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Your Guide to Starting & Self-Financing 

Your Own Business in Canada


Revised 2020-2021 Edition


By: Iain Williamson









Covid-19 has turned the business world on its head. Millions of Canadians have been thrown out of work and are asking themselves "what do I do now?" Obviously sitting at home in a Lazy Boy watching Netflix is one alternative but that does not generate them any income at a time when they are hard-pressed to pay bills, buy food, pay rent or make mortgage payments.

Starting a business is an alternative but that can be very challenging when businesses are closing down left, right and centre. So, people have to be very careful to choose a business activity that will make money...not in a couple of years...but right from the get go. The pickings are slim but, hopefully, this book will help.

On the other hand, people who are receiving Covid-19 government assistance may not be in immediate panic mode and have the luxury of planning to start a business in the post-Covid era. Many small businesses have closed their doors for good but demand for their goods or services will eventually perk up and offer great opportunities for those bold enough to fill the gap. This book will help them select an area and plan their strategy.

Many retailers, commercial printers, restaurants and others have adopted a method where their products can be ordered online with pick up arranged "at kirb" and at a specific time. This is a klutzy way of running a business but it will probably slow some of the haemorrhaging.

Governments are starting to ease lock down restrictions in order to get their economies going again. Unfortunately, this comes with the risk that Covid-19 will spike again leading to a reversal of easing.

The pandemic may run its course and die out once there are no more people to infect. That could be a very nasty outcome. In the meanwhile, governments are literally throwing billions into research to develop a vaccine, however, experts believe a widely available vaccine will not be ready until 2021 at the earliest. A cure could be even further away.

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 during 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: 2020-2021 Edition; 347 pages; Softcover; ISBN 978-1-55270-834-7; published in November 2020; Canadian $79.95


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Covid-19 Reality Check

The Covid-19 Mortality Rate
The Promise of a Cure
Reality Time Check
Business Opportunities in Times of Adversity
The Dual Approach Taken in this Book
The State of Entrepreneurship in Canada
The “Independent Contractor”
Small Business as a Creator of Jobs
What is an Entrepreneur, Anyway?
What is the Canadian Government’s Part?
Why do People Become Entrepreneurs?

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?

Where to Find Ideas to Start Your Business

Find a Need That Isn't Being Properly Filled
Use the Internet
Visit Manufacturers' Websites to Get Ideas
Visit the Websites of Retail Stores to Get Ideas
Trade Magazines, e-Magazines and Catalogues
Drop-Ship Arrangements
Foreign Trade Commissioners
Buy on eBay Wholesale and Sell Individually
Negotiating Prices for Resale Items
Sell on a Consignment Basis
Pay Attention to Disruptive Technologies!
Just Look Around You!

What's Involved in
Developing a New Product on Your Own?

Make Your Own Products
The World's Best Mousetrap
Bill Gates Provides Another Example
Create a Working Prototype

Intellectual Property:
How to Protect Your New Idea

Intellectual Property (IP) Rights
What Is a PCT Application?
Changes to the Canadian Patent Act
Reforms to the Copyright Board of Canada
The Desired Outcome of the Reforms
“Fair Use” and “Fair Dealing”
Overhaul of Canada’s Trade-Mark Laws
The Significance of Patent or Copyright Protection
Chinese Theft of Intellectual Property

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
Canada is a Trading Nation
Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA)
Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
Do-it-Yourself Customs Clearance
Customs Brokers
Paying for Imported Goods

What's Involved in
Starting a Service Business?

Delivery Service During Covid-19
Selling Real Estate
Bricks-and-Mortar Retail Stores
Financial Services
Computer Repairs, Installation, Web Design
Digital Photography and Publishing
Catering to the Needs of an Aging Population
There’s More and More

Is There a Market for Your Product or Service?

Questions You Have to Ask Yourself
What Marketing Encompasses
Methods of Distribution
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Packaging and Merchandising
“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?
What is Database Marketing?
Ranking Your Customers Using the RFM Method
The Basics of Telephone Marketing
Preparations for Telemarketing
The Outbound Call Centre

Sources of Marketing and Statistical Information

Online Sources
Traditional Sources
The Importance of Statistical Marketing Information
Online Sources of Marketing Information

Develop Your Marketing Strategy

Get to Know Your Competition!
Your Marketing Strategy
Your Marketing Plan

Advertising and Promoting Your Business

The “Blur” Between Marketing and Advertising
What Advertising Encompasses
Advertising and Lead Generation
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
Does Your Product or Service Appeal to the Broad Market or Only to Segments?
Hispanic, French-Speaking and Ethnic Markets
Co-op Advertising
Creating Your 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
Don't Forget the Classifieds
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
Direct Mail Response Can Be Measured
Direct Mail Gets Attention
Cost Effectiveness of Direct Mail in Advertising
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
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
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 Anti-Spam Laws (CASL)
Installing of Computer Programs
Penalties for Violations
Steps Towards Compliance with CASL
It’s Time for CASL to be Repealed and Replaced

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.

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

Operate Your Business From Home
or From Commercial Space
Home-based Businesses are Popular
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

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
Data Storage Devices
Desktop, Laptop, Netbook or Tablet?
Dual Monitors
Communicating with Your Computer
Be Alert to the Cost of Colour Toner Cartridges!
All-in-One Printer-Scanner-Fax Machine
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Software
Surge Protection and Power Backup
New or Used?

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

Canadian Accounting and Tax Software
A Quick Review of Accounting Software

MyInvoices & Estimates Deluxe
QuickBooks Pro
QuickBooks Self-Employed
QuickBooks Desktop Premier
TurboTax Business
Sage 50 Accounting
Sage One

Use CRM 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
GoldMine CRM
HubSpot CRM
Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Maximizer CRM Live
Keep Track of Your Mailing Lists and Orders Received

How to Create Your Own Business Website
The Web–The World is Mine 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

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
Other Shopping Cart Software Programs

Sell Through Others:
Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, Etay, Kijiji
Hosted e-Commerce Solutions
Become an Amazon Merchant!
eBay: The World’s Largest Auction

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 is 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 and Incorporating Videos
Prepare Your Social Media Plan
Legal Aspects of Social Media

Human Resources:
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
Minimum Wage in Other Provinces & Territories
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

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?

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

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?

Credit Cards, Love Money,
Futurpreneur Canada and Crowdfunding

Financing While Working Elsewhere
Credit Cards
Love Money
Futurpreneur Canada
What is Crowdfunding?
Size of the Crowdfunding Market
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)
Crowdfunding Investors are at Risk
SeedUps Canada
Lending Loop
National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Position With Respect to Crowdfunding
Canada’s Draconian Anti-Spam Laws Could be a Crowdfunding Killer
Crowdfunding is Being Suffocated to Death by Overzealous Regulators
Going Beyond the Start-up Stage

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

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

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

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
Number of Insolvencies
Changes to Canada’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Legislation
In the End

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
Final Observations on the Impact of Covid-19








Copyright: 2020 Productive Publications