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    Starting a Small Business in Canada: a Checklist

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    starting a small business in Canada checklist

    Officially getting your new venture up and running can feel like a never-ending process. APOLLO shares a small business checklist to help support you on your entrepreneurial journey.

    From registering your business to hiring employees, there are a lot of steps involved in getting set up as an entrepreneur. For this reason, APOLLO has put together a small business checklist to help you turn your business idea into a reality.

    This checklist is from APOLLO’s Small Business Insurance Guide, which you can download for free below!


    Download Your Small Business Insurance Guide

    This document is designed to support entrepreneurs on their entrepreneurial journeys. As a practical guide for new business owners, it includes a checklist for new ventures, information on how to mitigate risks with professional liability insurance, and how APOLLO can help you find the right coverage for your company.

    Download Your PDF


    Your Small Business Startup Checklist

    Whether you’re starting your own accounting firm or becoming a public relations consultant, there are certain steps that each new business owner should take in starting their company.

    Below, you’ll find some of the most essential items you’ll want to check off your lists before you officially launch your business. Each step can help you grow your company, while also mitigating your risk.

    Related: How to start a business in Canada with no money


    Need Insurance for Your Small Business?

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    Small Business Checklist

    • Business Plan – A comprehensive document detailing your mission, vision, industry research, market opportunity, and product or service. It typically includes:

      • Financial Plan – Evaluate startup costs, annual expenses, and/or identify sources for funding, such as crowdfunding, loans, grants, or investors.

      • Marketing Plan – Information on your target market and their pain points, as well as your key competitors, value proposition, and content distribution channels.

      • Business Structure – Decide if you would like to structure your venture as a sole proprietor or owner, a partnership, or an incorporated business.

      • Trademarks/IP – Register trademarks for your company name and logo, and file for any patents, copyrights, or intellectual property protection.

      • Name Registration – A registered company name is the legal representation of your business, unlike trademarking, which protects your brand.

    • Licenses/Permits – Apply for applicable business licenses or permits. Check with associations within your industry or your provincial government for guidance.

    • Business Bank Account – Set up a bank account specifically for your business to help keep your company finances separate from your personal accounts.

    • Tax Registrations – Register with the CRA to receive your Business Number. You may also need to register for your GST/HST Number for goods and services taxes, depending on your business activities.

    • Company Website – Create an online presence to help legitimize your business and provide potential customers with a way to easily find and buy from you.

    • Business Location – Determine whether your operation will be in a fixed location or mobile, and rent, lease, or set up your home office as required.

    • Legal & Financial Advisors – You may want to seek the expertise of legal and financial advisors, such as bookkeepers, accountants, or lawyers, as you build your business.

    • Risk Mitigation – Lower your business’ risks with legal documents and insurance.

      • Legal Contracts & Agreements – Identify whether you’ll need agreements in place for vendors, customers, liability waivers, terms of delivery of services, etc.

      • Business Insurance – Provide yourself and your business with financial protection against accidents or disgruntled clients with professional liability insurance.

    Related: How to start a small online business

    How APOLLO Can Help You on Your Small Business Journey

    It really doesn’t matter if you just started your business last month or you’ve been running your company for years. The fact remains that being an entrepreneur isn’t easy.

    Many people begin a business because they’re passionate about what they do. But with all the responsibilities that come with being a business owner – from administrative tasks to company finances – you may feel like you never get to do the work you love.

    That said, there’s no need to let the “running” of your business take up your entire work day. With the right professional support team, such as accountants, lawyers, and insurance providers, you can set your company up for success and get back to doing what you’re passionate about.

    For example, an insurance partner like APOLLO can help you:

    • Find comprehensive coverage that fits your business

    • Purchase your insurance online within minutes

    • Receive your policy documents directly to your inbox in real-time


    APOLLO Has You Covered

    Get the protection you need in minutes with custom Business Insurance from APOLLO.

    Learn More


    Originally published June 13, 2022, updated August 25, 2023

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