How to Start an Ontario Business on a Budget

Jun 9, 2017

As of December 2015, there were over 1.1 million employer businesses in Canada.

If you are planning on becoming one of the million businesses in Canada, you may be wondering where you should start.

There are steps you’ll need to take to start an Ontario business. And it won’t cost you a whole lot of cash if you’re not in an ideal financial situation.

If you are not sure where to start, we’re here to help.

Read on to find the steps you’ll need to start your new business venture.

Make a plan

Every new business starts with a solid plan. So first you’ll need to sit down and figure out your Ontario business plan.

Start thinking of these things:

  • What type of business? You should have an idea of what type of business you are starting. You’ll also want to make sure you’re deciding how you’re going to register your business, whether you want it to be a Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, or Corporation.
  • Name your business. What is the name of your business going to be? Your business name should be applicable to the services you’re providing, or the products you’re going to be selling. You should also make sure that your business name isn’t too similar to another established Ontario business. Please also remember that your business name cannot appear to be associated with the Crown, the government, or a province.
  • Where is your business location? You want to take into account where your business will be located. You’ll have to do research to discover which cities and neighbourhoods will fit your business. You’ll also want to make sure that the location you decide on fits within your budget.
  • What is your marketing plan? How are you going to be reaching your future customers? You’ll need to do some research to check how consumers respond to things like emails, websites, or fliers. You will also need to look into professional advertising and creating a website.

Figure out your finances

If you are going to start a new business, you have to make sure that your finances are in order.

Financial planning

You’ll want to make sure that you’re also creating a financial plan. You want to take into account where your business is, the growth trends of your industry, and where you see your business in three or five years.

Some things to consider when drafting your plan:

  • Create a business objective. It’s imperative to know your business goals and objectives. This will give you overall guidance of your new business venture. Plus, you can always reflect back when you need direction.
  • What is your business model? The type of business model you choose will be your overall guide for your finances. Whether you’re choosing a direct sales model or subscription model, the business model you choose will have to be effective for your type of business.
  • How do you see your business growing? While your Ontario business is still new, you will need think about the future. To do this, you’ll need to set goals and map how you will achieve them. Having a solid objective will give you the drive to make your goals reality.


How are you going to finance your new business?

Financing your new business is a major question to ask yourself.

A lot of small business owners do have their own money that they have saved in order to start their new business.

While you may have saved up some funds, you may also need to look into business loans. It simply depends on your financial situation.

If you are in need of financing, don’t fear. There are options available to you.

We’ll take a look at a few of them here:

  • Government grants – Some people may not qualify for business loans through a bank or institution. You may want to see if you qualify for government assistance.You can research to see which grants are specialized for your specific business needs. By choosing this option, you’ll be able to save a lot of money on interest.
  • Private business loans – If you don’t qualify for a government assisted business grant, you can also see if you are able to secure a financial loan from a private bank or institution. While this may cost you more money and require more qualifications, it is another option. You can shop around for lower interest rates.You can choose a debt or equity payment plan. A debt loan will require you to pay back your loan in full, plus interest. An equity loan will allow the institution to essentially reap the rewards from your business.
  • Crowdfunding – A relatively new way of financing a business is crowdfunding. If you are trying to start your Ontario business on a tight budget, this might be the best option for you.There are tons of platforms you can access to request funding from the public to finance your business venture. This type of financing has proven to be successful, especially if your business benefits society in a positive way.
    This is a great way to save money while trying to start your business, as it doesn’t require you to pay back any of the funds that you are borrowing.

Register Your Ontario Business

Before you set up shop, you should register your business officially. This way you are ensuring that your business is a legitimate business in the eyes of the government.

Some steps you’ll need to take to register your business in Ontario:

Search your business name

While you may have already done this step when you were choosing your business name, it does need to be done officially.

This can be done by a Searcher of Records.  And you may need to show proof of this name search, such as NUANS Name Reservation Report, if you are registering a Corporation.

Fill out the appropriate documentation

Before you fill out your business application, you need to make sure you have the appropriate information.

This information will include:

  • Your business name
  • The business address (a P.O. box will not work here)
  • A short description of the business
  • Your full name
  • Your home address


The business application can be submitted by mail, in person, or online.

Check for other registration and certifications

Dependent on your type of business, you may have other registration and licensing that needs to be done to ensure you’re following government laws.

You can find out what additional registrations or licences you may need online at It’s always best to double check that you have all the necessary registrations for your business.

You don’t want to be caught missing a licence after you’ve already established your Ontario business.


Starting a new business is an exciting time.

But there are some steps you need to take to ensure that you’re following proper protocol.

Take into account your business and financial planning. Setting objectives will help guide you on your new business journey.

You should also make sure that you’re registering your business properly with the government.

Once you’ve gotten all your ducks in a row, you’ll soon be on your way to a successful Ontario business.

If you need assistance with any of these steps, reach out to professionals who will be able to help you with any of your business needs.



Free NUANS Preliminary Search
Free NUANS Preliminary Search
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