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Once your business reaches a certain size, you may have to explore new options to continue growing, like franchising or international export. Growth can have many benefits, like economies of scale, more control over your market, and more long-term stability.

Growth means changing how you do business: new technology, more employees, less centralized control, and likely the need for more money. Make sure you have a solid plan and be ready to adapt to constant change.

See the Canada Business Network for detailed information on business growth strategies, including franchising, exporting, purchasing another business, and more.

Franchising Your Business

Franchising your business means licensing your trade name and operating systems to a third party in exchange for payment while still maintaining some control over your franchisee’s operations.

How Does Franchising Work?

You (the franchisor), give a franchise license to another person (the franchisee) that gives them the right to use your trade name and operating systems for an initial franchise fee and ongoing royalties (usually for a specific length of time as defined in a franchise contract).

Benefits of Franchising

  • Helps you expand your business faster
  • Requires less capital than other expansion methods
  • Enables you to use your franchisees’ capital to expand your business
  • Allows you to gain more market share
  • Creates a network of franchisees dedicated to your success
  • Allows you to maintain your corporate culture as your company grows

How to Prepare for Franchising

  • Get legal and accounting advice from trusted, qualified advisors
  • Have an established track record that would attract potential franchisees
  • Have a solid business model that can be easily replicated
  • Implement consistent, repeatable systems and procedures
  • Choose dedicated, qualified franchisees

Learn More About Franchising

Expanding Your Business Internationally

Maybe you’re ready to expand your business beyond national borders. Find out what you need to do business internationally, including exporting and importing.

How to Export Your Products or Services

Plan Your Export Approach

Before you start: do you want to take a market-driven or a product/service-driven approach to exporting?

  • Market-driven approach: Research what is being demanded in the foreign market, and determine how to get the right product or service to fill that need.
  • Product/service-driven approach: Find a foreign country to sell the product or service you’ve already developed.

Create an International Business Plan

An international business plan will help you decide if you are export ready. Make sure you consider the following before expanding into a foreign market:

  • The country or countries you want to expand into
  • The country’s population and demographics
  • Sociocultural and political systems
  • Your target market
  • The market demand and needs
  • The market’s legal considerations
  • Currency and commercial risks
  • Delivery logistics and transportation
  • Financial implications
  • Regulations, requirements, and documentation
  • Policy and trade agreements

Register For a Canada Revenue Agency Import-Export Program Account

If you are importing or exporting goods for your business, you must register for an import-export account with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Finding the Right Harmonized System (HS) Codes

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (or HS) is the standardized six-digit coding system of names and numbers used by over 200 countries in international trade. Importers and exporters must declare their products using the right codes.

More Information on Exporting

  • Is your company export ready?: The Government of Alberta has a guide to help you determine if your company is ready to export, which covers items like human resources, financial and legal considerations, logistics, transportation, and more.
  • Intellectual property for exporting businesses: The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) can help you protect your intellectual property internationally before you export your goods.
  • Exporting goods from Canada: A handy guide: The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) offers a detailed guide to exporting, including how to prepare, declare, classify, ship, and report your exported goods.
  • Requirements for exporters: The CBSA website will help you track and report your exports from Canada.
  • Export Development Canada: This federal crown corporation provides insurance and financial services, bonding products, country information, and small business solutions for Canadian exporters.
  • Canadian Trade Commissioner Service: Find in-depth information about international markets and business sectors to help you plan your exports. They also have magazines, webinars, events, and guides on exporting from Canada.
  • Global Affairs Canada: This Government of Canada department promotes the country’s international trade and leads Canada’s international development and humanitarian assistance.
  • Export Controls: Find out if there are export controls on your specific products from Global Affairs Canada.
  • Credit management for exporters: Make sure you get paid when doing business internationally. This guide from Export Development Canada will help you establish a strong international credit management plan.
  • Hiring a freight forwarder: Freight forwarders can help you manage product transportation logistics via air, sea, land, or rail.
  • Export tools: This collection of brochures from the Government of Canada will introduce you to the government organizations that can help you export your products, including the Trade Commissioner Service, Canadian Commercial Corporation, Export Development Canada, and the Business Development Bank of Canada.

How to Import Goods or Services Into Canada

Do not hesitate to hire the services of import and export professionals to help you, especially with your regulatory and logistical requirements.