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Your Guide to Starting & Self-Financing 

Your Own Business in Canada


Revised 2016- 2017 Edition


By: Iain Williamson



Published Aug. 2016






THIS REVISED AND COMPLETELY UPDATED BOOK shows you how to start and self-finance your own business in the digital age. Technology has made starting your business much easier than was the case a mere 30 years ago. Social media has made it much easier for your start-up to inexpensively compete with huge corporations.

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 2016/2017 Edition has been updated and revised to reflect the many changes that have taken place in the sources of marketing and statistical information.

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.

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 to grow your business by helping you to communicate with your customers more effectively. Learn how to create your own website and how to sell your products online; through eBay, CraigsList, Etsy, as an Amazon Merchant or through the electronic classifieds.

Find out 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.

His book should be at the top of your must read list if you want to start and self-finance your new business and compete in the digital age.



Your Guide to Starting & Self-Financing Your Own Business in Canada: 2016-2017 Edition; by Iain Williamson; 322 pages; softcover; ISBN 978-1-55270-743-2; ISSN 1191-0518; published in Aug. 2016; Canadian $64.95.   


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CHAPTER 1 - Join the Entrepreneurial Revolution!

The State of Entrepreneurship in Canada

What do we mean by 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?

Futurpreneur Canada


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!

Trade Shows

Print-on-Paper Trade Magazines and e-Magazines

Visit Manufacturers’ Websites to Get Ideas

Visit Retail Stores and the Websites of Retail Stores 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

How Do You Protect Your Invention?

How Can Patents Protect You?

Patents in Plain Speak

Patents in Canada

What Is a PCT Application?


Copyright in Canada

"Fair Use" and "Fair Dealing"

The Significance of Patent or Copyright Protection

Register Trademarks

Create a Working Prototype


CHAPTER 5 - 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

Air Cargo



Post, UPS, FedEx, DHL


Do-it-Yourself Customs Clearance

Customs Brokers

Paying for Imported Goods

Cash in Advance (CIA)

Cash on Delivery (COD)

Open Account

How a Letter of Credit Works

Irrevocable Letter of Credit

Sight Draft

Term Draft

Confirmed Credits

Revocable Credits

Financing with Bankers Acceptances

A Word of Warning on Letters of Credit


Documents on Payment

Documents on Acceptance



Export Leasing

Buyer Credits

Supplier Credits


CHAPTER 6 - 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 7 - 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 8 - Sources of Marketing and Statistical Information

Online Sources

Traditional Sources

Public Libraries

The Importance of Statistical Marketing Information

Statistics Canada (StatsCan)

U.S. Census Bureau

UK Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Eurostat Yearbook 2016

Ipsos Canada


CHAPTER 9 - 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 10 - Legal Form of Your Business and the Government Wants to 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

Name Search

Federally Incorporated Company


The Importance of Structure if You Are Seeking Financing

Obtain Your Business Number (BN)

Sales Taxes

Corporate Income Tax

Small Business Income Tax Rates

Municipal Taxes

Logo, Business Cards, Letterhead, Legal Documentation, etc.


CHAPTER 11 - 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 12 - 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 13 - Choose the Right Computer to Run Your Business

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 Central Processing Unit (CPU)

Clock Speeds

Random Access Memory (RAM)

The Cache


Cards and Other Boards

The Data Storage Devices

Hard Disk Drives (HDDs)

Removable Hard Drives

Removable Disks

Flash Memory Cards

Digital Wallets

Desktop, Laptop, Netbook or Tablet?


Dual Monitors


Communicating with Your Computer

Mice, Trackballs and Graphic Tablets


Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Software


Be Alert to the Cost of Colour Toner Cartridges!

All-in-One Printer-Scanner-Fax Machine



Surge Protection and Power Backup

New or Used?


CHAPTER 14 - Computer Software to Help You Run Your Business More Efficiently

Run Your Business More Efficiently

What is an Operating System?

The Various Flavours of Windows

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 15 - Canadian Accounting and Tax Software

A Review of Accounting Software

MyInvoices & Estimates Deluxe

QuickBooks Pro

QuickBooks EasyStart

QuickBooks Premier

TurboTax Business

Sage 50 Premium Accounting

Sage 50 Pro Accounting

Sage One

Sage BusinessVision Accounting


CHAPTER 16 - Use Customer Relationship Management to Stay in Touch with Customers and Prospects

Why "CRM"is so Important


Maximizer CRM 2016

GoldMine CRM

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

The Role of Video Conferencing in CRM

Keep Track of Your Mailing Lists and Orders Received


CHAPTER 17 - How to Create Your Own Business Website

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


CHAPTER 18 - 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

The Plug-ins

Stand-alone E-commerce Software

Other Shopping Cart Software Programs


CHAPTER 19 - Sell Through Others: Kagi, Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, Kijiji

Hosted E-commerce Solutions


Become an Amazon Merchant!

eBay: The World’s Largest Auction

eBay Categories

Prohibited Goods

Types of eBay Auctions

Second Chance Offer


Open an eBay Store

Requirements to Open a Store

Naming Your Store

Building Your Store

Keep Track of How Your Store is Doing

Where to Learn More About eBay Auctions and eBay Stores





CHAPTER 20 - Use Social Media to Grow Your Business

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

Watch Out on Paid Advertising

Don’t Treat All Social Media as the Same

Web Blogs










Is Social Media Worth The Time?

The Big Shift to Mobile

Don’t Forget to Analyse Your Results

Your Social Media Plan


CHAPTER 21 - 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

Is There a Contingency Plan?


CHAPTER 22 - Your Financing Challenge

The Challenge of Self-Financing

Challenges of the Search

Changing Requirements During Growth

Understatement of the Need

The Need for Growth Capital


CHAPTER 23 - 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

Can Licensing Reduce Cash Outlays?


CHAPTER 24 - Credit Cards, Love Money and Crowdfunding

Financing While Working Elsewhere

Credit Cards

Love Money


What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding by "Micro-Angels"

The Basic Concept Behind the Rewards Model or Perks-Based Crowdfunding




A KickIn Crowd

Going Beyond the Start-up Stage


CHAPTER 25 - Lines of Credit and Some of the"Barriers" You May Face

What is a Line of Credit?



CHAPTER 26 - 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 27 Make Sure You Control Your Costs

The Importance of Cost Control

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



CHAPTER 28 - 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 29 - 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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