Business startup checklist

Use this checklist as a starting point for your business. It doesn't cover everything, but it's a good overview. Check off all the items that apply to you.

  • Think of a business idea you would like to pursue
  • Do enough research to confirm that you have a viable business opportunity
  • Write a business plan
  • Consider meeting with a professional (lawyer, accountant, business consultant, mentor, etc.) who can offer business advice
  • Explore financing options
  • Choose a form of business structure:
  • Register the business name at any registry office
  • Select a location for the business
    • Office/commercial space
    • Home-based business
  • Apply for any required business licenses and permits (municipal, provincial, private sector, and/or federal)
  • Learn about the tax implications for your business from the Canada Revenue Agency (i.e. declaring revenue, deducting expenses, etc.)
  • Have a system in place for your book-keeping records or talk to an accountant
  • Obtain a business number from the Canada Revenue Agency if you generally meet any of the following criteria:
    • Paying corporate income tax
    • Going to have employees
    • Collecting GST
    • Importing or exporting
  • Set up a business bank account
  • Get a telephone/fax line and number for the business
  • Acquire any commercial or business insurance you may need (i.e. liability insurance)
  • Consider obtaining rights for intellectual property:
    • Trademark
    • Copyright
    • Industrial design
    • Patent
  • Develop marketing materials (i.e. design logo, print business cards, etc.)
  • Create stationery and standard office templates (e.g. letterhead, fax coversheet, invoices, etc.)
  • Understand the human resource requirements if you will be hiring employees
  • Contact the Workers Compensation Board if you are hiring employees
  • Determine which software you will be using to organize accounting and book-keeping records for the year
  • Hire a lawyer to assist in creating business contracts or other agreements
  • Consider which methods of payment you will be accepting (e.g. cash, cheque, credit card, debit card, etc.)
  • Purchase a receipt book
  • Purchase office supplies
  • Purchase tools and equipment
  • Order inventory
  • Prepare necessary signage
  • Organize your business information, paperwork and files by creating categorized folders/binders
  • Obtain the rights for a website domain name and set up an email address
  • Design your website
  • Find a web hosting company
  • Market and advertise your business
  • Keep any necessary records

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