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12 Steps to Starting a Business

These are the twelve steps that I think are the most important based on over 35 years of experience working with entrepreneurs, including starting my own business.

  1. Get a great idea.
  2. Visit the federal and provincial/territorial business development organizations and collect free advice.
  3. Remember, to be successful, you must enjoy your work. Prepare your business plan yourself, with guidance if necessary, understand it thoroughly, and decide whether to go further.
  4. Meet your accountant to help with or to evaluate your business plan, and to obtain further assistance on the form of your business, as well as in tax, financing, and accounting issues. (Ask all of your professionals about their hourly rates and estimated total costs before hiring them.)
  5. Visit a lawyer and establish your business entity, register appropriately and commence drafting of partnership or shareholder agreements.
  6. Obtain a business number and, if applicable, a GST/HST number from the Canada Revenue Agency (prior to buying any property or incurring any expenses). Complete other required registrations.
  7. Visit potential lenders and present your business plan. Upon loan approval, open a business bank account.
  8. Obtain a business premises and finalize arrangements for necessary renovations.
  9. Initiate installation of your telecommunication and computer requirements.
  10. Interview and hire appropriate full-time and part-time employees. Register for Workers’ Compensation and understand the Occupational Safety & Health Standards.
  11. Mobilize your marketing plan, open your business and enjoy the long hours of an entrepreneur.
  12. Establish an appropriate bookkeeping system. Your accountants can help you set up the appropriate chart of accounts to meet your specific needs.

Blair Corkum, CPA, CA, R.F.P., CFP, CFDS, CLU, CHS holds his Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Registered Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist as well as several other financial planning related designations. Blair offers hourly based fee-only personal financial planning, holds no investment or insurance licenses, and receives no commissions or referral fees. This publication should not be construed as legal or investment advice. It is neither a definitive analysis of the law nor a substitute for professional advice which you should obtain before acting on information in this article. Information may change as a result of legislation or regulations issued after this article was written.┬ęBlair Corkum