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Checklist for Starting a Business in Canada

December 14, 2016

When you are setting up your business, you need to ensure that everything is covered and taken care of. We like to consider the following steps as you navigate through a business start-up.


1. Planning your Business


Business plans are can be one of the most valuable assets of a company. They can help you to achieve your financing and startup goals. During a startup, the business plan is typically where the entire value of the business or idea resides. It is also one of the most skipped steps of a startup. Take it from us, planning, or a least having a basic business plan will turn valuable to your business in the long-run.


2. Lining up Funding / Financing


Funding is typically the one of the main reasons that an individual does not pursue an idea or startup. However, there are many new tools to help during this process such as Kickstarter, etc. 


Private investors is also a powerful option, in which a startup can gain expertise and networks from other people brought into the picture. Angel Investing Groups and Private Investment Firms are a powerful option if you have a Business Plan attached to an innovative idea.


3. Registering the Business


After choosing the type of business that you are going to setup, each province and territory has registration bodies and locations where you can setup your business. Depending on your situation and the complexity of the setup, it is in some cases worth speaking with a lawyer or setup specialist during this phase.


4. Permits, Licenses, GST / HST


All businesses have different regulatory bodies and permit / license requirements to operate. It is good practice to apply for a Business License in your business location. During the startup you must also research if any special permits are required for operation.


GST and HST requirements can be found by visiting the CRA website.


5. Payroll, WCB Coverage and Insurance


It goes without saying that protecting your new business is important. After setting up your payroll accounts, applying for local WCB coverage in your business areas of operation and getting insurance is essential to protect yourself, your investment and your startup. 


6. Company Systems and Due Diligence Practices


Business systems represent one of the most valuable assets of any business; however they take both time and dedication to complete. They are as essential as a business plan to potential purchasers and investors. They are also vital to pre-qualify with both private client and public entities following startup.


Possible systems to consider implementing during a startup, to make sure they are implemented from the time you start hiring employees include:



This is just the start, and once the preliminary signatures and setup is complete, there are many other things that you can setup (such as your bank account, website, etc) and do to continue the startup phase; however, be patient, it takes time in order to set everything up properly. We too often see people rush through this process and pay the price of missing setup items down the road.


The Magnolias team has all started and owned their own businesses. We help to guide our clients and help them navigate the sometimes stressful time of startup or expansion. If you have any questions related to starting your business, do not hesitate to let us know, we will help to make the process move forward quickly and efficiently.

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