Tips for newcomers starting a business in Canada

According to the 2019 RBC Small Business poll, the number of Canadians who are considering business ownership is on the rise compared to last year (57 per cent in 2019 vs. 54 per cent in 2018). The poll also looked at what the profile of small business entrepreneurs looks like in Canada. Below are the findings:

Nearly half (42 per cent) of small business owners are baby boomers (people born in the years following World War II) and 24 per cent are millennials (people who reached adulthood in the early 21st century).
Half of the boomers (49 per cent) who have started or are thinking of starting a business say they want to continue using their rich experience to supplement their retirement income.
For millennials, almost three out of every four (70 per cent) have thought about owning a business and are motived by: having control over their career (92 per cent), doing something that aligns with their personal values (89 per cent), and bringing something new and exciting to the market (85 per cent).

Many newcomers express an interest in becoming entrepreneurs.  Starting a business for newcomers can come with extra challenges such as a small network in Canada, language barriers, limited knowledge of Canadian business practices and difficulty accessing credit.

Below is some helpful advice if you are interested in starting a business in Canada:
Build a Credit History. A limited credit history can impact your access to financing. Your banking records from another country would most likely not be readily available to Canadian financial institutions. One of the easiest ways to start developing a Canadian credit record is to apply for a credit card and use it wisely.

Develop Your Network. One major challenge of starting a venture in a new country is the absence of relevant contacts. To start building a network, look for an association you could join or events to attend. Identify those knowledgeable about your field and solicit feedback on your ideas. The people you meet might be able to provide market intelligence, and might also become friends and mentors.
Don’t forget to leverage your supplier/producer networks in your home country – an advantage you have as a newcomer.

Create a Business Plan. Creating a business plan is not unique to a newcomer hoping to start a successful business, but it is perhaps more crucial. The research process will provide you with in-depth knowledge of a market that might be unfamiliar. You can also clarify your strategy and vision at this stage and pivot where appropriate. The financial planning and projections you develop in this process will also aid in securing financing.

There are plenty of activities that take place across Canada for Small Businesses throughout the year. Be sure to check your local listings to take advantage of events that may be of interest to you.

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