Starting a new small business in BC can be very rewarding, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. As a new business owner, you’ll need to commit to giving your business the time, hard work and passion it needs to succeed.  


There is so much information out there and it can be overwhelming to wade through. So, in today’s blog, we’re going to give you the information and resources you need to create a successful business in BC. 

Choose A Business Structure

Before you register your business, you should decide on a business structure. From a legal standpoint, there are three common types of business structure:

  1. Sole proprietorship
  2. Partnership 
  3. Corporation 

Of course, you have the option to change from one business structure to another at a later date, but you should consider each of these now and gain a solid understanding of what each means and its benefits/disadvantages. 


We have outlined the pros and cons of each structure here


Decide On A Business Name And Have It Approved

This one is tough but important. If you want to use a business name that is different from your own personal name, or if you are incorporating, it will have to be approved by, and registered with, the BC Registry Services. 


Some quick pointers for choosing your business name: 

  • Make it unique and add a descriptive element to it
  • If you’re incorporating, you have to add a corporate designation like “Ltd.”, “Inc.” or “Corp.”
  • Before you register your name, check to see if a corresponding website domain is available


Register For Taxes 

Register your business with the CRA and get a Business Number for tax purposes.  Note that if you incorporate, a business number will be automatically assigned. You’ll need a business number when applying for program accounts such as GST, corporate income tax, payroll deductions and import/export tax with the CRA. Taxes can get complicated, and everyone is obliged to file, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed we recommend seeking advice from a professional CPA. 


Get A Business License

If you’re starting a new business in BC, you’re legally required to obtain a business license. 

Most municipalities in BC require you to apply for a business licence, which gives you permission to operate your business on your premises (whether it be your home or in a commercial space) within that municipality.

If you’re located in Vancouver, you can apply for a business license here!

You may also be required to obtain a license in other municipalities where you carry out business – for example, your main office might be in Vancouver, but you provide services to the Surrey area, so you may have to obtain a license for Surrey. 

Useful Resources And Information For BC Business Owners

These resources can help you get more valuable information on starting a business in BC:

  1. Find financing programs for small businesses in Canada
  2. Learn about all things related to small business in BC
  3. Guide to starting or expanding a business in Vancouver
    Employment standards in BC


Here at Benchmark Law, we specialize in supporting small business owners in BC by ensuring they have access to quality, affordable legal advice. Get in touch today!