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Business (Ontario) Start-Up Info-Guide

State/Province Resources

1. Introduction
Owning Your Own Business: New, Existing and Franchise Opportunities

There are three common ways to get into business. You may wish to start the business as a new enterprise, you could buy an existing business, or you may decide to purchase a franchise. Regardless of which type of ownership you are thinking about, there are some basic questions you should ask yourself to assess whether you are ready. To help you with this assessment, there are several documents available from the COBSC:

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Points to Consider When Starting Your Own Business
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Checklists for Going Into Business
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Feasibility Checklist for Starting a Small Business
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Buying a Business

The Online Small Business Workshop is a step-by-step web-based program designed to help develop your business idea, start a new venture, or improve an existing small business.
Information on Buying a Franchise

A franchise is a contractual agreement between an individual or company, the franchiser, and another individual or company, the franchisee. This agreement is the right to sell, in a specified manner and within a specified territory, the goods or services developed by the franchiser.

For further information:
visit the website: Canadian Franchise Association
see the document Checklists for Franchisees
2. Business Planning
What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a recognized management tool used by successful and/or prospective businesses of all sizes to document business objectives and to propose how these objectives will be attained within a specific period of time. It is a written document which describes who you are, what you plan to achieve, where your business will be located, when you expect to get under way, and how you will overcome the risks involved and provide the returns anticipated.
Why Do You Need a Business Plan?

A business plan will provide information of your proposed venture to lenders, investors, and suppliers to demonstrate how you plan to use their money, and to establish a basis for credibility of your project.
Business Plan Guide

This Business Plan Guide is intended to assist an entrepreneur in writing a business plan for the establishment, the purchase or the expansion of an existing business.

For further information:
see the document Business Plan Guide
Interactive Business Planner

The Interactive Business Planner (IBP) is a computer software program that uses the capabilities of the Internet to assist you in preparing a 3 year business plan for a new or existing business.

For further information:
see the document Interactive Business Planner
Other Business Planning resources:

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Business Plan for Small Manufacturers
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Business Plan for Retailers
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Business Plan for Small Construction Firms
* Business Plan for Small Service Firms

Market Research for Your Business

This guide describes the basics of market research and marketing for your business.

For further information:
see the document Market Research for Your Business
Community Profiles

Another useful source of information on the demographic characteristics of the Canadian community in which you are considering marketing your product or service is Community Profiles. This site provides useful information on age, income, education and housing.

For further information:
visit the website: 2006 Community Profiles
3. Organizational Structure

In Ontario there are several ways to start a business, with each structure having advantages and disadvantages. Before you decide which business form is best, you should consider such aspects as personal liability, business name protection, tax advantages and registration or filing costs.
Forms of Business Organization

The Forms of Business Organization document provides a brief description of the four types of business structures and some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

For further information:
see the document Forms of Business Organization
Registering a Business Name or Partnership

Under the Business Names Act of Ontario, all businesses must register their name. Individuals using their own name (e.g. John Smith) to carry on business do not have to register until any word is added to their own name (e.g. John Smith Crafts).

For further information:
call 1-800-361-3223
visit the website: Business Name Registration
see the document Registering a Business Name or Partnership
Ontario Business Incorporation

This document presents an overview of Ontario\'s Business Corporations Act, including the forms required, fees and methods of filing.

For further information:
call 1-800-361-3223
visit the website: Articles of Incorporation (Incorporating a Business Corporation)
see the document Ontario Business Incorporation
Federal Business Incorporation - Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA)

The Act and Regulations specify the conditions that must be met in order to form, operate and dissolve a legal federal corporation. All persons wishing to incorporate their business at the federal level must make an initial filing.

For further information:
call 1-866-333-5556
visit the website: Guide to Federal Incorporation
see the document Federal Business Incorporation - Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA)
Partnerships

In any type of partnership, the members should have an agreement, which would usually be drawn up with the assistance of a lawyer. This document establishes the terms of the business and helps to protect the partners in the event of a disagreement or the dissolution of the business.

For further information:
see the document Standard Outline for a Partnership or Shareholder Agreement
4. Business Taxes

All businesses must be aware of the various taxes that may apply to their product or service. Depending on the type and location of products or services being offered, federal, provincial and/or municipal business taxes may apply.
Taxation Info-Guide

The Taxation Info-Guide is designed to help you navigate through the federal and provincial government programs, services and regulations related to taxation that may apply to individuals starting or operating a business in Ontario.

For further information:
see the document Taxation Info-Guide
5. Business Regulations
Business Regulations Info-Guide

This document will assist you in navigating federal, provincial and municipal regulations that apply to a number of industries and businesses in Ontario.

For further information:
see the document Business Regulations Info-Guide
Business Licences

The Business Licences document is designed to provide general business licencing information for a number of specific industries and is best used as a starting point when researching regulations.

For further information:
see the document Business Licences
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

Find out how accessibility standards, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, will affect business in Ontario. Businesses and organizations who provide goods and sevices to people in Ontario will have to meet certain accessibility standards in five important areas of our lives. Customer service, transportation, information and communications, built environment and employment.

For further information:
visit the website: Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
6. Operating Your Business
Intellectual Property Info-Guide

This document is intented to provide intellectual property information to businesses in Ontario.

For further information:
see the document Intellectual Property Info-Guide

A number of Fact Sheets have been developed to assist you in the daily operations of your business:

* Bonding
* Developing New Accounts
* Selecting Professional Services
* Selecting Your Supplier
* Basic Bookkeeping
* Professional Designations
* Preventing Theft
* Setting the Right Price
* Problems in Managing a Family-Owned Business
* List of Fact Sheets

7. Employing People
Employment Regulations Info-Guide

The Employment Regulations Info-Guide is designed to help you navigate through the federal and provincial government regulations on employment. Although many of your questions will be answered here, the list of regulations given in this document is not exhaustive.

For further information:
see the document Employment Regulations Info-Guide
Employment and Training Assistance Programs Info-Guide

This Info-Guide is designed to help you navigate through the federal and provincial government regulations on employment. Although many of your questions will be answered here, the list of regulations given in this document is not exhaustive.

For further information:
see the document Employment and Training Assistance Programs Info-Guide
8. Other Resources
Small Business Enterprise Centres

Small Business Enterprise Centres can be found in communities across Ontario. At each one, there is a knowledgeable general business consultant and business publications. Seminars are also provided.

For further information:
visit the website: Small Business Enterprise Centres
Ministry of Small Business and Entrepreneurship

The Ministry of Small Business and Entrepreneurship offers a wealth of information for Ontario\'s small business community, from a new start-up to an established high performing firm, by providing connections to the people and resources that contribute to improved competitiveness and profitability.

For further information:
visit the website: Ministry of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Canadian Bankers Association (CBA)

The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) has publications for individuals thinking about starting a business, as well as information on financing for new and existing businesses.

For further information:
visit the website: Canadian Bankers Association
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) provides a wide range of business counselling and training programs, including workshops, seminars and business management courses. Costs for the BDC\'s programs vary.

For further information:
call 1-877-232-2269
visit the website: Business Development Bank of Canada
Canadian Company Capabilities (CCC)

Canadian Company Capabilities (CCC) is an online database which profiles approximately 40 000 Canadian companies. This database contains vital company information that can be searched to locate Canadian suppliers and distribution channels, to determine competition, to form partnerships and to uncover export ventures.

For further information:
visit the website: Canadian Company Capabilities
see the document Canadian Company Capabilities
Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada is required to collect, compile, analyze, abstract and publish statistical information relating to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic and general activities and conditions of the people of Canada.

For further information:
call 1-800-263-1136
visit the website: Statistics Canada
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS)

The Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) provides basic information on operating a business in Ontario.

For further information:
call 1-800-268-1142
visit the website: Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS)
Need More Information?

Click: Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre
Call: 1-800-567-2345
Visit: our Regional Access Program Locations page to locate an office near you
Some of the organizations listed above are not subject to the federal Official Languages Act or the French Language Services Act of Ontario. Their services may not be available in both official languages.
Related Reading

* List of Fact Sheets
* Start-up
* Business Guides

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