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Thinking of Starting Your Business in ComfortCountry?

Programs and Services

Canada Ontario Business Service Centre (COBSC): An initiative of the governments of Canada and Ontario is your access point to more than 1,400 business-related programs and services. To contact COBSC, telephone 1-800-567-2345 or visit You can also contact Dale Lehtila, Business Consultant by telephone at (613) 961-0590 or by writing to

Startup guides: Quite often prospective entrepreneurs must register, obtain permits or complete applications with all three levels of government. To answer your questions at the outset, we recommend you review the following business startup guides:

  • Starting a Small Business in Ontario: provides a sound approach to starting a business
  • Your Guide to Government of Canada Services and Support for Small Business: this 100-page online guide lists federal government support services and programs

Community Futures

Another great resource is our Community Futures Development Corporations.  They are committed to serving our area in a variety of aspects, from business counselling and financing to community economic planning and development.  If you are seeking assistance in either Marmora, Madoc or Tweed areas, please call 1-800-465-4119 or visit   If you are interested in the Stirling area, please contact the Trenval CFDC at (613) 961-7999 or visit

Cash Incentives / Funding

There are numerous financial incentives and funding programs available.  You can find an extensive listing by visiting:

Starting Your Business

Starting a business is risky at best, but your chances of making it succeed will be better if you understand the problems you'll meet and work out as many of them as you can before you start.

Here are some questions and worksheets to help you think through what you need to know and do. Answer each question with a YES or NO. Where the answer is NO, you have some work to do.

Before you start Yes No
Are you the kind of person who can get a business started and make it run efficiently? ___ ___
Think about why you want to own your own business. Are you willing to work long hours without knowing how much money you'll end up with? ___ ___
Have you worked for someone else as a supervisor or manager? ___ ___
Have you had any business training in school? ___ ___
Have you saved any money? ___ ___

How About the Money? Yes No
Do you know how much money you will need to get your business started? ___ ___
Have you determined how much money of your own you can put into the business? ___ ___
Do you know how much credit you can get from your suppliers — the people you will buy from? ___ ___
Do you know where you can borrow the rest of the money you need to start your business? ___ ___
Have you figured out what net/loss income per year you expect to get from the business? ___ ___
Are you willing to re-invest your salary/business profits to help your business grow? ___ ___
Have you talked to a banker about your plans? ___ ___

How About a Partner? Yes No
If you require a partner for additional financing, do you know someone who will fit – someone you can get along with? ___ ___
Do you know the good and bad points about running your own business, having a partnership, and incorporating your business? ___ ___
Have you talked to a lawyer about a partner? ___ ___

How About Your Customers? Yes No
Do most businesses in your community seem to be doing well? ___ ___
Have you tried to find out whether or not businesses like the one you want to open are doing well in your community and in the rest of the country? ___ ___
Do you know what kind of people will want to buy what you plan to sell? ___ ___
Do people like to live in the area where you want to open your business? ___ ___
Do they need a business like yours? ___ ___
If not, have you thought about opening a different kind of business or going to another location? ___ ___

Your Building Yes No
Have you found a good building for your business? ___ ___
Will you have sufficient room to expand when necessary? ___ ___
Can you fix the building up the way you want without spending too much money? ___ ___
Can people access your business easily from parking spaces, bus stops, or their homes? ___ ___
Have you had a lawyer check the lease and zoning requirements? ___ ___

Equipment and Supplies Yes No
Do you know just equipment and supplies you need and how much they will cost? ___ ___
Is it feasible to buy second-hand equipment? ___ ___

Expenses Yes No
Do you know what your expenses will be for: rent, wages, insurance, utilities, advertising, interest, etc.? ___ ___
Do you need to know which expenses are direct, indirect, or fixed? ___ ___
Do you know how much your overhead costs will be? ___ ___
Do you know how much your selling expenses will be? ___ ___

Miscellaneous Yes No
Are you aware of the major risks associated with your product? Service? Business? ___ ___
Can you minimize any of these major risks? ___ ___
Are there major risks beyond your control? ___ ___
Can these risks bankrupt you? ___ ___

Your Merchandise Yes No
Have you decided what things you will sell? ___ ___
Do you know how much or how many of each you will buy to open your store with? ___ ___
Have you found suppliers who will sell you what you need at a competitive price? ___ ___
Have you compared the prices and credit terms of different suppliers? ___ ___

Your Records Yes No
Have you planned a system of records that will keep track of your income and expenses, what you owe people, and what other people owe you? ___ ___
Have you worked out a way to keep track of your inventory so that you will always have enough on hand for your customers but not more than you can sell? ___ ___
Have you figured out how to keep your payroll records and take care of tax reports and payments? ___ ___
Do you know what financial statements you should prepare? ___ ___
Do you know an accountant who will help you with your records and financial statements? ___ ___

Your Business and the Law Yes No
Do you know what licenses and permits you need? ___ ___
Do you know what business laws you have to obey? ___ ___
Do you know a lawyer you can go to for advice and help with legal papers? ___ ___

Buying a Business Someone Else Has Started Yes No
Have you made a list of the advantages and disadvantages of the business someone else has started? ___ ___
Are you sure you know the real reason why the owner wants to sell this business? ___ ___
Have you compared the cost of buying the business with the cost of starting a new business? ___ ___
Are the equipment/inventory up to date and in good condition? ___ ___
Is the building in good condition? ___ ___
Will the owner of the building transfer the lease to you? ___ ___
Have you talked with other business owners in the area to see what they think of the business for sale? ___ ___
Have you talked with the company's current suppliers? ___ ___
Have you talked with a lawyer about the existing business? ___ ___

Advertising Yes No
Have you decided how you will advertise? (newspapers, posters, handbills, television, radio, Internet, mail?) ___ ___
Do you know where to get help with your ads? ___ ___
Have you watched what other competitors do to get people to buy? ___ ___

The Prices You Charge Yes No
Do you know how to determine what you should charge for each item you sell? ___ ___
Do you know what your competitors charge? ___ ___

Buying Yes No
Do you have a plan for finding out what your customers want? ___ ___
Will your plan for keeping track of your inventory tell you when it is time to order more and how much to order? ___ ___
Do you plan to buy most of your stock from a few suppliers or several? ___ ___
Do you know the advantages and disadvantages of each supply method? ___ ___

Selling Yes No
Have you decided whether you will have sales associates or self-service? ___ ___
Do you know how to encourage customers to buy? ___ ___
Have you thought about why you like to buy from some sales associates while others turn you off? ___ ___

Your Employees Yes No
If you need to hire someone to help you, do you know where to look? ___ ___
Do you know what kind of employees you need? ___ ___
Do you have a plan for training your employees? ___ ___

Credit for Your Customers Yes No
Have you decided whether or not to let your customers buy on credit? ___ ___
Do you know the good and bad points about joining a credit-card plan? ___ ___
Can you tell a deadbeat from a good credit customer? ___ ___

A Few Extra Questions Yes No
Have you figured out whether or not you could make more money working for someone else? ___ ___
Does your family go along with your plan to start a business of your own? ___ ___
Do you know where to find out about new ideas and new products? ___ ___
Do you have a business plan for yourself and your employees? ___ ___

If you have answered all these questions carefully, you've done some hard work and serious thinking. Moreover, you have probably found some things you still need to know more about or do something about.

Do all you can for yourself, but don't hesitate to ask for help from people who can tell you what you need to know. Remember, running a business takes courage! You've got to be able to decide what you need and then go after it.

Good Luck!

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration
Prepared by: Saskatchewan Regional Economic and Co-operative Development

Madoc, Marmora, Stirling, Tweed Ontario   Tel: (613) 473-1616


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