Starting a business corporation is the official step in getting your business on track since your brand is now under legal protection by the jurisdiction. In Canada, it costs relatively less in terms of fees compared to other countries, and Canadians can incorporate a business without too much legal requirement. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to start a business from scratch in a step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Search a Business Name and Domain Name
Nuans is the Government of Canada's combined search tool of business names and trademarks. This tool uses a powerful algorithm to list names and trademarks similar or identical to the searched name. You can use Nuans to order different types of reports to help you do preliminary name searches to ensure your desired name is not registered. The reports yield lists of existing trademarks and corporate names that could be potentially confused with the proposed name you searched for.
After ensuring your desired business name is available, the next step is searching the domain name using your business name to see if the domain is available. Unlike NUANS with a name search cost, searching a domain name through WHOIS or domain registrar is free.
Step 2: Submit an Application for Business Registration/Incorporation
In Canada, there are three types of businesses including Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, and Corporation. Furthermore, corporations can be registered at the provincial level and federal level. The first two formats are less popular due to unlimited liabilities possibly affecting personal assets, such as houses, cars, bank savings, and more. For that reason, provincial is a popular option, and the federal corporation is desired if you are planning to do business across all provinces and territories in Canada.
Either registering online through the official portal from Corporation Canada or having incorporation agents such as accounts and lawyers to do on your behalf. We recommend doing it yourself as the cost is $200 CAD, and agents typically charge $1000 on average.
While incorporating a corporation, you’re required to input an incorporator, name of the director(s), registered office address, and an article of incorporating outlining legal terms applicable to the business.
Step 3: Buy a Domain Name
There are hundreds of TLDs (Top-Level Domains) available, including legacy TLDs such as com/net/org, gTLDs, Geo TLDs, ccTLDs. Domain price varies between ICANN-Accredited domain registrars and TLD prices, and some domains can be as cheap as $0.99 with a first-year promo or some cost more than a thousand.
As a Canadian business or corporation, I highly recommend purchasing a CA domain if the Canadian market is the main focus. In order to better protect your brand, a pair of CA and COM domains should be purchased together for brand protection purposes.
Step 4: Create Business Branding - Logo, Brand Color, Brand Vibe
After a domain name is registered, the next step is creating a business logo and branding. A memorable logo should not be generated using an online free logo creator or generator, and it should contact colors, shapes, lines, and vibes reflecting your business.
The cost of logo design service ranges from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars, so it depends on your financial resources. In a nutshell, it is better not to use online logo generators as you might see many similar logos like yours online.
Step 5: Register a Trademark
After a logo is created, it is better to register your logo under a trademark application, as it protects hijackers from stealing your brand by registering logos similar to yours. In Canada, you can register a corporation to secure the business name, and you would need a registered trademark to secure the brand and logo.
Step 6: Create a Website
After all legal work is completed, the next step is building a website for your business, either an eCommerce shop allowing your customers to make purchases online or a display landing site introducing your business. There is no best website builder since each focuses on different customer needs and functionality requirements. For example, there are website builders made for restaurants, hotels, online creators, real estate, and more.
Website is like your brick-and-mortar store online. Now you have your online store, time to kickstart the business and board on the business journey. Kindly share your thoughts or feel free to reach out to the Tapiocan Team if you need website building services.