All about small business permits and licenses

By Samantha Garner | September 27, 2014

small-business-permits-licensesWhen you’re staring your small business, it’s important to make sure you have all of the required permits and licenses in place right from the start. Without them, you could be facing some pretty hefty fines – so don’t cut corners!

A license shows you’re allowed to operate in your area, while a permit is a document that shows proof of compliance with certain laws.

The permits and licenses your company needs will not only vary by industry, but also by city and province. You may need both a municipal and provincial license to operate your business. Most businesses – even some home-based ones – need a license of some sort to operate. License fees are required, so be sure to budget for this.

Often, you’ll need to get approvals or inspections before you can get licenses, sometimes including background checks. Commercial business locations are usually inspected by the fire department. Even if you’re working from home or coordinating a charitable fundraiser, you may need a home occupation permit, or must follow other provincial regulations.

There are lots of different types of licenses and permits depending on your location and your industry. An aerobic instruction company in Calgary, for example, could require an Alberta Sign Application, an Alberta Business Name Registration as well as a Canadian Business Registration, a Calgary Sign Permit, a Calgary Development Permit and a Commercial School License. It’s a good idea to contact your local city or provincial department to discuss licensing. The costs and wait times for each of these permits vary, so be sure to look into the required permits and licenses for your business early on.

Industry Canada runs an online service called BizPal, which helps you find the permits and licenses you’ll need in particular areas of Canada. You may also have to get in touch with local authorities like Development and Building Approvals, Health Services, Fire Department, Gaming and Liquor Commission, Police Services and Motor Vehicle Industry.

Topics: Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

How to make managerial decisions in a small business

By Samantha Garner | September 20, 2014

Decision-making for a small businessMany entrepreneurs are the sole employee of their small business, or are in charge of a team. That means that the tough decisions may fall on your shoulders. But fret not – decision-making is a management skill that can be honed!

When making decisions, keep these things in mind:

–  Have a clear understanding of the decision
–  Consider the vision and values of your company
–  Evaluate the consequences and outcomes of your decision
–  Brainstorm as many alternatives as you can
–  Evaluate the pros and cons of each of those alternatives
–  Be sure the correct person is making the decision
–  Understand how long you have to make the decision

Once you’ve made your decision, you should re-examine it and the effects that it’s had. Avoid relying solely on outside information, but ask experts for their opinions when it’s necessary. Be realistic when you evaluate alternatives – don’t hear only what you want to hear. Remember the importance of the decision, but don’t focus so much on its significance that you’re too stressed to make an effective assessment.

Practice making managerial decisions with friends, family and other colleagues. No, “My way or the highway” is not effective managerial decision-making for a small business. Learn to evaluate, solicit opinions, contemplate, make decisions and follow up.

Topics: Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | September 13, 2014

From competition to dog food trucks, here are four small business blog posts we enjoyed reading this week. We hope you’ll like them too!

Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, Entrepreneurship News | No Comments »

Small business commercial lease checklist

By Samantha Garner | September 6, 2014

Ready to take the plunge on leasing a location for your small business? Review the following components that should be stated in your commercial lease or rental agreement, and consider your requirements for each. Also consider which of these may give you leverage during negotiations, and which you can afford to back down on.

  1. Names of Landlord & Tenant
  2. Address of the premises
  3. Rent amount, payment terms, late payment penalties and any allowable or scheduled increases
  4. Items included in rent:
    • Description of rental space: square footage, available parking
    • Utilities – phone, water, internet, gas, electricity
    • Taxes, maintenance fees
  5. Lease term – start and end date
  6. Damage deposit requirements
  7. Any representations made (statistics or even promises about certain aspects of the site like foot traffic estimates, average utility costs, competitive restrictions)
  8. Zoning information
  9. Permitted uses of the premises
  10. Subletting terms and conditions
  11. Build-outs – Restrictions on and ownership of additions, modifications, improvements, or fixtures added while the space is occupied
  12. Repairs – terms and conditions
  13. Insurance and security requirements
  14. Non-compete clause (restrictions on leasing/renting to your competitors nearby)
  15. Dispute resolution
  16. Lease termination options
  17. Renewal options
  18. Signing incentives
  19. General legal provisions
  20. Additional rules and regulations
  21. Signatures and dates of signing

Topics: Uncategorized | No Comments »

How to better understand your small business’ industry

By Samantha Garner | August 30, 2014

food-services-industryExploring an industry involves gathering large amounts of data, as well as talking to members of the industry – the ones who know most about it. Important information to get about your industry includes:

  • Is the industry growing?
  • Where are the opportunities in the industry?
  • How is new technology being used in the industry?
  • Are there young, successful businesses in the industry?
  • Who are the key players in the industry?
  • What are the typical financial results for businesses in this industry?

Do research, both primary and secondary, to learn more about your industry. Make sure you can answer the questions above before you start or expand your business.

Topics: Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

« Previous Entries