Checklist For Going Into Business

Starting a Business?


Checklist for going into business:

So you are thinking of starting and managing your own business?  Starting a business is risky at best; but your chances of making it go will be better if you understand the problems you’ll meet and work out as many of them as you can before you start.


When you go through the beginning part of this article, it seems that there are more and more questions but no answers.  It is designed to make you think and maybe to answer a few questions about your business.


Here are some questions that will help you think everything through, as well as what you may need to know and what you may need to do.  Go over the questions and mark your Yes and No answers.


Before You start a Business, what about You? 

 Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Think why you want to own your own business.
  • Am I the kind of person who can get a business started and make it work?
  • Have you previously worked in a business like the one you want to start?
  • Have you worked for another company as a team leader, supervisor or manager?
  • Have you had any basic knowledge of business or any training?
  • Do you have any money?
  • How much free time do you have?



 How much money (capital) you will need to get your business started?

  • Have you counted up how much money of your own you can put into the business?
  • Do you know how much credit you can get from your suppliers, the people you will buy from?
  • Do you know where you can borrow the rest of the money you need to start your business?
  • Have you figured out what net income per year you may expect to get from the business?
  • Can you live on less than this so that you can use some of it to help your business grow?
  • Have you talked to a banker or other financial institution about your plans?
  • Have you talked to your local, provincial or federal government about financing or loans?



  • If you need a partner, do you have one or know someone who does?
  • Do you know the good and bad points about going solo, having a partner, or incorporating your business?
  • Have you obtained legal advice from a lawyer?



  • Do most businesses in your community seem to be doing well?
  • Do you know what kind of people will want to buy your product or service and what you plan to sell?
  • Do people like to live in the area where you want to open your business?
  • Do they need a business like yours?
  • If not, have you thought about opening a different kind of business/store (online/offline) or going to another neighbourhood?


Digital Strategy

  • Your web presence including website, web directories and search engine ranking?
  • How will you promote your business online?
  • How will you sell your products and services cost effectively?
  • Who will manage all your online accounts including Social Media?
  • What is one thing that is very special about your business when conducted online?
  • Who is your online target audience?


Before getting started in any venture, look at these points below and determine your qualifications in terms of marketability and potential business assessment.


Location or Building

  • Can you start your business form home or found a good building for your business?
  • Will you have enough room when your business gets bigger?
  • Can you fix the building the way you want it without spending too much money?
  • Can people get to it easily from parking spaces, bus stops, or their homes?
  • Is the building accessible by wheelchair?
  • Have you had a lawyer check the lease and zoning?
  • Your competition, how far and near are they geographically?


Equipment and Supplies

  • What would be the most efficient way to communicate and interact with customers?
  • Do you know just what equipment and supplies you need and how much they will cost?
  • Can you save some money by buying second hand equipment?



  • Have you decided what things (product & services) you will sell?
  • Do you know how much or how many of each you will buy to open your store with?
  • Have you found suppliers who will sell you what you need at a good price?
  • Have you compared the prices and credit terms of different suppliers?
  • How legate and flexible are your suppliers?
  • Is handling, maintaining, selling and transporting of your goods; require any license?


Record Keeping

  • Have you planned a system of records that will keep track of your income and expenses, what you owe other people, and what other people owe you?
  • Have you worked out a way to keep track of your inventory so that you will always have enough on hand for your customers but not more than you can sell?
  • Have you figured out how to keep your payroll records and take care of tax reports and payments?
  • Do you know what financial statements you should prepare?
  • Do you know an accountant who will help you with your records and financial statements?
  • How much do you know about how to operate a (PC) computer?


Your Business and the Law

  • Do you know what licenses and permits you need?
  • Do you know if you should charge taxes when selling your particular goods?
  • Do you know what business laws or by-laws you have to obey?
  • Do you know a lawyer you can go to for advice and for help with legal papers?


Protecting Your Business

  • Have you thought of internal and external risks associated with your business or product line?
  • Have you made a plan on how to secure and protect your digital interface – your data and so forth?
  • Do you require or have you made a Privacy statement for your business?
  • Have you made plans for protecting your business against thefts of all kinds–shoplifting, robbery, burglary and employee theft?
  • Have you talked with an insurance agent about what kinds of insurance you need?


Buying an Existing Business

Just buying an existing business requires a great amount of research.  The questions below are just a few simple questions if you are interested to know what is involved in purchasing an existing business.

  • What drives you to buy and existing business?
  • Is it a franchise or independent business sales and operation?
  • Have you made a list of what you like and don’t like about buying a business someone else has started?
  • Are you sure you know the real reason why the owner wants to sell this business?
  • Have you compared the cost of buying the business with the cost of starting a new business?
  • Is the stock up to date and in good condition?
  • Is the building in good condition?
  • Will the owner of the building transfer the lease to you?
  • Have you talked with other business owners in the area to see what they think of the business?
  • Have you talked with the company’s suppliers?
  • Have you talked with a lawyer about it?


Business Direction Outline:

The “business direction outline” is a basis strategy flowchart designed to let you organize your thoughts and vision. From a human-centered design approach, the key points of the business direction outline guide are the individual vision, a model for excellence, focus and the 10-year goals. You can use this outline to organize your information in boxes so you can see the direction of your vision as well as where you are headed. You can download your free business direction outline below.


pdf_file| » Download Free Business Direction (3389 downloads)






  • Have you decided how you will advertise? (Online, newspapers–posters–handbills–radio–mail?)
  • Do you know how to create a professional and an effective ad?
  • Do you know where to get help with your ads?
  • Have you watched what other businesses do to get people to buy?
  • Do you know what works in your industry and what does not?


 The Prices You Charge:

  • Do you know how much you should charge for each product or item you sell?
  • Do you know what other sellers like yours are charging?



  • Do you have a plan for finding out what your customers want?
  • Will your plan for keeping track of your inventory tell you when it is time to order more and how much to order?
  • Do you plan to buy most of your stock from a few suppliers or otherwise?



  • How effective is your selling strategies?
  • Have you decided whether you will have sales clerks or self-service?
  • Do you know how to get customers to buy?
  • Do you require POS/POP devices for your business?
  • Have you thought about why you like to buy from some sales clerks while others turn you off?



  • If you need to hire someone to help you, do you know where to look?
  • Do you know what kind of person you need?
  • Do you have a plan for training your employees?
  • What do you know about the employment or employment related regulations or acts?


Credit for Your Customers:

  • Have you decided whether or not to let your customers buy on credit?
  • Do you know the good and bad points about joining a credit-card plan?
  • Can you tell a deadbeat from a good credit customer?
  • Do you have a Credit Policy in place?


A Few Extra Questions:

  • Have you figured out whether or not you could make more money working for someone else?
  • Does your family go along with your plan to start a business of your own?
  • Do you know where to find out about new ideas and new products?
  • Do you have a work plan for yourself and your employees?
  • Have you gone to the nearest Canada Business-office


And of course..

  • What business are you in? (Your industry, sector, product(s) and service(s)). Please see below to discover your industry SIC / NAICS codes.


If you have answered all these questions carefully, you’ve done some hard work and serious thinking. That’s good. But you have probably found some things you still need to know more or do something about.

Do all you can for yourself, but don’t hesitate to ask for help from people who can tell you what you need to know. Remember, running a business takes guts! You’ve got to be able to decide what you need and then go after it.




SIC and NAICS  Codes:

SIC (Standard Industry Classification) and NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes are an easy way to group companies engaged in the same economic activities, like energy, technology, health or manufacturing.

SIC was used by the Canadian and US governments until 1987, when both countries adopted NAICS.  To date, some databases still continue to use SIC.


For more info and to search your industry code, » click here.


To acquire additional help, you may contact:

» Canada Business Network on updated information on various start-up business loans.  Your provincial and the federal government have many programs in place to help you grow your business.  In addition, you may contact » Business Development Bank of Canada; they are an excellent source of financial programs in many different sectors of the economy.



So far, so good..

As you know, the luxury and convenience of owing your own business comes with a price.  Tens of thousands of people are opting for this way of life, a life in which they can make their own hours, commute to work in seconds, make their own choices and become their own bosses.


For some, the business is becoming the location for a full-time job and the primary source of income.  For others it is a part-time venture.  Many start on a part-time basis and grow their business into a full-time operation.


Everyone’s situation or business model maybe different, where permits, start your business on a smaller scale first.  Again, depending on your type of product or service, you can set things to work from home, by cutting down the expenses.  While working at home has an almost irresistible appeal to many, and many have some big misconceptions of what it is like, here is some very useful information Checklist-for-going-into-business that can help you get started successfully.




Legalities of Working from Home:


Before setting up your new business, it would be advisable to check on the legal status of your business.  You need to check zoning laws and by-laws for your community that may dictate if you can legally operate a business from home. We realize that many businesses never check on zoning for their home-based business and chances that they ever get into difficulties with the law are probably pretty slim. If there are no changes in structure and you do not have customers and or employees enter your home, regulations will tend to be far easier.  Laws and regulations change from community to community, but the following 5 factors will generally be regulated items:


  1. Separate business and private entrances.
  2. Square footage of the home, which is taken up by commercial space.
  3. Employees working in the home and insurance.
  4. Certain occupations such as jewellery or clothing.
  5. Storage of commercial goods, especially large items or any hazardous materials.


Your Work-space:

First, you must determine how much space you need.  Chances are what you may initially think is quite large may be crowed or not enough space.  While many businesses are started from a corner of the bedroom or kitchen, if the space is available, it would be far better idea to take a spare area of the house and convert it into your office.  There may be space in the basement, garage, or a spare bedroom.  Having a separate space is more efficient and will make for maximum efficiency.  It is also psychologically important.  You do not want home activities to interfere with your business, or vice versa.


Business License:

Most cities or counties require businesses to be licensed.  Some home-operated businesses, however, are not required to have a business license.  Check with your local City or » Canada Business Network to obtain regulations for your locality.


Business Registration or D.B.A.:

If you are using your own name as your business name, it will not need to be registered, but if you use any other name, or even your abbreviated name, almost all localities require that you register the name.  This is called a fictitious name registration or D.B.A. “Doing Business As” registration.  If your name is: “Max M. Smith” and you name your business “Max M Smith” you will not have to register it, but if you call it: “MaxM Systems”, “MMS Enterprises” or “Max Smith Agency” you will generally have to register the name.


Most provinces and territories have a name search agency or bureau, check online.  You will be able to do the search online or call to see if a given name has already been registered to someone else in the province.  This is important to do, or it could be costly later.  You must note that in some cases, for example in Ontario you can register your business with » Ministry of Government and Consumer Services .  In addition, some cities require that you get a municipal license in addition to your provincially regulated business license or registration.


Incorporating Federally:

To search, file and incorporate a company federally, contact the followings. » Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Corporations Canada | Innovation, Sciences et Développement économique Canada Corporations Canada – ISEDC .


ISEDC – In addition to business services, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada works with Canadians in all areas of the economy  and in all parts of the country to improve conditions for investment, enhance Canada’s innovation performance, increase Canada’s share of global trade and build a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace.


Your Company as a Legal Entity:

Businesses are most commonly set-up as one of the following entities:

  • The Sole Proprietorship,
  • Partnership,
  • Incorporation,


If you are not sure what form of business you are launching, contact an attorney to get a better understanding of what works best for you.



Factors that will determine your success:

 Do Your Homework:


Business Problems Outline:

While it is true that nobody likes having problems, great opportunities can actually come out from such problems. Don’t let business problems take you in a different direction, but rather use it to grow your business by turning the problems into opportunities.  Because of the dynamic nature of each business problem, this flowchart only provides an overview of how to organize the information relevant to the issues surrounding your business problems.


It gives you a synopsis of some of the strategies you need to come up with, and you have to contemplate on these strategies to determine which of them to implement on this chart. Once you are able to develop enough insight and have a firm grip of the problem, then you can start adjusting this chart as you progress through solving the problem. Please remember that this is an outline designed to help you organize your information. Download your free copy below.

pdf_file| » Download Free Business Problems (3347 downloads)



The more you know about your business, the better your chances of success.  Research online, attend seminars and join trade associations. Read books and trade publications.  If you do not have a business background, a business introductory class at a local college or online would be highly advisable.


You Must Wear Many Hats:

Small business owners over time can become experts on a variety of subjects.  At the start the most important aspect is the mind-set.  Your communication to the rest of the world through all available means will determine your success.  Here is an abbreviated marketing checklist:


  • Web, App, Telephone,
  • Promotional Material,
  • Digital Promotion,
  • Advertising,
  • Membership in Organizations,
  • Direct Sales,
  • Etc..



So What Are Your Chances:

The better you think they are the better they generally are, and don’t forget that among thousands of others: Apple, Domino’s Pizza, and Walt Disney all started as home-based businesses.


Resources and Associations:

There is a great deal of expert advice and resource material available to you.  Much of it is free of charge.  A variety of literature is available, both excellent books on all business subjects including online and various magazines.  Your local Chamber of Commerce often sponsors classes.  Banks can give you advice, or can be used as a sounding board.   And, don’t forget the Public Library it can be an extremely useful resource.  Also it’s a good idea to get listed in various types of directories, and local search engines.

Planning is Key to Your Success:

You and your family’s future and livelihood are at stake.  Therefore, your decision and planning to start a business are very serious matter.  Establish a long-range plan, which encompasses your business, and financial plans.  You should obtain legal or financial advice from an attorney or accountant before committing to any long range or major financial transactions. Agreements with suppliers or customers should be put into writing.

Also as discussed earlier, your “Business Plan” is the real key to your venture. Running a business without a business plan can be a difficult task. If you are serious about your business, we highly recommend that you prepare a business plan. If you need any help with the business plan, contact your nearest office of » Canada Business Network.  They are a great source of information.  Their information is listed with in the next few pages.


Goal Planning Template:

There is nothing new about this template as most of us have used it or similar templates in the past for a variety of reasons. The goal planning template uses the standard S.M.A.R.T. method as well as the primary, secondary and third goals objectives. Please download and use it as you deem fit.

pdf_file| » Download Free Goal Planning Template (2762 downloads)




Financial Planning:

It is said and also my own personal experience that owners of new businesses never have enough time or money.  The majority of small businesses that do not succeed will fail because they are not properly financed.  Financial planning and carefully reviewing all required start-up expenses as well as on-going expenses before revenue will be generated is the most crucial point of starting a business.

Estimate your profit margins and all fixed and controlled expenses. Almost all entrepreneurs will tend to be much more optimistic about their estimate of the financial performance of a business taken what is necessarily realistic. There are always unforeseen expenses.


It is a good idea to only invest in absolutely necessary expenses. This applies to furnishings, supplies and all equipment.  Computer equipment in recent years has become outdated within a short period of time.  So, if what you acquire will serve you well for 2-3 years will be able to upgrade your equipment later on.


Your emphasis should be on conserving capital.  As your business develops, unexpected hurdles will come along and periods of low revenue.  Your capital will make it possible to keep your business operating during these times.


For information on » Financial Planning part of Business Planning, visit the business plan section and download your free business plan kit template.






Learn more about:

Business Plan and Strategy

Marketing Plan






Checklist for going into business |