Steps to start a rad small business in Vancouver, Canada

Let’s say you want to start any small business – like making dog Christmas sweaters made out of organic cotton, kale and love.

You are excited.

Your middle-aged dog Andy and your neighbour Sue with the blonde, curly hair thinks it’s going to be a hit.

But you don’t know where to start.

Well my friends, here is a little handy dandy small business guide that will get you on your way – whether you are starting a dental practice, coffee shop or Christmas dog sweater business because Andy gets cold.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Test the viability of your idea

People come up with brilliant ideas all the time. You’ve probably even had your niece Jo-Jo tell you how great it would be if they invented an automatic cupcake machine alarm that wakes you up AND makes cupcakes at the same time.

BUT, unless people are willing to use your idea, it may not be a lucrative small biz idea.

Sorry Jo-Jo.

It’s extremely important to test whether your business will be a success by doing market research. This will show you whether there is demand for your product and how many competitors you will have. You can do this by going to the small business section of Vancouver Public Library and asking them for advice on how to carry out market research for a small business idea.

It’s also important to interview the target market of your product and see if they would buy the product. You can do this by carrying out focus groups, sending out surveys, or interviewing people in person.

2. Create a business plan

You may have found in your own life when you create goals and stick to them, you achieve more.

That’s why business plans are so important.

Research shows that small businesses with business plans are more likely to succeed. You will also need a business plan if you want to get a loan for your business.

A business plan includes your business goals, reasons they are attainable, and plans for reaching them. A super fun and easy way to write a business plan is to use a template like this awesome business plan writer provided by the Canadian non-profit Futurpreneur that works with entrepreneurs to provide them mentorship, funding, and tools to succeed.

3. Select and register your business structure

You can start a business as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation. The decision you take depends on the type of business you own, how risky it is and what structure is most optimal for reducing tax costs.

For instance if you own a corporation you can’t be sued personally if your cupcake alarm clock causes weight gain across Vancouver.

If you aren’t sure which business structure you should choose, chat to us and we can give you some advice in which direction to go.

Once you’ve selected your business structure, you can register it yourself online for $40.

4. Register your business name

Once you’ve come up with a brilliant name for your business, you need to register it and get it approved to make sure no one else has it. You can do this yourself online at for $31.50.

5. Open a business bank account

Open a bank account with one of your fave banks for your small business. It’s important to keep your business and personal accounts separate to prevent tax mistakes such as forgetting to put Jo-Jo’s ceiling cupcake removal kit in your work expenses.

Having a separate business account will also help you to use cloud accounting with a cloud accountant in Vancouver so that you can see your business revenue and costs in real time on accounting software such as Quickbooks.

6. Create a GST account

If you think your revenue will exceed $30,000 you are required to open a GST account.

7. Get a business license

You are required to get a business license in the area you want to work in.

8. Get insurance

Keep your money and company protected! Check out the Insurance Bureau of Canada to see what type of insurance your company needs.

9. Laws and Regulations

Check whether your small business requires any special licenses or has any special regulations so that you can run your business legally!

There you have it. You now have all the steps to run a business in Vancouver.

We know starting a business can seem overwhelming, so let us help! We can help with business planning and setting up an accounting system so that taxes are a breeze.

Contact us today for a free initial consultation to see how we can help you.

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