• Alejandro Anaya

How to start a small business - you can do it!

So you want to open a business but you don’t really know where to start. Many of us say, “one day I will run my own company” but we often get overwhelmed by the idea of taking the first step. Actually, starting a business in Canada is much easier than in other parts of the world, since the Canadian government is very supportive of entrepeneurs and provides resources and guidance along the way.

Here is a basic business start-up checklist that I found when I was looking to start my own company. My field is in interactive media but the process is the same for anyone who wants to start a company.

Step 2: Decide on a business structure. Do you want to be a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship or a co-operative? Find out what type of business structure is right for you based on your goals and situation – for example, as a corporation you are not personally liable, but it is more expensive to start. A sole proprietorship means you are responsible for all debts and obligations but you also get to keep all profits for yourself.

Step 3: Choose a business name. Your name is how people will recognize your business, so make it good. Play around with different concepts and ask your friends and family to give you feedback. Remember, your company name is the first impression of what you do so make it count!

Step 4: Location, location, location! Deciding where to run your business and the costs involved are crucial to you success. Can you work from home or do you need an office downtown? Where are your clients and how will you access them? Fortunately, in the world of digital media everything is online so it is easier to work virtually anywhere.

Step 5: Learn the rules. Every industry is regulated and its important to know which ones apply to your business activities. You can do most of the research online or contact Service Ontario if you have specific questions.

Step 6. Register your business. You can do all your registration and licensing requirements online or in person. Once you complete the steps, you will have a Business Number, a registered business name and a GST/HST account. It costs $60 to register your business name online and the registration is valid for five years.

Good luck! The rest is up to you!

For more information, visit the Canada Business Network.