Business owner standing in front of her shop

What You Need to do Business in Canada

Aug 27 2020

Canada is one of the best places in the world to do business. Back in 2011, Canada took the number one spot as Forbes’s best business location. And as recent as 2018, Canada is still ranking at number 6.

The country’s stable economy is definitely a key asset. Moreover, Canada has among the lowest corporate tax rates and one of the most stable banking systems in the world. And to top it all of, Canada is home to a vastly talented and skilled workforce. So it’s no surprise that there are around 1.15 million SME’s in Canada - and counting.

If you’re thinking of starting a business in Canada or if you’ve started one already, then you’re off to a promising start. But you might also be looking for further information or insights on what a business needs to get started, to survive, and to thrive in Canada. If so, you’re in the right place! This comprehensive article will cover all those points.

Let’s get started!

Businessman catching falling dominoes to represent managing risk

Canadian Business Requirements to Get Started

In this section, we will discuss the bare necessities. Before you can get started with your business, you will need the following:

1. The Intangible Basics to Start Everything

Business Idea

This is the crucial first step. The business idea is the broad concept that goes into what problem is being addressed and how the business will offer the solution. This idea sets everything in motion.

For the business idea to be valid, it must address a real and prevalent problem or need. Moreover, the business idea should align with what you love to do and is something that you believe in. Before a business idea is drawn out into a business plan, it should have gone through careful examination and validation.

The Business Plan

The business plan is a document that serves as a roadmap for how the business will operate. It includes information like the business overview, the type of business, the location, the means of doing business, the business structure, the market analysis, the products/services, the financial details and so on. A detailed business plan is especially important if you are seeking investors or applying for a loan.

2. A Registered Business Name

The business name must be distinctive and not conflict with any existing business name or trademark. Before registering your business, you must have the following information:

  • Location of your main office
  • Other provinces or territories that you plan to operate in
  • Your proposed business name
  • Your business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, cooperative, or corporation)

Business registration is done by region. Here is an official resource that you can check out for more information on business name registration in Canada.

3. A Business License

The kind of license/s and permits that you will need will depend on your location and your industry. To find out what permits and licenses you need for your business, go to this page.

4. Registration for Taxes

If you sell goods and services in Canada, you will need to register for GST/HST - unless your business is exempted. Registering for this type of tax makes your business eligible for important Input Tax Credits.

Depending on where you operate your business, you may also need to register for the Provincial Sales Tax. Make sure to check and to follow the recommendations set by your province.

 Image of a businessman in the planning phase

Determinants for Success in Surviving & Thriving

Here we will discuss some of the most valuable determinants of success. It’s a known fact that most new businesses collapse within the first year. The first year can be tough and breaking-even by itself can be counted as a success. But if you play your cards right as a business owner, the business will not only survive but also thrive. Here are some key things you will need:

1. A Positive Company Culture

A positive company culture is one of the key determinants of your sustained success. The company’s values and culture should be clearly defined and adhered to consistently. Though there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to defining the company culture. There are a few indicators that your business is operating under a positive company culture. This includes:

  • Low attrition
  • Transparency
  • Comfortable work environments
  • Positive interactions between employees
  • A mindset of constant development and innovation

2. A Solid Marketing Strategy

Essentially, marketing is about getting the right message about your business to the right people at the best possible time, using the optimum platforms. Traditional marketing is a challenge by itself but digital marketing takes the challenge up a notch. It’s not that modes of marketing are expensive or difficult to put into action, the first challenge is to actually deal with the overwhelming amount of choices that you have.

A great first step is to be clear on your target audience and be clear on the intent of your message. You will also benefit greatly by establishing early on what brand persona you have.

When your campaigns are executed on the right platforms, this will give your business the needed awareness, foot traffic, engagement, signups, and so on. Marketing is both an art and a science. So feel free to get creative - because this will help you stand out. And feel free to experiment - because this will give you data on what works and what doesn’t.

3. Clear Financial Records

Right from the very beginning, keep a clear record of all the financial aspects of your business. If you manage to do this at the get-go, you will have an easier time with accounting and settling taxes.

Opening a separate business bank account is highly recommended to keep the funds from mixing with your personal finances. Utilizing basic accounting software will also allow you to keep track of where you stand and spot any discrepancies that come your way.

4. The Right Business Insurance

One of the most important determinants of success is how prepared your business is in the face of unfortunate events - such as natural disasters, injuries to customers, injuries to employees, property damage, and so on. This is where business insurance comes in.

Business insurance is an umbrella term for the insurance coverages that you will need to protect your business from liabilities and expenses brought about by unforeseen events. The business insurance you get should be tailor-fit to the risks associated with your business and industry. The main types of business insurance are as follows:

General Liability Insurance

This type of business insurance protects you from liability claims from accidents resulting in injury, damage to someone else’s property where you are found legally responsible, and personal & advertising injury claims.

Commercial Property Insurance

This type of business insurance covers damages to your equipment and property. This coverage will help you with repairs and restorations whether you own or lease the property.

Business Income Insurance

In the event that your business is interrupted due to damage, this coverage will help replace lost income.

Professional Liability Insurance

This coverage will protect your business from liabilities resulting from errors and omissions done by your professional services.

Worker’s Compensation Insurance

This coverage will give benefits to your employees who have sustained work-related injuries and illnesses. It will also cover the benefits for a deceased worker’s family if the death is connected to their job tasks.

Where Can I Get Business Insurance?

KASE Insurance is one of the top providers of business insurance in Canada. We’ve served various businesses by creating a customized insurance policy that fits their needs. And along the way, we’ve gathered awards and a wealth of industry recognition. With KASE Insurance, you can be sure that you are in good hands.

Got questions about what business insurance fits you best? We’ll be more than happy to connect. So contact us today or get a quick quote to get started!

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