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Business Planning and Startup Considerations

What do you need to start a business in Ontario? What does the Town of Essex ask you to do? Explore this section to find some useful resources.

Town of Essex Requirements

The Town of Essex requests that you complete a Business Registration form when you start your business. This is not a business license, it is merely a way for the Town to know where and who is operating a business and to ensure your business conforms to zoning requirements.

Certain businesses are required by law to obtain a Municipal Licence. This applies to those businesses that are regulated by by-laws such as taxi cabs and transient businesses.

Registering Your Business and Conducting a Business Name Search

You are required by law to register your business with the Province of Ontario and to obtain a Master Business Licence. You will also need this registration to open a business account with your bank. This is a very simple process and can be completed on-line for a fee. If you want you can also conduct a name search at the same time for an additional fee.


You will want to visit the Canada Revenue Agency website to learn more about charging or claiming HST/GST, payroll, exporting/importing, incorporating, business taxation and other federal government requirements.

Startup Resources

There are many things to consider before you actually start your business. What form of ownership is best? Will you incorporate? Do you need a business plan? Financing? Marketing? What else?

The WindsorEssex Small Business Centre has offices in Essex and Windsor. They provide free, informative workshops on startup considerations and business planning. They also offer a wide range of workshops on a variety of topics including marketing, bookkeeping, e-commerce and more.

Business Start-up Guide. This comprehensive on-line guide has been prepared by Canada Business Ontario and will walk you through the entire startup processes.

Futurpreneur Canada (formerly Canadian Youth Business Foundation). This agency provides a variety of startup supports and resources for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 39. Programs are available for Canadians and new immigrants to start and finance their business ventures.

Canada Business Network. This comprehensive site has information not only on business startup, but also on planning, financing, management, growth and government resources.

Industry Canada. This website offers statistics, industry information, startup resources, advice on exporting and financing, and much more on what you need to know, grow and compete.

Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs. Great site with startup information, growth strategies, special programs, financing, on-line guides and other tools.

Business Plan Templates

Writing a business plan is a valuable way to chart the course of your business and to ensure you've considered all the pros and cons of your concept. A good idea alone isn't enough to be successful. A business plan will make you think about who your customers are, if they want or need your product or service, how to reach them, what finances you will need, suppliers, and cash flow requirements.

Preparing a business plan can be a formidable task, but if you break it down into manageable sections and ask for help, you can do it. Remember, the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre has free business planning workshops where they will walk you through a common business plan format.

Excellent business plan templates can be found at the following links:

Business Development Bank of Canada. Look under the "Articles and Tools" heading for information on business plans and other helpful resources.

BMO Business Plan Essentials. Very useful tools for small businesses from the Bank of Montreal. Visit your own bank or credit union web site as well. Chances are they have a whole section dedicated just to small business needs.

Canada Business Network. The CBN has links to sample business plans. You can look through them and use them as a guide for researching your own business plan.