Thinking about starting your own business, but not sure where to start?

2.8 min read818 words

Start here with the BACD START-UP CHECKLIST

The Business Advisory Centre Durham is Durham’s Small Business Centre for all things business!  We offer business training workshops and events, many which are  free to attend.

The Business Advisory Centre Durham offers the Business Fundamentals – which covers the essential elements for success in every business, such as business planning, marketing and sales and financials and operations. For the start-up checklist, you can come to the Start Up Session where we will explain the steps you need to take to formalize your business and get ready to launch. This 90 minute session covers the essential steps to starting a small business, including registering a business name, licenses & permits, HST, business banking, insurance and hiring employees. Register for a workshop

Get a copy of the BACD Start Up Checklist


Validate your Business Idea

Conducting Primary & Secondary Market Research helps you gather information to see if your business is viable. Are there customers looking for your services? How much will they pay? And are there enough customers looking for that service to keep you in business for a long time? Read Market Research


Competitor Analysis

Scan the business environment to see who your competitors are, what they are offering in their business, what is their pricing structure? What are they saying about their services and products? What does their logo and messaging sound like? What software and processes are they using in their business? And what type of marketing are they using? Take notes and decide what you want to do in your business that might be different or better and find our competitive advantage.


Licences And Permits

Contact your local municipality for permits, commercial locations and building code requirements. Find out if there are any specific regulations for your business activity e.g. food, labelling, beauty services. Learn more about Start up Business Guides


Choose your Business Structure

Decide which is the best for your business goals: Sole Proprietorship; Partnership; Corporation or Non-Profit or Cooperative. Learn more about different types of business structure


Business Name Search and Registration

Having a business name elevates you in the market place and gives you a strong brand presence. Conduct a NUANS name research to make sure no one else is using that business name and then register the name. Once you know you can have the name, you can register as a sole proprietor or 50/50 partnership with Service Ontario. For corporations (Federal/Provincial), Not-for-profit or cooperative, seek legal advice to set this up. Read our Business Registration page


Set up a Business Bank Account

Set up a business bank account so you can get paid in your business name. Having a business bank account allows you to keep your business finances separate from your personal banking. This makes it easier for you to do your bookkeeping and the CRA can see what business expenses you are submitting in your tax return. In addition, you can write off 100% of your bank fees. Having a business bank account also gives you the advantage of building up your business’ credit rating giving you more opportunities for financing in the future. Most banks and credit unions offer business bank accounts. Pathwise Credit Union has an offer for BACD Clients


HST and CRA Tax Registration

Decide if you are going to charge HST. Some services do not require HST to be charged on them. You do not need to charge HST if your gross income is less than $30,000 in 1 year or 4 continuous financial quarters.  Learn more about HST/Tax


Hiring Employees

Know your obligations under the Employment Standards Act (such as payroll, WSIB, EI, CPP, vacation days and sick pay etc.). Consider what you need to do for employees and contractors. Read our article on Hiring Employees or Sub-Contractors


Business Insurance

Insurance is there for the “what ifs” and it is highly recommended for all businesses – big or small. Find out which insurance policies are related to your business activity. It also helps you get hired – as it protects the customer too. Get a quote from a commercial insurance broker – it might not be as expensive as you think. See our Referral Partner Network to request a quote


Domain Name and Social Media Handles

Create your logo & messaging in-line with your vision and mission. Secure your website domain URL, Google My Business and social media channels in your business name.


Grants, Loans and Funding

Search for current grants and loans considering what is included in your financial plan. BACD has grant programs and microloan options. Learn more about available funding options for your business


Open for Business

Have a grand opening or launch party. Get a copy of our grand opening toolkit from your business advisor and share with us, so we can promote it on our network.

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