1. Decide on a Business Structure


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, it is recommended that you consult a lawyer, accountant or both.

2. Develop a Business Plan


A business plan is a written document that details what your business will do and how it will operate. Financial institutions will want to 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.

3. Secure Financing


If you require financing for your new business idea, click here for information on small business financing options, or visit the following websites for information on Federal and Provincial funding options.

4. Register Your Business


The OneStop Business Registry is an excellent resource that will simplify the business registration process. At this website you will be able to perform the steps listed below to starting your business. You will need to create an ONESTOP ID to use this service. Alternatively, you can register for each componment individually on the links provided below.

Choose a Business Name

The first step in registering a business is to secure your business name by doing a Name Approval Request or visit OneStop Business Registry.

Register Your Business

If your business is a sole proprietorship, general partnership or incorporation, you can register online using a Visa, MasterCard or American Express. You can register using cash, debit card or cheque at Service BC Centres and Front Counter BC offices or call 1-877-822-6727 to find the location nearest you.

Register for the PST (If applicable)

No matter what business you start, if you sell more than $10,000 a year in goods through your business in a calendar quarter or four consecutive quarters, you will have to collect and pay the PST. Register for PST here or visit OneStop Business Registry.

Payroll Information (If applicable)

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 Canada Revenue Agency/Payroll or visit OneStop Business Registry.

Workers Compensation plan (If applicable)

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. Register here or visit OneStop Business Registry.

Import/export goods (If applicable)

If you are going to import or export goods, you will need to register with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Visit Step by Step Guide to Importing or Exporting or visit OneStop Business Registry.

5. Identify permit and licensing requirements


BizPal is a user-friendly online tool to help you quickly and easily identify the permits and licenses needed to conduct your business activities. By answering a series of simple questions, you can generate a printable list of the permits and licenses you may require from various levels of government, along with general information on each permit and licence, and contacts and links for more information.

6. Additional business requirements


Business Insurance

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.

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. 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. More Information

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. More Information

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. More Information