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How To Start A Business - A Checklist

Have you been dreaming of starting your own business? Do you have that entrepreneurial spirit but have no idea where to start?

That's what we are here for. We've created a step-by-step checklist of how to start a business in rural Alberta for you to follow. You can download it or view it below.

Starting A New Business CFNA
Download PDF • 15.43MB


  1. Develop your business idea

    1. What problem do you want to solve?

    2. The solution

    3. Your target market

    4. The competition

    5. Your sales channels

    6. Marketing activities

    7. Main sources of revenue

    8. Key expenses

    9. Unique value proposition

    10. Business team & key roles (owners, key employees, business professionals)

    11. Partners (suppliers)

  2. Research the business idea

    1. Market research supports business

    2. Additional research into political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental conditions that may affect business

  3. Write the business plan or business canvas

    1. Detailed plan about the business, including products or services, prices, location (online or physical), and sales channels & marketing activities

  4. Understand your Startup costs

    1. Expenses required for Startup

    2. Cashflow projections (revenues and expenses) for Year 1 & Year 2

  5. Plan your Startup finances

    1. Determine what finances are required, based on Startup expenses & cash flow projections

    2. Establish your net worth & personal budget

    3. Determine your personal investment in the business (cash, equipment, building)

    4. Source financing (personal investment, lenders, guarantors, investors)

    5. Determine your collateral for any lending

    6. Confirm financing for your business (loan, personal investment, other investment)

    7. Add in any loan payments or dividends to cash flow projections

  6. Determine professional or business assistance required

    1. Bookkeeper or accountant

    2. Lawyer

    3. Insurance

    4. Marketing

    5. Website development

    6. Information technology services

    7. Human Resources services

    8. Suppliers

    9. Independent contractors (construction or core business)

  7. Determine your business structure

    1. Sole proprietor

    2. Partnership

    3. Corporation

    4. Alternatives - cooperative, social enterprise, non-profit

  8. Investigate your legal requirements

    1. What provincial or federal regulations affect your business?

    2. What occupational licenses or training are required?

  9. Determine where your business will be located

    1. Physical location

      1. Will you rent or buy a location?

      2. Lease or purchase agreement

      3. Leasehold improvements required and quotes to complete

    2. Online or Virtual Space

    3. Mobile Location

  10. Create and register your business name

    1. If you are a sole proprietor, operating under your legal name, there is no need to register the name or business

    2. Under all other types of business, you must register the legal corporate or trade name, after conducting a name search

    3. If your business is to be incorporated, file incorporation documents, including the business name

    4. If your business is a partnership, file a partnership declaration, including the business name

  11. Apply for all necessary permits and licenses

    1. A building permit is required by the municipality for the construction of a new building and any major structural changes or additions to an existing building (leasehold improvements)

    2. A development permit is required by the municipality for exterior signs, to determine if the business is permitted in that location, occupying space, or change in use

    3. Business licenses may be required by the municipality

  12. Establish a business bank account

  13. Set up your accounting system

  14. Register for government remittances

    1. Income tax account

    2. GST account, if sales exceed $30,000 per year or quarter

    3. Payroll deductions

    4. WCB account

  15. Create a brand, marketing strategy, and promotion plan

    1. Who is your ideal client?

    2. Where does your ideal client live on social media? (which social media channel?)

    3. What problem are you solving for your ideal client?

    4. What results are you offering your ideal client?

    5. A brand includes the brand personality, core values, ideal client, logo, color palette, and unique business positioning.

  16. Develop a basic web presence

    1. Facebook business account and/or website

    2. Google my business

    3. Other social media accounts - Instagram, Twitter, YouTube

    4. Optimize your search engine results

  17. Finish setting up your business

    1. Completion of leasehold improvements

    2. Hiring employees or contractors

    3. Install equipment

    4. Stocking merchandise

    5. Plan opening

We know that this can seem overwhelming, but just take it one step at a time. Remember, we are here to help you and we want you to succeed!

Reach out to our Business Analyst in our office for help, advice, and direction!


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