7 Important, Overlooked Steps To Start a Business in Ontario

Sep 14, 2021

In Canada, there are 1.2 million employer businesses and almost 98% of those were small businesses. More than half of small employer businesses in Canada are in Ontario. If you want to start a business in Ontario, this statistic may seem overwhelming.

By following the right steps, you can begin your business in no time. Read on to learn about seven important steps it takes to start a business in Ontario.

1. Create a Business Plan

Starting a business anywhere in the world involves coming up with a great business idea and this is no different if you want to do business in Ontario.

Writing out a business plan helps you examine all you need to know about products, the industry, and the current business market. This is how you test your business idea and present it to investors and lenders.

In this business plan, you can include the name you want your business to go by. This also takes a lot of research as it comes with marketing and legal considerations.

A memorable and positive name can make your company easy for your customers to remember and share with others.

2. Choose Your Business Ownership

There are three main forms of business ownership in Canada. The structures include sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. However, there are options within these structures.

The main factors you should consider when choosing a type of business ownership include tax deductions and your comfort level with liability. There are other important factors to consider as well.

You can find more information on these business structure types in our blog post on business structure types.

3. Look Into Small Business Financing

When starting a new business in Ontario, you may not have the finances to get up and running on your own. Luckily, there are resources out there to help.

Some of the more common options you can consider are debt financing, sharing equity, and government grants. Each financial method comes with a different set of obligations. Be sure to review your policy before making a final decision.

4. Get Licensed

Some people starting a business in Ontario think they don’t need a licence. While this is true for many businesses, some new businesses must be licenced, in addition to being registered with the Ontario government, before operating in Ontario.

It is also important to note that you may need more than one license or permit depending on the business you open. You can find more information on the licences and permits you may require online at BizPal.ca.

5. Register for GST and HST

When you begin a business, your goal is to make more than $30,000 for an entire year. When you make over this amount of money for four consecutive quarters, you must register for the goods and services tax (GST) and harmonized sales tax (HST).

If you are a taxi or limousine service, you must register for these taxes even if you make less than $30,000 for four consecutive quarters.

It is important to register for this as soon as possible even if you aren’t making money at the beginning. When you register, you can get input tax credits that allow you to get back the GST/HST that you spend on business purchases.

6. Get Ready to Hire Employees

Employees may be the last thing on your mind when you are thinking about starting a business.

If you are planning to hire employees make sure to learn about handling worker’s compensations, payroll deductions, and employment insurance.

Also, depending on your business, you may have to buy additional insurance when you begin a business. For example, the extra protection that covers property, business interruption, general liability, disability, and key people may also be necessary. An insurance agent can discuss these options with you and let you know which ones are right for your company.

7. Keep Good Records

One of the most overlooked steps when starting a business is record keeping.

When you keep good records, paying taxes and accounting is a much easier job to handle. You can begin by opening a bank account just for your business to help separate business expenses from personal expenses.

Accounting software and/or working with an accountant can also help you maintain your financial records.

For Corporations, a Minute Book can help maintain your corporate records as well.


Starting a business in Ontario doesn’t have to be complicated.

At Opstart, our goal is to make registering your business as quick and easy as possible. In fact, you can get started today and find a name that is available for your business by using our Free NUANS Preliminary Search.

The NUANS database is Canada’s most comprehensive registry database and contains registration information for all business and trademark registrations across Canada. This database is owned by Industry Canada and is regularly updated by each province/territory to ensure accuracy.

Using our Free NUANS Preliminary Search allows you to search the NUANS database for free and determine if a business name is available for registration. Once you’ve found a name that’s available for registration you can take the next steps to register and launch your business under that name.

Free NUANS Preliminary Search
Free NUANS Preliminary Search
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