Press Room

Business Start Up Checklist

Press Room

Business start-up checklist

From Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

When you're setting up your business, you need to ensure that all of your bases are covered. Consider the following steps as you navigate through the business start-up phase.

Table of Contents

Planning your business

Creating a solid business plan is vital to your success; you need to know where you expect to go long before you get there. Before you start writing your plan, you'll want to make a number of key business decisions.

  • Market research and statistics
    Learn more about market research, how to conduct it, and where to find free information and statistics to support your market research project.
  • Marketing and sales
    How well you market your business and interact with your customers can vastly influence your success.
  • Sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or co-operative?
    Find out which type of business structure is right for your business: incorporation, a partnership, a sole proprietorship or a co-operative.
  • Naming your business
    Choose the right name for your business. Your business name should be unique and easy to remember, and should describe the products and services you provide.
  • Choosing and setting up a location
    Trying to decide where to locate your business and how to arrange it once you get there? Consider your options.
  • Regulated business activities
    Learn about regulations that apply to key business activities such as exporting, importing, marketing, and managing employees.
  • Regulated industries
    Find out how certain industry sectors are regulated and what some of the key business obligations are in those sectors.

Organizing your finances

Your business success will depend on how well you plan and manage your finances. If you will be seeking financial help, either from a start-up loan or from a government grant, it is imperative that you have a well-developed business plan.

  • Writing your business plan
    Know what elements are considered essential in any business plan and the key points that should be included in each section of your plan.
  • Managing your finances
    You can use these resources to help you understand financial concepts and learn about tasks like budgeting, financial analysis and bookkeeping.
  • Benchmarking
    How does your business measure up to others in your industry? Benchmarking allows you to evaluate your performance and ensure that your business is operating at an optimum level.

Registering your business

Be proactive — take care of all your registration and licensing requirements with your municipal, provincial and federal governments early on in the process. Once you complete these steps, you will have the necessities such as a Business Number, registered business name and a GST/HST account.

Canada Revenue Agency's Business Registration Online is the one-stop shop for all of your federal business registration requirements. If you operate in the province of Quebec, you will need to register using Revenu Québec's Businesses Portal.

Provincial and territorial business registration

Most provincial and territorial governments require you to register your business with them.

Provincial tax information

Get information on provincial tax benefits and find out how to collect sales tax from your local and out-of-province customers.

  • Overview of charging and collecting sales tax
    As a Canadian business owner, it's important to know how and when to charge sales taxes for the goods and services you sell and supply to your customers.
  • Tax and Revenue Administration

    Only Applies to : ALBERTA

    As a business owner, find out about your responsibilities with regard to Alberta taxes.
  • Taxation Division

    Only Applies to : MANITOBA

    Learn about your tax collection and remittance obligations as a Manitoba business owner.
  • Employer Health Tax (Ontario)

    Only Applies to : ONTARIO

    Find out if you are required to pay the Employer Health Tax in Ontario.
  • Change to link --- Provincial tax obligations (Saskatchewan)

    Only Applies to : SASKATCHEWAN

    Learn about your obligations concerning provincial tax registration, collection, and remittance when doing business in Saskatchewan.
  • Revenu Québec — Business Portal

    Only Applies to : QUEBEC

    Is your business based in Quebec? If so, learn about your fiscal obligations including taxes and deductions.
  • Taxation in the Yukon

    Only Applies to : YUKON

    Find out about the taxes your business needs to pay and the tax breaks you can get in the Yukon.
  • Register to collect and pay PST – eTaxBC

    Only Applies to : BRITISH COLUMBIA

    Register your business to collect PST, obtain your PST number, and then report and pay the tax online.
  • Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)

    Only Applies to : PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

    Get information regarding Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in Prince Edward Island.
  • Taxation in the NWT


    Learn about the taxes your business will be responsible for collecting and paying while doing business in the Northwest Territories.
  • Nova Scotia Provincial Tax Commission

    Only Applies to : NOVA SCOTIA

    Find out about your responsibilities in regards to Nova Scotia taxes.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Taxation


    Learn about your taxation obligations in Newfoundland and Labrador and discover what credits, incentives, and benefits you could qualify for.

Hiring and managing employees

Your employees are the key to the day-to-day functioning of your business. You will want to determine how many employees you require, and what qualifications they need. Then you will need to recruit the best and brightest, and create a working environment that they want to be a part of.

  • Hiring employees
    Know your obligations and opportunities when it comes to hiring employees.
  • Employees
    Discover how to recruit, hire and effectively manage your employees.

Workplace health and safety

You have an obligation to ensure the health and safety of all of your employees while they are working. This requires that you comply with certain regulations and standards for the safety of your workplace.

Additional resources

Whether you are a new or experienced entrepreneur, you can never be too informed when it comes to your business.

  • Business support organizations
    Seeking the advice of peers, professional business counsellors and coaches can help you transition from new business owner to experienced entrepreneur.
  • Contact the Canada Business Network
    The Canada Business Network has centres across the country that offer guidance, information and resources to help make your journey in business a success.