Small Business BC is at Vancity’s North Delta Branch Every Wednesday

Did you know only 30 per cent of small businesses make it past the two-year mark?  According to Forbes Magazine, one of the biggest reasons small businesses fail is because of poor business planning. Seeing a Business Advisor is one of the best ways you can get the advice you need to start and grow your business successfully. Every Wednesday, Small Business BC will be at the Vancity’s North Delta branch with a Business Advisor on-site to support you by giving advice, providing resources and answering questions for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

We’ve asked one of our Business Advisors, Amy Elgie, to answer some common questions we hear at Small Business BC, and to give a few tips on how to make your business thrive.

Q: Is it necessary to register my business?

A: If you’re working by yourself, you don’t need to register as a business. You can simply conduct business under your own name. But there are advantages to operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership, like making tax breaks, banking and marketing.

Q: What’s the difference between federal and provincial incorporation?

A: There are benefits and drawbacks to federal and provincial incorporation. For example, federal incorporation protects your business name more and gives you wider rights to do business. However, there are some downsides to federal incorporation. There’s more paperwork to fill out, and there may be additional costs depending on the province you’re working in.

You can learn more about federal and provincial incorporation here.

Q: Do I need a business license, and what kind do I need?

A: Most areas in BC need you to have a business license. A business license gives you permission to operate your business inside a municipality. But you may also need to get a license in other municipalities that you operate in.

It’s important to contact your local city hall and the city halls of municipalities where you’re doing business. They’ll let you know which permits you need. And make sure you’re aware of any other federal, provincial and/or municipal regulations by speaking to the appropriate authority and by visiting BizPal.

Q: How do I find the regulations I need for my business?

A: There are a few steps to find out the regulations that apply to your business. First, check out BizPal. That site will tell you the licenses and permits required to do business in your municipality, and any additional licenses and permits you may need to operate. Next, check out the Canada Business Network for general information on regulated business activities and industries, and then BC’s business resources for BC-specific information.

Q: Can I start a business in BC if I’m not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident?

A: Yes, you can start a business, as long as you meet the legal and tax requirements. You must have a physical address for your business and fulfill all the usual legal regulations for starting a business. You also need to submit a tax return on any Canadian revenue you earn. You can do this by setting up an account with the Canada Revenue Agency while you’re registering your corporation.

Always check with Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) in Vancouver to make sure you have the right permit to enter the country. Also, please note that a working permit and Canadian citizen aren’t the same. To be a Canadian citizen, you need to apply for to the CIC for citizen status.