It takes time, commitment, a good idea, the right personality, and business skills to start and run a small business successfully. The following websites will help evaluate your suitability and the viability of your new business venture.
Most small businesses are operated as a Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, or a Corporation (also known as a Limited Company). Some businesses can be structured as Societies and Cooperatives. The following websites offer the pros and cons of these various business structures. If you are not sure which is best for your business, consult a lawyer and an accountant.
A business plan is a written document that details what your business will do and how it will operate. Financial institutions may review your business plan and make lending decisions based on the information you provide. A business plan also helps ensure that you are ready to launch your new business, even if you do not need financing. The following websites will help you develop a business plan.
Financing - If you cannot raise enough money to cover your business start-up costs through family, friends, loans or lines of credit, click here for information on small business financing, or visit the following websites for information on Federal and Provincial funding options.
Obtaining business insurance protects you against liability in case of robbery, fire, flood, and any other type of damage. Find an insurance agent that specializes in small business insurance and shop around to find the best rate.
If you want to use a business name that is anything other than your personal name, you need to have the name approved by, and then registered online with BC Registry Services or OneStop Business Registry.
Business names must have both a distinctive and a descriptive element, like "ABC"(distinctive element) "Manufacturing" (descriptive element). A designation such as “Ltd.” must be added if you are planning to incorporate your business. It is a good idea to have a first, second and third choice for your business name, just in case the name you want is not available. You can do preliminary research for potential conflicts by looking through telephone listings, business directories, or by searching BC Registry Services at Research Name Choices. Once approved, your business name will be reserved for 56 calendar days, during which time you must register your business with BC Registry Services.
The names of sole proprietorships and general partnerships are not protected by law, which means someone else could decide to use the same name. Only incorporated businesses have that protection. If protecting your business name is important to you, you may want to incorporate your business. You will need to apply online using Corporate Online and choose File an Incorporation Application. For information about applying for federal incorporation, visit Corporations Canada
If your business is a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you can register it online at OneStop Business Registry using a Visa, MasterCard or American Express. You can register using cash, debit card or cheque at Service BC Centres and FrontCounter BC offices. Call 1-877-822-6727 to find the location nearest you. To incorporate, you must file an Incorporation Application with BC Registry Services. For information on the application process or to apply online, visit Corporate Onlineand choose File an Incorporation Application
If you plan to use the Internet to sell or market your goods or services, you will need to create a website and secure a domain name. You can research availability of domain names and buy the rights to a name online. There are many web design companies to assist in your website development and maintenance. Visit e-Business Connection for information on how to develop a web presence and strategy.
Depending on the type of business, you may have to charge and collect the provincial Hotel Room Tax (HRT). That means you will need to register with the Ministry of Finance. Register online at OneStop Business Registryor call Taxpayer Services toll-free at 1-877-388-4440.
No matter what business you start, if you sell more than $30,000 a year in goods or services through your business in a calendar quarter or four consecutive quarters, you will have to collect and pay the HST and you will need to register with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Workers Compensation Plan - If you plan to hire employees or have incorporated your business, you will need to register with WorkSafeBC and pay insurance premiums that cover you and your employees for work-related injuries and disease. If you are self-employed, you may want to apply for WorkSafeBC’s Personal Optional Protection. To register or find out more, visit WorkSafeBC
Payroll Information - If you are paying salary, wages, bonuses, vacation pay or tips to your employees or providing a benefit to your employees such as board and lodging, you need to register with the Canada Revenue Agency for a payroll deductions account. This account enables you to make the required Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) payments. For more information, visit OneStop Business Registry or Canada Revenue Agency Payroll Information
Corporations - If your business is incorporated, or you are a non-resident corporation operating in Canada, you will need to register for a Corporate Income Tax account with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Import/Export Goods - If you are going to import or export goods, you will need to register with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). You can register your business with the CBSA through the OneStop Business Registry. For more information visit Import/Export Guide.
Restaurant Liquor Licence - If you have a restaurant and the service of food, as opposed to liquor, is the primary focus of your business, you can apply for the Restaurant (Food-Primary) Liquor Licence through the OneStop Business Registry. For more information visit BC Liquor Control and Licensing.
BCeID online service - If you need to change your business address through the OneStop Business Address Change Service, or plan to access other government e-services regularly, you will need a business BCeID. A BCeID is an online service that makes it possible for you to use one login ID and password to sign in securely to any BCeID participating provincial government website. You can apply for a business BCeID through the OneStop Business Registry, click on step 3. For a complete list of government e-services that use BCeID, visit the Online Service Directory.
Business Licence - Your business may require a local government business licence to operate. Check with your local government or First Nation for licence and zoning requirements in your area. If you need to register for a business licence, you may be able to do so through the OneStop Business Registry. Click here for a list of participating local governments and First Nations.
Business Records - Whether you are hiring employees or working on your own, you are required by law to keep complete records of your new business income and expenses. Click here to view the Canada Revenue Agency’s list of all business records you must keep. It is recommended you contact a qualified accountant to help you set up and maintain proper business records. It is also a good idea to talk to a lawyer for advice about legal issues that may affect your small business.
Employment Standards Branch, Ministry of Labour - The Employment Standards Act and Employment Standards Regulation apply to most workplaces in British Columbia and cover such important issues as required wage rates, vacations and overtime rules. If you are planning to hire employees, you should be familiar with this information.
Industry Training Authority - The Industry Training Authority (ITA) is a provincial government agency responsible for governing and developing the industry training system in British Columbia. If you are planning to hire apprentices, you will need to be registered with the ITA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canada Revenue Agency - If your business is either a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you must report your share of gross and net profits (or losses) on your individual tax return (T1). If your business is an incorporated company, you must file a corporation tax return (T2) within six months after the end of the corporation’s fiscal period
Canadian Company Capabilities Database - If you plan to manufacture goods, export goods to another country, or sell products or services to other companies or organizations, you may consider joining Industry Canada’s Canadian Company Capabilities Database to ensure buyers in Canada and around the world know about your products and services. Over 500,000 domestic and international companies browse the database every month looking for Canadian businesses. Register your business with the database through OneStop Business Registry.
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) - Patents, copyrights and trademarks are all ways by which businesses protect their intellectual property, including business ideas and inventions, designs, symbols and products. Industry Canada’s Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) offers a series of guides that explain how to register your business patents, copyrights and trademarks.
BizPaL is a user-friendly online tool to help you quickly and easily identify the permits and licences needed to conduct your business activities. By answering a series of simple questions, you can generate a printable list of the permits and licences you may require from various levels of government, along with general information on each permit and licence, and contacts and links for more information.
Operating your business in an environmentally sustainable manner is not only good for the environment, it reduces costs, increases efficiency, and enhances your company’s reputation in the community. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions can also create future business opportunities, such as providing cleaner energy sources, more efficient products, and other alternative technologies. Many actions that companies can take to reduce emissions are cost-effective, especially if integrated at the start-up phase of business development. Examples include making smart energy-efficient equipment choices, diversifying energy consumption with renewable energy, and adopting minimal packaging standards.
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