Small Business Month: Information and tips for newcomers

Credit to Author: Ramya Ramanathan| Date: Wed, 09 Oct 2019 16:14:18 +0000

October is known as Small Business Month throughout the country — a time to recognize the contributions that the Canadian small business sector makes to the economy and to their local communities. The majority of Canadian firms are, in fact, small businesses; in 2017, 1.15 million (97.9 percent) out of 1.18 total employer businesses in the Canadian economy were small businesses employing close to 70 percent or 8.29 million individuals of the total private labour force, according to Industry Canada statistics.

Support for newcomer entrepreneurs

A number of resources are available to newcomers looking to start businesses in Canada. FedDevOntario Small Business Services offers information about government resources for immigrant entrepreneurs in Ontario starting a business. Similar services exist across different provinces.

Futurpreneur Canada, a national nonprofit provides financing, mentoring and support to aspiring young business owners (18-39 years of age), supports newcomers through their  Start-up Program. For immigrants with limited or no credit history in Canada, the organization offers a Newcomer Program providing support in launching a business. Information such as this interactive, online guide seeks to help those new to Canada and looking to start a business find the right resources and support.

According to Futurpreneur Canada CEO, Karen Greve Young, “It’s important to celebrate the success and contributions of Canadian entrepreneurs every day. Small Business Month is a chance to profile specific entrepreneurs and their impact.  Small businesses… are the backbone of our economy and play a vital role in developing vibrant communities across the country.”

A number of events and activities are being held across the country to celebrate Small Business Month. Futurpreneur is hosting events including: Rock My Business Plan workshops in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and BC; an Owner’s Wanted event in Atlantic Canada; the Trailblazers speaker series in Halifax on the topic of side hustles; and a ThriveNorth workshop on Growing an Entrepreneurial Community

BDC hosting Small Business Week

This year, from October 20 to 26, the 40th edition of BDC Small Business Week (SBW) will bring together entrepreneurs at around 300 events across the country to learn and network with their peers. Events are both paid and free and include trade shows, webinars,  conferences and networking events. Topics range from digital marketing to productivity tips and from time saving to business strategies for exporters. This year’s offerings are posted on the BDC website.

Tips for entrepreneurs

Below are some timely tips from the Better Business Bureau BC for those with an entrepreneurial spirit:

  • Gather your thoughts. Start by checking with Small Business BC for a general overview of the things you will need and the resources that are available to help you successfully launch your business.
  • Will it work? It is important to know if your idea is feasible, unique, a niche, a need, or even an improvement to an existing product or service. A little market research can go a long way before you start emptying the coffers to open up shop.
  • Create a business plan. Many people approach their ideas with the simple belief that things will work out eventually and that having positivity is enough to weather any storm. It rarely works that way. Developing a business plan is a simple road map of where you are and where you want your business to be.
  • Find the right name and register your business. You will need to do a title search to make sure your business name is not already being used by someone else. Once you have your name, you will have to decide how you plan to register the business – whether as a sole proprietorship, corporation, limited partnership, etc.
  • Handle your domain. With over 80 percent of consumers conducting transactions online, an attractive and easy to use website is definitely something to consider. However, there are instances where the registered business name may not work well with a website URL. If someone already owns it or something similar, you may have to get creative to find a URL that works for you. If you can secure a .com or .ca URL with your business name, even better!
  • Get your city licensing. Get the required licensing both through provincial and municipal governments. You are required to have the proper licensing for the city your business is running its operations.
  • Do not forget regulatory licensing. Based on the nature of your business, you may also require regulatory body licensing, such as with the British Columbia Real Estate Association or the Vehicle Sales Authority. Do some research to confirm if regulatory body licensing applies to you and review their requirements.
  • Am I certified? People working in or operating a business in certain industries must be properly certified. In some cases, the certification must be renewed annually. Find out if this applies to your business.
  • Even businesses pay taxes. Register your business with the Canada Revenue Agency and the Ministry of Finance to set up your GST/PST number, payroll deductions, and import/export accounts.
  • If you plan to have employees, make sure you are taking health and safety precautions. The benefit of completing such a registration is that as an employer, you cannot be sued for the costs of a work-related injury or disease.
  • Is your business insured? Make sure your business is protected. Visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada to find out what kind of coverage your start-up needs.
  • What are your business standards? Review BBB’s Standards for Trust.These principles are crucial in operating a good business. Also, remember that trust matters to consumers. Try to incorporate these standards into your business to help create and maintain your reputation as trustworthy with consumers, vendors, and employees.