I have a business idea, now what?

I have a business idea… Now what?

So, you have an idea and are ready to launch a business. What do you do next? You can start by reading this article. Below are a few things to consider when you are looking to start your own business:

 

1) Determine how you want to structure your business:

There are several ways to structure a business. The three basic ways are though a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation. Each of these structures have different legal characteristics and are treated differently from a tax perspective. These structures are briefly described below:

Sole Proprietorship: A sole proprietorship exists whenever an individual engages in business in his or her own capacity. All benefits and liabilities of the business are also the benefits and liability of the sole proprietor. Therefore, the sole proprietor is personally responsible for all of the obligations of the business and is liable for any wrongdoing of the business. On the other hand, it is generally less costly to operate a sole proprietorship.

Partnership: A partnership is a form of business organization where multiple persons carry on a business in common with a view of profit. A partnership is not a legal entity separate from its partners and, generally, each partner in the firm is jointly liable with the other partners for all debts and liabilities of the firm. The legal relationship between partners is often governed by a partnership agreement.

In Saskatchewan, there is also the ability to create a limited partnership, which is a form of partnership that provides limited liability to certain partners. A limited partnership consists of one or more persons or entities who are “general partners” and one of more persons who are “limited partners”. Only the general partner is liable for the obligations of the partnership, and the limited partners have no liability beyond the amounts they contribute to capital. However, in exchange for this limited liability, the limited partners must be passive investors and cannot take part in the management of the business.

Corporation: A corporation is a legal entity separate from its shareholders and the individuals who operate the business of the corporation. Some advantages of operating a business through a corporation include limited liability to shareholders (in other words, the shareholders are not liable for the obligations of the corporation) and advantageous tax treatment.

The above is only a brief overview of these business structures. Before making a decision on which structure is best, it is advisable that prospective business owners discuss each structure in detail with their legal and tax advisors.

 

2) Reserve and register the business name:

If you wish to operate your business under a business name, there is a specific process that must be followed to search the name (to ensure another business is not using the same or similar name), reserve the name, and register the name in the appropriate public registry.

 

3) Obtain a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) Number

All business operating in Saskatchewan must be registered with the Ministry of Finance to obtain a PST number. PST must be collected and remitted by a vendor of a retail sale of certain property or certain services in Saskatchewan, and failure to do so may result in a large tax bill along with interest and penalty payments.

 

4) Register with the Saskatchewan Worker’s Compensation Board (the “WCB”)

All employers engaged in any industry in Saskatchewan (except farming/ranching or any other prescribed industries) who hire workers an a regular, casual or contractual basis must register with the WCB. Employers in Saskatchewan who are subject to workers’ compensation legislation must report work-related injuries that require medical attention to the WCB and pay assessed amounts to the WCB.

 

5) Review land use and zoning bylaws

Municipalities and cities may enact bylaws which regulate the development and use of land within those municipalities or cities. Any business owner operating in Saskatchewan should ensure that his or her business conforms to any land use or zoning bylaws within the applicable municipality or city.

 

6) Obtain the appropriate business licence

Persons operating a commercial or industrial business will need to obtain a commercial business license and/or a non-resident business license in the city/municipality in which they operate.

Starting your own business can be daunting, but the legal advisors at Robertson Stromberg LLP can help you navigate through these steps and get your business off to a great start.

 

For more information, please contact Jon Ponath at 306.933.1365 or j.ponath@rslaw.com

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Articles & Research I have a business idea, now what?