Starting a business in Ontario

posted in: Business | 0

Many people find themselves with a great idea for a product or service. Even though the prospect of starting a business seems daunting at first, many attempt it. The learning curve is long and difficult, however, success is always at hand.

The most important thing to keep in mind when starting your business, is a clear understanding of your product or service and how you plan to market it, in other words, how you plan on getting the word out so that people come to you.

In any case, below we give you some basic pointers to consider when starting your own business in Ontario:

  1. Time and effort are the two biggest tools of an entrepreneur. Starting a business and running it can be a lot of work. Take time to consider all it will take and your willingness to work for it. Are the risks associated with business’ ups and downs something you can manage?
  2. Structure. What will be the structure of your business? Will if be a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation?
  3. Marketing. Consider a budget for marketing. Many businesses are started without any consideration for marketing, it is important that you take some time to research the potential and evaluate the best marketing options. Who are your competitors and what are they doing? Why should a customer prefer your products over the competitions? Do you need a website?
  4. Financing. How much money do you need to start? Plan your budget realistically and decide whether you need financing. Keep in mind your overhead, every cost including staff, office/store space, marketing, tools and operating budget. Can you support your business and yourself for at least 2 years? Most businesses only find out if they succeed after the second or third year, the first one is usually the hardest one when starting.
  5. The Law. Learn about taxes, licensing, health and safety regulations, etc. Understanding your local and federal legal obligations is important, particularly taxes.

This is a primer of what you should think about when starting a business in Ontario. It is by no means an exhaustive exploration of each element and each one deserves special attention and consideration. Take your time to plan and work hard, good planning and resilience  are trademarks of successful business owners.

A picture from a road in La Mancha, Spain
The road ahead

Another complexity is if you are trying to start a business in Ontario (register it), but that operates at another location outside of the province. When we were asked by Water Dreams Costa Rica to do their web design, we faced an interesting situation. They provide surf camps in Costa Rica and wanted to attract people interested in surfing and SUP. Their main customers are in Canada and particularly from Ontario. Their marketing had to consider several law complications, licensing matters in two countries and business structure and management. A simple idea of having a surf school where people can learn to surf and do SUP, became quite complicated. Fortunately, they were able to sort through the complications and people are enjoying great surfing experiences through the Water Dreams team.

When you are considering starting your business, look at all angles before opening the doors. Digital marketing can do a lot for your business, but do not rely on it to make your business, it is still marketing and as such it is just one component of a much more complex endeavor.