print page icon

Business 101

Starting a business requires an informed plan and understanding of the feasibility of your product or service in the marketplace.  Here are some key milestones and resources to consider as you undertake your entrepreneurial journey. 

Please remember if you have any questions you can reach out to your local municipal Economic Development Officer who can assist or direct you.  For home-based businesses, there are zoning considerations that may impact the decision or ability to operate under this model in our community.  Please refer to our Home Business page for more details.

Do you have a Feasible Business Idea?

To determine the response to this query considers the following:

  • Is there a demand for your product/service?
  • Is there a gap/underserviced/niche segment you are seeking as your target customer base?
  • What price will the market bear for your product/service?
  • What differentiates your business from others and why would customers choose you?

Do you have a Business Plan?

Answering the questions above are the fundamentals of creating a business plan.  A business plan, whether as a start-up or a growth plan, helps you to truly identify your customer, hone in on the unique features/qualities of your business product/service, and help you determine the business structure, name, and operational needs.  A business plan is vital in the preparation and planning for finances and cash flow for your business.  Taking the time to craft an informed business plan is really the foundation needed for a solid longstanding business.

Need help creating your Business Plan? 

Enterprise Renfrew County provides free information and advisory service for anyone interested in starting their own business and for existing small business operators. The office is a Canada Business Ontario (CBO) regional access site.  This joint federal-provincial-municipal initiative provides useful information to new and established entrepreneurs about government programs, services, and regulations on starting and sustaining an enterprise in Ontario.

An experienced Business Consultant is available, by appointment, to meet with you at the center or at your place of business if preferred. They can help with most questions about small businesses and provide you with the information you need to get your business going and keep it running successfully. If there are questions they can't answer they will steer you to the sources of more specialized information.

They have two locations in Renfrew County to serve you:

Pembroke:  9 International Drive, Pembroke Ontario
Phone: 613-735-8224
Fax: 613-735-2492

Renfrew: 450 O'Brien Rd, Suite 201, Renfrew Ontario
Phone: 613-432-6848
Fax: 613-432-9710

What structure do you need for your Business?

When determining the structure of your business, consider each of the following formats:

  • Sole Proprietorship
    • In a sole proprietorship, the owner is 100% liable (legally responsible) for the business, including all debts and actions. The business income tax is filed with the owner’s personal income.
  • Partnership
    • In a partnership, each partner is wholly liable for the business. Debts and profits are shared among the partners. It is strongly recommended that a Partnership Agreement be drawn up by a lawyer.
  • Corporation
    • A corporation is a distinct legal entity where owners have legal liability up to the limit of their investment. Debts and profits are shared among shareholders. Incorporating can be complicated so legal and accounting assistance is recommended.

How to Choose your Business Name?

You want to select a business name that identifies the product/service you are providing, is easy to pronounce, and does not sound too close to that of competitor brands.  You also want to ensure that you can legally use the name.  

You can use the Enhanced Business Name Search through Service Ontario to determine if a business name has already been registered in Ontario. You can also search the Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search (NUANS) database, a Canada-wide corporate business name, and trademark registry. These resources can help to conduct preliminary searches.  Once you have settled on a name, to be sure it is not copyrighted, you may wish to consult a legal professional. 

Register Your Business

You will want to register your business with federal, provincial, and municipal authorities and depending on your business.  To find out more about business registration go to the Business Registration and Licencing page on our municipal website. 

My Ontario Account 

New and existing businesses must create a My Ontario Account to access government services and documents related to their business. Don't have a My Ontario Account? Review this My Ontario Account setup documentation

Apply for A HST Number

Not all businesses are required to apply for a HST number. There are pros and cons to consider before going ahead with the registration.

You should register for a HST number if (1) you provide taxable supplies in Canada AND (2) your total revenues from taxable supplies (before expenses) are over $30,000 annually.

  • Con: You will be required to calculate, collect and remit HST payments on a regular basis.
  • Pro: Having a HST number allows you to claim eligible business expenses and may open opportunities for you to provide services to businesses that require an HST registration.  Consider most government agencies. 
  • GST/HST registry link 

Do I need a Permit or Licence?

If you are a current business owner or plan to open a new business, it's important to know and understand the applicable regulations. Depending on the type and location of your business, you may be required to obtain permits or licences. There are tools available to help you acquire the appropriate documents to operate your business in the Town of Petawawa.  

  • For municipal permits and licence information please contact the Economic Development Officer at 613-687-5536.  If in doubt, reach out to your local representative.
  • For other business-affiliated permits and licence information, you can use the free resource BizPal.

Business Start Up Checklist

Thanks to Entreprise Renfrew County businesses can use this handy checklist to validate where they are in the business startup/ readiness stages. The ERC Small Business Start up Checklist.


Military Guide to Entrepreneurshippdf icon92.89KB
This guide created by BMO is an excellent resource for potential entrepreneurs.