Step 4: The Planning

A. How do you legally start your business?

Choose the legal form:

  • Sole proprietorship – if the corporate name is different than the first and last name of the proprietor
  • Partnership
  • Company (corporation)
  • Cooperative
  • Non-profit corporation (or organization).

Some things to think about:

  • The choice of legal form must take into account provincial and federal legal and taxation rules. Ask a professional to validate your legal form.
  • Plan the registration and/or incorporation of your business within related institutions.
  • Are you starting up your business with associates? Create a shareholder agreement to facilitate relationships between business partners. When in doubt, ask for advice from a professional.

Permits, licences, and registrations

You will need to obtain several permits, insurance policies, and registration numbers to operate your business legally.

Lawyers, accountants, notaries, insurance companies, financial institutions, and your municipality’s urban planning office will be some important allies in this step.

B. Where will you obtain the equipment, merchandise, and supplies that you will need?

  • Identify your merchandise, equipment, and supply needs
  • Find suppliers and subcontractors, and obtain the following information:
    • Price, quality, delivery times, availability, reliability, terms of payment, etc.
Look out for new or used equipment sales and keep informed about competitors to learn about suppliers.

C. How do you choose the location of your business?

  • Identify your priorities:
    • Accessibility, potential growth of the area, visibility, parking availability, occupancy cost, proximity to consumers, suppliers, and the competition, etc.
  • Determine the amount of space required in the short-term and beyond, and consider the layout
  • Verify the municipal and zoning regulations
Consult real estate agents and your municipality’s urban planning office to find potential locations for your business.

D. What promotional strategies will you use?

Market Research

Internet, representatives, manufacturing agents, distributors, wholesalers, catalogs, trade shows, exhibitions, etc.

Advertising

Newspapers, radio, television, pamphlets, mail-outs, direct-mail advertising, website, Yellow Pages, social media, word-of-mouth, etc.

Some things to think about:

  • Develop a one-minute oral presentation about your business that will help you convince the public of your product or service’s potential.
  • Work on your image in order to stand out from the competition.
  • Obtain promotional tools that demonstrate your professionalism.
  • Create a marketing plan that will allow you to develop your sales strategies according to your budget.
Here are some resources to help you get ideas and learn more about promotional strategies for developing your business: provincial and industry associations, business associations, and chambers of commerce (depending on your field of business), marketing firms, and your competition. Whether you want to get inspired or to find out how to make your business stand out; pay attention to the promotions offered by your competition.

E. Will your business create jobs?

  • Develop your organizational structure according to the operations of your business.
  • Identify your long-term and medium-term human resources needs.
  • Identify what training and experience is required for each position.
  • Write out task descriptions for each position, including the management team.
  • Establish conditions of employment, salaries, and benefits ahead of time.
  • Consider giving in-house training.
  • Plan how you will recruit your future employees.
Get informed about college and university employment services, consultants, recruiting firms, and business networks to develop the human resources of your company.

F. Do you need financing?

How much will your business project cost?

  • Capital assets (equipment, rolling stock, building, etc.)
  • Working capital (inventory, start-up costs, salaries, etc.)

Look into sources of financing:

  • Investments: personal funds, parents or friends, business partners, private investors
  • Financial backers: financial institutions, financing companies
  • Additional financing: government agencies, leasing companies, economic development agencies, venture capitalist firms

* Don’t forget to confirm the terms, requirements, and conditions of each source of financing.