibility, set-up and running costs and similar important things.
  • Define your market and sales:
    Decide how you will market your products or services to your customers. Decide how you will obtain raw materials and other supplies.
  • Plan your business activities and obligations:
    Learn about the regulations regarding importing, exporting and marketing in your area. Find out about your obligations towards various business rules in your industry.
  • Conduct SWOT analysis of your business:
    SWOT: Strength, Weakens, Opportunities and Threats
  • Make decisions about hiring employees:
    Think about how many employees you need and in what areas. Think about their qualification and experience requirements, their pay and other benefits and how you will attract qualified employees.

Assemble a team of mentors and professional advisors:

Make a network of business mentors and advisors to help you with your business. If needed, hire advisors that specialize in particular field like law or finance to help you make important business decisions. Contact other business-related agencies and associations to help you with this.

Financial Requirements:

  • Calculate start-up costs:
    Make an educated estimate on your total start-up costs. The estimate should include capital investment, operation and equipment costs, bonds and other important elements.
  • Make a business plan:
    Your business plan should include all elements about your business finances like your budget, cash flow projections, income statements, and others.
  • How will you finance your business?
    Find out how to access funding for your business and from where.
  • Benchmarking:
    Evaluate how your business measure up to your competitors.
  • Make plans on how to manage cash:
    Set up a bank account and or related payment systems. Investigate about insurance. Maintain your records on all receipts and expenses and update it from time to time.
  • Learn about various taxes that you need to pay and how to pay them:
    • Special Provincial Taxes
    • Sales and income taxes
    • Remittance Obligations
    • Employer Health Tax
    • Taxes deduction
    • Collect PST number

Provincial and Municipal Requirements

  • Collect Information on provincial and municipal requirements:
    Find out about federal, provincial and municipal permits and licenses to start and run your business. Get information on provincial government programs and services. Learn about registering your business structure.
  • Register Business Name:
    Learn about the steps of registering your name in your area. Register your business properly.
  • Obtain special provincial and municipal licenses and permits:
    After collecting information and registering your name, obtain licenses and permits that are offered in your business location.

Other Requirements

  • Obtain information on employment standards and occupational health and safety:
    Find out about your rights and obligations as an employer towards the workplace conditions and safety of your employees. Learn and get no-fault work injury insurance.
  • Find out the legal requirements on occupational health and safety:

  • Learn about Canada Labor Code, Nova Scotia’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, other national and municipal regulations.
  • Provide necessary trainings to employees:
    Schedule health & fire trainings, and inspections. Offer trainings on handlings hazardous materials and other dangerous equipment.
  • Develop a website:
    Register a website domain name. Make a business website and put every information about your services and products for customers. Learn about SEO and other social media marketing strategies in necessary.

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