The business structure you choose can have a big impact on your success.
Choosing a business structure is one of the first and most important decisions you’ll make as a business owner. There are multiple steps to getting your business set up legally, so let’s dive in!
Choosing your business structure.
You’ll need to register your business to operate in Alberta. There are 3 common registrations to choose from for a for-profit business: sole proprietor, partnership, and incorporation.
3 main types of business structures:
If you structure your business as a sole proprietorship, you become the sole owner. A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure, however, it also means that you will be personally responsible for any debts or obligations incurred by the business.
A partnership is when two or more individuals or corporations do business together in partnership. A partnership can be a very flexible business structure—you can expand or limit liability and decision-making authority to suit your business’ needs.
Corporations have similar rights and responsibilities as the other structures, but offer you limited liability as a business owner. It is however the most complex business structure with regulation and reporting requirements you must follow during the life of your business.
Registering your business in Alberta.
In Alberta, business registration services are privatized. Registry agents, name search companies, lawyers, and accountants are all able to provide advice and complete the filing . Our professional connections and partners are trusted experts that can assist you with your registration.
The Government of Alberta provides business registration information, forms, and additional resources on their website. They also share information about special registrations and non-profit registrations.
No matter what business structure you choose you will automatically be assigned a 9 digit CRA business number when you register your business electronically in Alberta. This 9 digit number allows you to register your business for a variety of CRA “program accounts”. To learn more about when you need to apply for CRA accounts visit the CRA website.
Your business may also need to obtain a municipal license and other permits or certifications. These registrations are usually dependent on the type of business you are operating within the city or town that you reside. A complete list of businesses requiring a municipal license can be found here.
Professional standard regulations.
Your industry may be regulated by a special agency and need to meet professional standards. For example, if you wish to operate an engineering business you will need to comply with the standards set by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta. A list of public agencies which set regulations for a wide range of industries in Alberta can be found here.
Worker’s Compensation Board registration.
If you are hiring independent contractors or payroll staff, you may need to register your company with the Worker’s Compensation Board. Visit their website to learn more.
Blogs to help you with the process.
Just because you’re in business for yourself, doesn’t mean you have to be in business by yourself.
Our team of in-house small business experts are here to help you navigate your unique entrepreneurial journey with free one-on-one advice. We can help you:
- Understand and navigate the startup process including regulations and licensing
- Explore strategies to successfully run and grow your existing business
- Learn about your financing options, marketing and sales strategies, HR, and more
- Get connected with the most relevant resources and support in the business community
- Review and update your business plan
Our team is ready to help.
Our small business experts work with thousands of aspiring and established small business owners each year. We’re proud of the work we do and the clients we work with. Here’s what some of our clients have to say:
I knew I wanted to start a business but didn’t know the first thing about what kind of registration I needed. Business link pointed me in the right direction by giving me a lot of information and links to get my business started. I am now on my way to being a reliable and responsible business owner.
Business Link is an incredible service that helped me decide how to register my company, clarified some issues around trademarks, and provided links to a lot of other great resources. I’m very grateful for the support that I’ve received already, and the ongoing support that is available. It’s been a key component to helping me move forward as a complete newbie in small business development and ownership.
Explore resources for other business functions.
There are some tasks that almost every small business owner needs to complete before they get off the ground. These pages will educate you on some of those essentials to help get you on your way.