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Your Guide to Starting & Self-Financing 

Your Own Business in Canada


Revised 2018-2019 Edition


By: Iain Williamson










This edition has undergone significant revisions to make it more encompassing of the business start-up process. Thus, you will find chapters on human resources and traditional advertising methods.

What does it take to go out on your own and where can you find ideas to start your business? You could manufacture your own products or sell other peoples’ products. Alternatively, you could offer a service. But first, you have to find out if you can sell your products or services and if there is a market for them. Find out where to obtain the latest marketing information and how to establish your marketing strategy. This 2018/2019 Edition has been updated and revised to reflect the many changes that have taken place in the sources of marketing and statistical information. Also, a chapter has been added on Intellectual Property and how to protect your inventions in light of the high level of theft by China.

It covers the registration and legal form you can choose for your business. It also points out how the Government will tax it. It will help you set your objectives. Consider the advantages of operating out of your home and be cautious of leasing commercial premises.

Technology has made starting your business much easier than it was 30 years ago. Computer hardware and software can help you run your business more efficiently and save time and money. Accounting software will help you deal with your financials and taxes. Customer Relationship Management software will help you to communicate with your customers more effectively.

Learn about off-line and online advertising and how to create your own website that will allow you to sell your products online. Find out how to sell through Amazon, eBay, CraigsList or Etsy. Social media makes it easier for your start-up to inexpensively compete with huge corporations.

Determine how much money you really need to get started. Can your business bootstrap itself once it is up and running? Take a look at how crowdfunding could help you. Learn about cash management and cost control. Find out what to do if your business runs into financial trouble.

Author, Iain Williamson, is an entrepreneur, business consultant and seminar leader. His views have appeared in many newspaper articles. He has also been the guest speaker on a CBC Radio phone-in show on starting a business in a recession. In addition, he has appeared on television shows such as: CBC TV's Venture; TVO's MoneysWorth, and Canada Tonight of BCTV and CHCH Television.

Iain spent five years as a financial analyst and knows what makes business tick. For fourteen years he operated his own businesses in importing, high technology and manufacturing. He is now a small business consultant and also owns a book publishing business. He writes from his personal experience in the trenches, as an entrepreneur and consultant, and shares these insights with you. He holds degrees from the Universities of St. Andrew's in Scotland and Oxford.




Your Guide to Starting & Self-Financing Your Own Business in Canada: 2018-2019 Edition; by Iain Williamson; 340 pages; softcover; ISBN 978-1-55270-796-8; ISSN 1191-0518; published in August 2018; Canadian $64.95.   


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CHAPTER 1 Join the Entrepreneurial Revolution!

The State of Entrepreneurship in Canada
What is a Small Business?
Small Business as a Creator of Jobs
The "Independent Contractor"
What is an Entrepreneur, Anyway?
What is the Canadian Government's Part?
Why do People Become Entrepreneurs?

CHAPTER 2 Have You Got What it Takes to Become an Entrepreneur?
What it Takes to Become an Entrepreneur
No Regular Pay Cheque if You Run Your Own Business
Determination and Enthusiasm are the Hallmarks of Successful Entrepreneurs
A Close Regard for Detail
You Need to Be Prepared to Learn New Skills
Be Prepared to Learn from Your Mistakes
Accept Criticism Gracefully
Are You a Risk Taker?
Small Business Failure Rates

CHAPTER 3 Where to Find Ideas to Start Your Business
The Internet
Search Engines
Narrow Down the Search
An Example of a Search
What do People Want?
Needs Abound!
Visit Trade Shows
Print-on-Paper Trade Magazines and e-Magazines
Visit Manufacturers' Websites to Get Ideas
Visit Retail Stores and their Websites to Get Ideas
Drop-Ship Arrangements
Foreign Trade Commissioners
Buy on eBay Wholesale and Sell Individually
Store Your Ideas
Negotiating Prices for Resale Items
Selling on a Consignment Basis
Make Sure Manufacturers Can Back You Up
Be Aware that Some Business Activities are Regulated
Pay Attention to Disruptive Technologies!
Just Look Around You!

CHAPTER 4 What's Involved in Developing a New Product on Your Own?
Make Your Own Products
Create a Working Prototype
Obtain Government Financing

CHAPTER 5 Intellectual Property: How to Protect Your New Idea
How to Protect Your New Idea
How Do You Protect Your Invention?
Patents in Plain Speak
Patents in Canada
What Is a PCT Application?
New Intellectual Property Strategy
Strengthening Intellectual Property in Ontario
Copyright in Canada
"Fair Use" and "Fair Dealing"
The Significance of Patent or Copyright Protection
Chinese Theft of Intellectual Property
Register Trademarks

CHAPTER 6 What's Involved in Selling an Existing Product?
Set Yourself Up as a Manufacturer of an Existing Product
Sell a Domestically Produced Product
Sell Imported Products
Ways to Import Your Goods
Do-it-Yourself Customs Clearance
Customs Brokers
Paying for Imported Goods

CHAPTER 7 What's Involved in Starting a Service Business?
Services Can Cover a Wide Spectrum
Selling Real Estate
Bricks-and-Mortar Retail Stores
Financial Services
Computer Repairs, Installation, Web Design
Digital Photography and Film Making
Book and Magazine Publishing
There's More and More

CHAPTER 8 Is There a Market for Your Product or Service?
The World's Best Mousetrap
"Gut Feel" Marketing
The Importance of a Market Survey
The Challenge of Market Surveys for New Technology
How to Conduct Your Market Survey
What Should Your Marketing Survey Tell You?

CHAPTER 9 Sources of Marketing and Statistical Information
Traditional Sources

The Importance of Statistical Marketing Information
Online Sources of Marketing Information

CHAPTER 10 Develop Your Marketing Strategy
Get to Know Your Competition!
Your Marketing Strategy
Methods of Distribution
Packaging and Merchandising
Advertising and Lead Generation
Your Marketing Plan

CHAPTER 11 Legal Form of Your Business (so the Government can tax it!)
Choose a Great Name!
The Legal Structure of Your Business is Important
Sole Proprietorships
Limited Liability Partnerships
Tax Aspects of Limited Partnerships
Joint Venture (or Undeclared Partnership)
Incorporated Companies
Professional Corporations
Federally Incorporated Company
Name Search
Obtain Your Business Number (BN)
The Importance of Structure if You Are Seeking Financing
The Legal Structure for Independent Contractors
Sales Taxes
Corporate Income Tax
Small Business Income Tax Rates
Municipal Taxes
Logo, Business Cards, Letterhead, Legal Documentation, etc.

CHAPTER 12 Set Your Objectives
Where Do You Go Now?

Setting Your Strategic Objectives
Are Your Strategic Objectives Realistic?
The Peril of Too Many Objectives
Monitoring and Altering Your Strategic Objectives

CHAPTER 13 Operate Your Business From Home or From Commercial Space
Home-based Businesses are a Popular Idea
Home-Based Businesses are Survivors
How Legal is it to Work Out of Your Home or Apartment?
Tax Advantages
Save on Commuting Time
Commercial Space
Bricks-and-Mortar Retail Space
Watch Out for the Lease Renewal Trap!
Locating in a Mall
Find Yourself a Good Lawyer
Bonded Warehousing

CHAPTER 14 Choose the Right Computer to Run Your Business
How Computers Can Help You
What to Do Before You Choose the Computer Hardware for Your Business
Find Out the System Requirements for the Software You Wish to Purchase
The Data Storage Devices
Desktop, Laptop, Netbook or Tablet?
Dual Monitors
Communicating with Your Computer
All-in-One Printer-Scanner-Fax Machine
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Software
Be Alert to the Cost of Colour Toner Cartridges!
Surge Protection and Power Backup
New or Used?

CHAPTER 15 Computer Software to Help You Run Your Business More Efficiently
What is an Operating System?
Device Drivers
The Suites
Adobe Creative Cloud
Microsoft Office
Publishing Software
Business Planning Software
Database Software
Time Management
Project Management
Clip Art and Click Art
Presentation Graphics
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Save Money by Staying Behind the Technology Curve!
The Perils of Obsolescence
Total Cost of Ownership

CHAPTER 16 Canadian Accounting and Tax Software
A Review of Accounting Software
MyInvoices & Estimates Deluxe
QuickBooks Pro
QuickBooks Self-Employed
QuickBooks Desktop Premier
TurboTax Business
Sage 50 Accounting
Sage One

CHAPTER 17 Use Customer Relationship Management to Stay in Touch with Customers and Prospects
What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?
Use CRM to Nurture New Prospects
Use CRM to Enhance Your Relationship with Existing Customers
Maximizer CRM 2016
GoldMine CRM
HubSpot CRM
Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Keep Track of Your Mailing Lists and Orders Received

CHAPTER 18 Advertising and Promoting Your Business
The "Blur" Between Marketing and Advertising
What Marketing Encompasses
What Advertising Encompasses
The Amount of Money Spent on Advertising
Why Spend the Money?
The Advertising Market is Not Homogeneous
"Hooks" for the Business Market
"Hooks" for the Consumer Market
Testimonials, Endorsements, Logos and Trademarks
Is Your Consumer Audience Made up of Yuppies, Guppies, Boomers or Geners?
Hispanic, French-Speaking and Ethnic Markets
Co-op Advertising
Creating the Message
Try to Be Different
Delivering Your Message
Try to Create a Sense of Urgency
In the Creative Process, Make Sure You Achieve Your Objectives
Selecting Your Media
The "Freebies"
Newspapers: Regional vs. National
Trade Journals and Professional Magazines
Magazines from Street Dispensers
Measuring Readership
Positioning and "Out of the Ordinary"
Direct Mail Advertising
Use Direct Mail to Generate Sales Leads
Use Direct Mail to Increase Retail Store Traffic
Use Direct Mail to Raise Money for Charities
Use Direct Mail to Reward Customer Loyalty
Use Direct Mail to Let Customers Try a Product or Service
Direct Mail for One-on-One Advertising and Marketing
Direct Mail Response Can Be Measured
Direct Mail Gets Attention
Cost Effectiveness of Direct Mail in Advertising and Marketing
Discount Rates for Bulk Mailings
Your Internal Mailing List
Direct Mail List Brokers
Get Direct Mail Names from Directories
The Basic Ingredients of the Mailing Piece
Using Your Word Processing Mail Merge Feature
How Long Should Your Letter Be?
Legal Considerations Regarding Copyright
The Best Time to Mail
Unaddressed Bulk Mail
What is Database Marketing?
Ranking Your Customers Using the RFM Method
Advertising in Professional Directories
Advertising in Trade Directories
Billboard Advertising
Transit Advertising
Advertising on Vehicles
In-Store Signage
Exterior Store Signage
Premiums and Incentives
Advertising From the Air
The Challenge of Measuring Exposure
Participating in Trade Shows
Exhibiting in Fairs
Selling at Flea Markets
Crunch the Numbers!
Advertising on Radio
Advertising on Television
Measuring the Number of Radio Listeners or TV Viewers
The Basics of Telephone Marketing
Preparations for Telemarketing
The Outbound Call Centre
The Importance of Targeting Your Telemarketing
Call Centres are Going Overseas
What Do We Mean by Fax Broadcasting?
Suggestions to Make Your Fax Broadcasting More Successful
How to Fax Broadcast
The Do-Not-Call List
The Concept of Lifetime Value of a Customer
Cost of the Mailing Piece Using Addressed Bulk Mail
Testing Your Mailing Piece
Is There Enough Money to be Made with Direct Mailings?
Analysing Direct Mail Response
Frequency When Using Print and Broadcast Media
The Costs of Broadcast and Print Media Advertising
Comparisons Using Cost Per Thousand
The Role of the Advertising Agent
Advertising Standards
Laws Covering Advertising
Privacy Concerns
Canada's Draconian Anti-Spam Laws are an Advertising and Social Media Killer

CHAPTER 19 How to Create Your Own Business Website
The Web–The World is Your Oyster
Register Your Domain Name
It's Easy to Create Your Own Website
Web Hosting
Web Design Software
Include Links to Your Social Media Sites
The Purchasing Funnel
Support Your Web Advertising with Offline Advertising

CHAPTER 20 How to Sell Your Products Online
What is e-Commerce?
Your Shopping Cart
Your Checkout
Your Methods of Receiving Payment
Payment Gateways
Offer Alternative Ways for Your Customers to Order and Pay
International Transactions
Security of Transaction
Main Types of E-Commerce Software

CHAPTER 21 Sell Through Others: Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, Kijiji
Hosted e-Commerce Solutions
Become an Amazon Merchant!
eBay: The World's Largest Auction
Electronic Newspapers
Selling Through Online Video Broadcasters

CHAPTER 22 Use Social Media to Grow Your Business
Your Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)
The Huge Surge in the Use of Social Media
How Can You Use Social Media in Your Business?
Caveat: Social Media is "Social" not "Business Media"
Social Media as the Great Equalizer
The Cost
Paid Advertising on Social Media
Watch Out on Paid Advertising!
Don't Treat All Social Media as the Same
Web Blogs
Don't Forget to Analyse Your Social Media Results
Is Social Media Worth the Time?
The Big Shift to Mobile
Creating & Incorporating Videos
Prepare Your Social Media Plan
Legal Aspects of Social Media

CHAPTER 23 How Many Employees Do You Need to Hire?
Human Resources
Determine How Many Employees You Really Need to Hire
Job Descriptions Form the Basis for Job Specifications
It May Sound Crazy but Prepare Your Own Job Description!
Prepare Job Descriptions For All Your Employees
Salaries and Hidden Costs
Canada Payroll Account Number
Payroll Deductions in All Provinces
Private Worker Health Insurance Plans
Ontario Minimum Wage
Alberta Minimum Wage
B.C. Minimum Wage
Other Provinces & Territories Minimum Wage
Overtime Pay
Hiring Canadian Workers
Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW)
Pay Equity
Personal Information Protection
Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA)
Ontario: Workplace Safety and Insurance
Workplace Safety and Insurance in the Other Provinces and Territories
Termination or Severance
Record of Employment (ROE)
The Balancing Act of Paying to Hire the Best Talent and Trying to Keep Wage Costs as Low as Possible
Third Party Liability
Honesty Bonds or Fidelity Bonds
Intellectual Property and Non-competition Agreements
Employment Contracts
Are Employee Share Ownership Plans a Dream?
Types of ESOPs
Performance Bonuses
Your Human Resource Plan
Use Family Members Where Possible

CHAPTER 24 Identify Your Financial Requirements
What's Your Start-up Going to Cost?
Use Cash Flow Projections to Calculate Your Needs
Will Your Cash Flow be Adequate?
Can Your Business Finance Itself?
The Importance of Knowing What You Need
Observations on Start-up Capital Needs
How Long Will it Take to Arrange Financing?
Costs to Raise External Financing
Do You Have a Contingency Plan?

CHAPTER 25 Your Financing Challenge
The Challenge of Self-Financing
Challenges of the Search for Financing
Changing Financing Requirements During Growth
Understatement of the Need for Financing
The Need for Growth Capital

CHAPTER 26 Can You Bootstrap from the Get-go to Provide Enough Financing?
How Far Can You Go it Alone?
You're Not Alone!
How Much Money Does it Take to Start?
Can You Supply You Own Capital?
Some Preliminary Considerations
The Personal Financial Statement
What is Bootstrap Financing?
A Question of Comparative Risk
Your Pricing Strategies
Tax Planning
Cash Budgeting
Could Licensing Reduce Your Cash Outlays?

CHAPTER 27 Credit Cards, Love Money, Futurpreneur Canada and Crowdfunding
Financing While Working Elsewhere
Credit Cards
Love Money
Futurpreneur Canada
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding by "Micro-Angels"
The Basic Concept Behind the Rewards Model or Perks-Based Crowdfunding
A KickIn Crowd
Accredited Investors in Canada
Accredited Investor Exemption
Non-Accredited Investor Exemption
Offering Memorandum Exemption
Saskatchewan was the First Province to Adopt an Equity Crowdfunding Exemption
Six Provinces Agreed to Start-up Crowdfunding Exemption Rules
Alberta and Nunavut Go Their Own Ways
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and Crowdfunding Exemptions
Exempt Market Dealer (EMD)
Funding Portals
TSX Private Markets (TSX PM)
It's Not Clear Whether the Secondary Marketplace is Working in Canada
SeedUps Canada
National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada)

CHAPTER 28 Lines of Credit and Some of the"Barriers" You May Face
What is a Line of Credit?

CHAPTER 29 How to Manage Your Cash and Inventory
Cash Management 101
Accounts Receivable
Credit Ratings
Collecting Monies Due
Overdue Accounts
Set up a System to Control Your Receivables
Accounts Payable
Cash Balances
Inventory Management
Inventory Management for Retailers

CHAPTER 30 Make Sure You Control Your Costs
The Importance of Cost Control
Minimize the Costs of Using Professional Advisors
Your Energy Costs
Your Transportation Costs
Your Travel Costs
Your Communication Costs
Your Advertising Costs
Factory Automation
3D Printing
Quality Control
Waste Management
Theft and Shrinkage
Your Rental Space Costs
Labour Costs
Subcontracting to Independent Contractors

CHAPTER 31 Self-financing If Your Business Gets into Difficulty
Small Business Failure Rates
If Your Business Gets into Difficulty
Reduce Your Cash Outlays to a Minimum
Layoff Your Staff
Reduce Your Space Requirements
Reduce Your Scale of Operations
Eliminate all Unnecessary Expenses
Stretch Your Accounts Payable
Speed up Your Accounts Receivable
Liquidate Your Inventory
Sell Your Assets
Consider Sale-Leaseback Arrangements
Convert Demand Loans Into Term Debt
Try to Convert Debt to Equity
Arrangements with Your Suppliers
Informal Proposal to Creditors
Formal Proposal
Changes to the Bankruptcy Act
In the End

CHAPTER 31 Plan Your Business and Locate Outside Financing If You Need It
You Have to Prepare Yourself
Ways to Raise Venture Capital
Ways to Raise Debt Financing for Your Business
Ways to Finance Your Business By Giving Up Some of Your Ownership
Government Financing
Export Financing
Further Information









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