When thinking about work, you may have the idea of starting your own business or just to be self-employed, for example as a babysitter or a contractor in the construction business. Doing this in Canada can tip the odds in your favor. Indeed, in the annual World Bank study, Canada is the second easiest country in the world to start a business.

Being self-employed is easier than you would even dream of!

Imagine that, after mentioning at a couple of networking events that you are a successful plumber, someone calls you for a job: they want you and they need you right now to replace a contractor for a week or two. Unmistakably, you don’t want to work undeclared, but you haven’t set up your business yet. Good news! In Canada, sole proprietorships allow you to use your name (and nothing else) to start a business with no paperwork.

Later on, when you have a better idea of how you want to run your company, based on the advice in this article, you may change the form of your company. Note that if you are too successful and earn more than $30,000 a year, you will have to register your business.

What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

If this is the first time you have started a company, you may want to check what your strengths and your soft spots are. Business Development Bank of Canada, a bank dedicated to entrepreneurs, has developed an online self-assessment that will help you identify the areas in which you will need support.

Now that you know yourself better, Small Business BC, a non-profit organization funded by the government of British Columbia, is a comprehensive resource that supports small businesses. They have put together a nice check-list of what needs to be done to start a business. Even though it links to their services, you can simply use the checklist to help you figure out the different steps.

How do I get my company up and running?

First, you need to assess your business plan, to make sure that your idea is complete and that you can move to the next step. If you don't know where to start in creating your business plan, you may want to use a guideline.

Depending on your business and how you start it, you may need to borrow money. If you don’t need too much investment, you may ask for a microloan. Depending on your project, you may have a variety of choices from various government agencies set up to help with the small business. Keep in mind that many loans are dedicated to permanent resident and citizens.

Now that you have worked around financing, the next move is to choose the structure for your company. There are four types of businesses that you can choose from Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, and Co-operative. If you don’t know which one will suit your business best, you can use this useful information article that will guide you through the pros and cons of these structures before you register your business.

How do I secure my business?

Depending on your profile as an entrepreneur, you may want to reach out to an accountant or get some training when it comes to payroll and taxes.

Another crucial area of concern is the laws and regulations related to your industry. You can use the services of a lawyer to help you with these points. Both lawyers and accountants can help you upstream in the process, as they can also advise you on the business structure that may work best for you.

Last, but not least, insurance is a point you don’t want to neglect, to limit the impact of something going wrong.

Not sure you want to be an entrepreneur?

Small businesses are big in Canada! You may not feel ready to start your own business, but you will want to keep looking at small businesses as you look for a job: in 2015, 70.5% of the workforce in Canada worked for a small company.

Moreover, if you feel like you need support for your project, BC Talents can help you with our mentorship program!

Get inspired by our second article on small businesses and learn how Suzanne and Franck started their own very different companies and were very successful!

*A small business is a company with 1 to 99 employees. You may also come across the acronym SME (small and medium-sized enterprises), medium companies being between 100 and 499 employees.

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Marie Lacrampe grew up in France. Passionate about languages and culture, she has lived in Madrid (Spain) and London (UK). She arrived in Canada in January 2018 and she is part of the community. She is curious about people and loves to help and share information and ideas.