Tools and Resources
STARTING A BUSINESS
Browse through this guide to find out more about the licences, permits and regulations that may apply to your business.
Business Plan Guide
Use this guide to learn what elements are considered essential in any business plan and the key points that should be included in each section of your plan.
Word Business Plan Template
Develop your business plan using our Word template.
Excel Financial Template
Develop your financial plan using our Excel template.
Sample business plans and templates
Find sample business plans, free templates, writing guides and interactive tools to help you develop a professional business plan.
Business planning FAQs
Find the answers to questions often asked about preparing a business plan.
6 smart tips for managing a start-up
Keep these six considerations in mind when starting a new business.
Below are the links to the forms needed to register your business as a legal structure only. For a complete description of the name search/registration process and a list of all other licences and regulations that may apply to your business, please refer to the Startup Guide listed above or contact us.
Sole Proprietor, Partnership or Tradename for an existing corporation (Master Business Licence)
Use a credit card to register through Service Ontario’s online portal. Need help? Drop by our office or check out our step by step video.
Download the forms needed to incorporate provincially. No online service available.
Download the forms needed to incorporate federally or complete the process online.
MARKET RESEARCH IS IMPORTANT FOR EVERY BUSINESS, AND SHOULD NOT BE JUST A ONE-OFF ACTIVITY.
Successful businesses conduct research on a continual basis to keep up with market trends and to maintain a competitive edge. Regardless of whether you’re starting or expanding your business, the information you gather and analyze builds the foundation of good business decisions regarding what product or service you’ll offer, where your business should be located, how to price your product or service and how to advertise to your target market.
FREE MARKET RESEARCH REQUEST SERVICES
Secondary Market Research Service – Regional Business Centre
Through our extensive databases, we provide free access to market research data to help you determine the feasibility of your business idea. Our Research Officer will work with you to identify the information you need including, but not limited to, local demographic information, industry analysis, company profiles, etc.
Secondary Market Research Service – Canada Business Ontario
Take advantage of free research services that could help you start or expand your business.
GUIDES AND TOOLS
Guide to Market Research and Developing a Marketing Plan
Work through our guide to help determine the feasibility of your business idea, identify how to promote your product/service and develop a competitive strategy.
Conducting Market Research and Analysis
Learn more about market research, how it can improve your business decisions and how to conduct a market research campaign.
RBC Royal Bank Economics Research
Browse through analysis and forecasts of the economy and financial markets in Canada, the United States and key international markets.
SME Benchmarking Tool
Use this tool to find out how your business is doing compared to others in your sector.
Guide to Greater Sudbury Statistics
Browse through our guide that includes census and local market data.
Sudbury Community Profiles/Key Facts
Browse through some interesting key facts about Greater Sudbury to better understand the market.
Sudbury Census Profile
Use this data to better understand the population of Greater Sudbury (or other cities) and compare it to another city, the province of Ontario or Canada.
Sudbury Health Profile
Get information on Sudbury’s health profile including health conditions, health behaviors, deaths, etc.
Sudbury Economic Dashboards
Read quarterly reports of economic development activities in Greater Sudbury.
Local Labour Market Reports
Browse through labour market information by the Sudbury & Manitoulin Workforce Planning.
Discover local events as well as where to eat, sleep, shop and explore Greater Sudbury.
PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL DATA/STATISTICS
Get data that sheds light on population characteristics such as location, age, income, education level, and more.
Labour and employment data
Find statistics and analysis related to the labour force, employment and income from official Canadian and international sources.
Get the latest official economic indicators, which shed light on the performance of several segments of the Canadian economy.
Industry sector data
Find statistics that can help you better understand your industry, and study the latest trends that could impact your business.
Importing and exporting
Find Canadian and foreign trade statistics and other information that can help you to grow your business.
General research and statistics
Discover resources available through your local Canada Business Network Service centres, Statistics Canada, Canada’s government libraries and the United Nations.
Housing Market Information
Get up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Highway Traffic Counts
View average traffic volume information and accident rate information for each of the sections of highway under MTO jurisdiction.
Browse through our guide to discover the funding resources that are available to help you start or grow your business.
Find government grants, loans and financing with Canadabusiness.ca
Use this search tool to find government funding resources.
Funding Portal Search Tool
Use this tool to access more than 4,500 federal, provincial and municipal government funding programs for businesses, non-profits, charities and research institutions.
Wage Subsidies for Employers
Discover the wage subsidies available to help you hire employees.
ARTICLES & RESOURCES
Demystify your banker
Learn what your loan proposal should contain, what your banker looks for, common bank terms and tips to increase your chances of success.
7 deadly sins in borrowing money for your business
Avoid these common financing mistakes that could jeopardize your business’s future.
Considerations when buying a business
Browse through the considerations to ensure that you buy the right business for you and that you pay a fair price for it.
BDC’s advice on buying a business
Check out BDC’s advice on how to evaluate and finance the purchase of a business.
Canada Revenue Agency implications of buying a business
Find out what you need to know when you buy a business and its effects on CRA accounts/taxes.
SELLING AND/OR CLOSING
Closing or Selling your business
Learn about succession planning and closing or selling a business.
BDC’s advice on selling your business
Find out how to sell a business and lay the groundwork for a successful transition.
Canada Revenue Agency implications of selling a business
Find out what you need to know when you sell a business and its effects on CRA accounts/taxes.
Find the right strategy for handing over or selling your business to someone else.
Closing your business
Some things to do when closing a business include filing a final tax return, paying outstanding tax amounts, closing accounts and financing succession planning.
Get information on alternatives to bankruptcy and details on the process of bankruptcy, if you need to take that route.
BDC’s Financial ratio calculators
Use ratios to evaluate the performance of your business and identify potential problems. Each ratio informs you about factors such as the earning power, solvency, efficiency and debt load of your business.
BDC’s Financial Management Tips and Tools
Focus on your business’s financial health with tips and tools to help you control your finances, manage your cashflow, reduce expenses and make more profit.
RBC’s Small Business Cash Flow Tool
Use this tool to help you analyze your current cash flow position.
Ten ways small business owners can improve their financial literacy
Consider these tips for improving your financial literacy and taking your business to the next level.
Budgeting and Forecasting
Learn how good budgeting and forecasting can help your business succeed.
Bookkeeping and accounting
Learn how keeping good records can benefit your business.
Getting paid by your customers
Consider these tips when you’re managing the collection of your invoices.
Guide RC4022 – General Information for GST/HST Registrants
Download this guide from Canada Revenue Agency for basic information on GST/HST.
GST/HST Information from Canada Revenue Agency
Learn the basics of GST/HST including registering, charging, collecting and remitting.
GST/HST and Indians, Indian bands, and band-empowered entities
Learn how GST/HST applies to goods and services purchased by/sold by Indians, Indian bands, or band-empowered entities.
GST/HST on goods/services sold to other provinces or outside of Canada (Place of supply rules)
Learn the place of supply rules for determining whether a supply is made in a province and how GST/HST applies to the sale.
Guide T4002 – Business and Professional Income (Sole Proprietor/Partnership)
Learn how to calculate the business income and expenses to report on your income taxes as a sole proprietor or partnership.
Guide T4012 – T2 Corporation – Income Tax Guide (Corporation)
Learn how to complete the T2 Corporation Income Tax Return.
Guide T4117 – Income Tax Guide to the Non-Profit Organization (NPO) Information Return
Learn how to complete the information return for a non profit organization.
List of Business Expenses
Browse through the list of business expense items that you can claim.
Learn the requirements for keeping records and supporting documents for your business.
Browse through the Hiring Section of this guide for a list of requirements and resources related to hiring employees.
Browse through the Employment & Training Programs section our guide to discover the funding resources that are available to help hire and train your employee.
Discover the full range of free employment services provided to help you in the recruiting and training process.
Guide RC4110 – Employee or Self-Employed
Hiring an employee or a contractor? Understand how to determine a worker’s employment status.
How Payroll Works
Learn payroll steps, your responsibilities as an employer, and more.
Payroll Deductions Online Calculator
Calculate federal and provincial payroll deductions.
Income Tax Deductions
Learn your responsibilities related to deducting income tax from your employee’s income.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
Learn when and how to deduct CPP contributions from an employee’s pensionable earnings.
Employment Insurance (EI)
Learn how to calculate EI deductions from your employee’s renumeration.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
Learn about your compliance responsibilities.
Workplace Health and Safety (Ministry of Labour)
Explore this website for health and safety regulations and prevention tips.
Employment Standards (Ministry of Labour)
Learn the minimum standards that employers and employees must follow.
Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP)
Learn how the ORPP will be phased in by 2020.
Your obligations when an employee leaves
Find out what your legal obligations are when it comes to an employee leaving your business, either temporarily or permanently.
BDC’s HR Tips and Tools
Learn the tips to recruiting, managing and terminating employees.
Guide to Market Research and Developing a Marketing Plan
Read through our guide to help determine the feasibility of your business idea, identify how to promote your product/service and develop a competitive strategy.
What is marketing?
Marketing is about determining the value of your product or service and communicating that information to customers.
Marketing, advertising and sales regulations
Learn the various regulations, permits and licences related to marketing, advertising and sales.
Review three strategies that you can use to attract the attention of customers.
Learn about the three factors you should consider when setting a price for your product/service.
Online marketing techniques
Discover various marketing techniques to help boost your online presence.
How to use Facebook for business
Learn how to create a business Facebook page and discover best practices.
How to engage fans on Facebook
Learn how to increase the engagement between your customers and your brand on Facebook.
How to create epic Facebook ads
Learn how Facebook advertising works and how to create epic ads.
How to use Twitter for Business
Discover the tactics you need to know to grow your business on Twitter.
How to use LinkedIn for business
Learn how to create a LinkedIn business account.
The Ultimate List of LinkedIn Tips
Read through a list of LinkedIn tips you may be overlooking.
How to use Pinterest for business
Learn how to create a Pinterest business account and discover best practices.
The E-Business Toolkit contains an introductory handbook How You Can Profit from E-Business and a series of booklets on a range of advanced e-business topics that are grouped into four theme areas.
Introductory Handbook: How you can profit from e-business
Guide that demonstrates that not all e-business activities have to be complex or costly to achieve benefits. Those who are new to the world of e-business will find information and tools to help them get started.
TOOLKIT: EXTENDING YOUR REACH
Creating a Dynamic Web Presence
Learn how you can create interactive websites to engage your target audiences.
Increasing traffic to your website through search engine optimization (SEO) techniques
Examine techniques to increase the volume of traffic to your website from potential customers using search engines.
Social media for small business
Learn how to craft a social media strategy as part of your overall marketing mix.
Blogs for Small Business
Examine the opportunities, benefits and how to’s of creating a successful blog to market your business.
Integrate mobile with your marketing strategy
Learn how you can integrate mobile with your marketing strategies to gain an edge in reaching out to customers.
TOOLKIT: INCREASING YOUR SALES
E-Commerce: Purchasing and Selling Online
Learn tips and strategies for attracting, serving and keeping your online customers.
Successful online display advertising
Discover techniques to advertise your business over the Internet.
Learn how to use the internet to sell your products and services to customers in other countries.
Internet auctions and virtual malls
Understand how you can sell or buy online using internet auctions or virtual malls where many sites are listed together.
Customer relationship management (CRM)
Understand the basics of CRM and how the Internet can help you implement it into your business.
TOOLKIT: REDUCING YOUR COSTS
Learn the benefits, concerns and types of cloud computing and what to consider when moving your business to the cloud.
Review the benefits and limitations of the open source approach and browse through a reference list of some of the most commonly used free software.
Integrating back office systems with e-commerce
Discover how to integrate existing back office systems with e-commerce solutions such as online ordering and online selling.
TOOKIT: INFORMING YOUR DECISIONS
Online sources of e-business information
Read through an overview of online information and resources related to e-business.
Benefiting from accessible e-business practices
Learn why e-business and accessibility complement each other and how you can begin to integrate accessibility into online activities.
The legal and privacy issues of doing e-business
Browse through the legal and privacy considerations of doing business over the internet.
OTHER E-BUSINESS & WEBSITE RESOURCES
Free eBook: Succeed with e-commerce
Learn everything you need to get started in or improve online sales Find out how to get your business ready, create your website and attract customers.
Free Website Builders List
Browse through the list of free website builders to help you build your own website.
Website Analytics and Performance Management
Discover how website analytics software can help you gain insight into your website’s traffic statistics.
Free and low-cost web analytics tools for your business
Discover the many tools available to help you track your company’s success online.
BDC’s Free Website Assessment Tool
Get professional feedback on up to 5 pages of your website.
Reporting Internet business activities to Canada Revenue Agency
Read through CRA’s tax information for businesses doing business over the Internet.
E-business and selling to customers outside of Ontario
Explore tax and exporting regulations in your region.
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO)
CIPO is responsible for the administration and processing of the greater part of intellectual property in Canada. Browse through their resources to discover the type of intellectual property that applies to you.
What are patents?
Find out what a patent is, why it is important to business and inventors and how to file a patent.
List of fees associated with patents.
A Guide to patents
Browse through a guide designed to be your introduction to patents and patenting procedures.
Patent application tutorial
Use this tutorial to help you prepare a patent application that meets the strict requirements for filing.
Patent agents list
Access a list of registered patent agents that are accepting new clients.
Canadian Patent Database
Search this database for over 2 million patent documents before you start working on an invention.
Global patent protection: Patent Prosecution Highway
Fast-track your patent application in a participating country once another participating country’s IP office has approved your claim.
What are trademarks?
Find out what trademarks are, why it is important to business and how to file for one.
List of fees associated with trademarks.
Guide to trademarks
Browse through a guide designed to be your introduction to trademarks and the registration process.
Trademark agents list
Access a list of registered trademark agents that are accepting new clients.
Canadian Trademarks Database
Search this database for trademarks before developing your brand.
What is copyright?
Find out what copyright is, your rights and obligations under the Copyright Act of Canada and how to file for a copyright.
List of fees associated with copyrights.
Guide to copyrights
Browse through a guide designed to be your introduction to copyrights and the registration process.
Canadian Copyrights Database
Search this database for all Canadian copyrights registered as of October 1, 1991.
Licence to play copyrighted music in your establishment
Get licenced by SOCAN so you can legally and ethically play the songs your customers love hearing, while supporting creators of music.
What is an industrial design?
Find out what an industrial design is, why it is important to business and how to register for one.
Industrial Design Fees
List of fees associated with industrial designs.
Guide to industrial design
Browse through a guide designed to be your introduction to industrial designs and the registration process.
Canadian Industrial Designs Database
Search this database for registered industrial designs.
Canada Border Services Agency
CBSA is responsible for border enforcement, immigration enforcement and customs services. Browse through their resources for guides, checklists and reference tools related to importing and exporting.
Import-Export Program Account (Canada Revenue Agency)
If you import goods into Canada or export goods to other countries, you should register an account with the Canada Revenue Agency.
International trade training programs
Explore some learning opportunities to help you understand various aspects of importing and exporting.
Step-by-Step Guide to Importing Commercial Goods into Canada
This guide, by the Canada Border Service Agency, provides you with an overview of the commercial importing process for businesses importing goods into Canada.
Checklist for importing commercial goods into Canada
Use this checklist, in conjunction with the Step-by-Step Guide, to learn what you need to do before importing goods into Canada.
Importing is a regulated process. Know the rules and what you need to do to comply with regulations.
Find out if any of these programs can help improve your ability to trade internationally. Some programs can help you with border security requirements to get you or your goods across the border more quickly. Others can help eliminate tariffs or reduce the amount of duty you may have to pay.
Finding suppliers abroad
Discover the resources available to help you avoid certain risks and to locate international suppliers.
Are you ready to export?
Exporting can be a rewarding activity, but it should not be entered into lightly. Find out if you are ready and learn the basics of the export process before you take your business abroad.
Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting Commercial Goods from Canada
This guide, by the Canada Border Service Agency, provides you with an overview of the commercial exporting process for businesses exporting goods from Canada.
Checklist for exporting commercial goods from Canada
Use this checklist, in conjunction with the Step-by-Step Guide, to learn what you need to do before exporting goods from Canada.
There are many opportunities for Canadian businesses to enter markets outside of Canada, but you need to be aware of the laws and regulations that apply to international trade.
Export marketing, sales and logistics
Learn about strategies that can help you market your business and land sales in another country, and get an understanding of the logistics behind delivering your products or services abroad.
Learn about the many financing programs that can help your export business.
Export Development Canada (EDC)
EDC provides products and services that include insurance, financing for Canadian companies and for their foreign customers, bonding solutions, as well as information on opportunities in international markets.
How to Start an Alternative and Complimentary Healthcare Business in Ontario
This guide offers general information for potential entrepreneurs wishing to start an alternative and complementary health care business.
How to Start a Bed and Breakfast in Ontario
General information for potential entrepreneurs wishing to start a Bed and Breakfast.
How to Start a Consulting Business in Ontario
The How to Start a Consulting Business in Ontario guide is designed to provide an understanding of potential license, permit or registration requirements when considering the establishment of a consulting business in Ontario.
How to Start a Construction Business in Ontario
This guide provides general information for potential entrepreneurs wishing to start a construction business in Ontario. It also contains various useful Web links.
How to Start a Restaurant or Catering Business in Ontario
This guide offers general information for potential entrepreneurs wishing to start a restaurant or catering business.
How to Start a Daycare in Ontario
General information for potential entrepreneurs wishing to start a daycare in Ontario.
How to Start a Pet Care Business in Ontario
General information for potential entrepreneurs wishing to start a pet care business in Ontario.
How to Start a Seniors’ Care Business in Ontario
This guide is designed to help you navigate through federal and provincial government programs, services and regulations that apply to starting a Personal Care Home for Seniors in Ontario.
How to Start a Spa or Salon in Ontario
This How-to guide provides information on license, permit or registration requirements when considering the establishment of a Spa or Salon Business in Ontario.
How to Start a Technology or Innovation Business in Ontario
Whether you are interested in new technologies, product innovation or research and development, this guide will help you learn what is needed to start your business.
Guide to not-for-profits
Read through our guide for general information on not-for-profits.
Not-for-profit Incorporator’s Handbook (Provincial Incorporation)
Learn general information on the nature of a not-for-profit corporation and guidelines on how to incorporate such a corporation.
Creating a federal not-for-profit corporation
Read the guidelines on how to incorporate a federal not-for-profit corporation.
Unincorporated or informal not-for-profits
Discover some of the advantages and disadvantages to remaining an informal organization.
Managing your not-for-profit
Learn about effective governance, volunteer engagement, managing finances and accountability, etc.
Forms and publications from Canada Revenue Agency
Download guides, pamphlets, forms related to taxes and not-for-profits.
Registered charity vs non-profit organization
Learn the differences between the two for purposes of the Income Tax Act and the Excise Tax Act.
Applying for charity status
Learn if registration is right for your organization and how to apply.
Operating a registered charity
Browse through resources for maintaining and operating your charity.
Gifting and receipting
What you need to know to issue a receipt, consequences of improper receipting, determining fair market value, split receipting and sample receipts.
Checklists for charities
Various checklists for activities, books and records, receipting, spending requirements, legal status, etc.
What is a social enterprise?
Learn what social enterprise is and if it’s right for you.
Canadian Social Enterprise Guide
If you’re a non-profit organization thinking about creating or already developing a new enterprise, or if you are expanding/formalizing your existing revenue-generating programs, then this Guide is for you.