So, you’ve decided to pursue your dream to become a florist. Or you want to strike out on your own with your carpentry skills. Perhaps you have a flair for curating unique objects and want to open a new retail store.

Congratulations on becoming an entrepreneur! 

Whether you’re opening a beauty salon or a restaurant, a consultancy or a contractor service, all small businesses have a few things in common.

To celebrate Small Business Week, we’ve put together 9 things that we hope will make your journey to success easier.

Sort out your permits, licensing and registration .

1. Provincial registration

First, consider whether you need to register your business. This will vary based on your province or territory and how you’re setting up your business (corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership or cooperative). 

To avoid duplication with a competitor, you may also want to register your business name. This may not be necessary if you’re running your business under your own name as the owner.

2. Federal registration

Many provinces will automatically give you a federal business number if you register provincially. Otherwise, you might need to apply separately if you plan to:

  • collect GST or HST
  • incorporate your business  
  • hire staff 
  • import or export goods

Get more information here:

Get everything up and running

3. Get your location ready

If you’re leasing an office or a storefront, consider working with a leasing agent. Just like a realtor, an agent can take into account your preferred neighbourhood, size requirements and budget—they can also arrange tours of spaces. One less thing for you to organize!

4. Will you need staff? 

If you know from the beginning that you’ll need staff, BDC has prepared some great resources for recruiting, hiring and managing people.

5. Get online

It’s easier than ever to get a website up and running. Check out Wix, SquareSpace,  Shopify and even GoDaddy—all of these platforms are geared toward first-time website creators. 

Not ready for a website just yet? No problem! Many small businesses start with social media accounts, and that’s fine. 

However, consider at least creating and parking a URL for your business; it’s easy to do on sites like, and it only costs about $20/year. That way, you can get email addresses using your business URL, which looks much more professional than using a generic personal address, such as Gmail.

6. See if money’s available

Many programs and grants exist to support to small businesses. Banks and credit unions sometimes offer a cash bonus when you open a small business account, so be sure to shop around. Federal and provincial grants are also available for different demographics; a quick online search will uncover these.

You can also check out free articles from BDC on how to access financing, from loans to grants, as well as tools and templates for planning your finances.

7. Network

Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce or business improvement association. Not only will they be great places to share ideas with other entrepreneurs, but they can also keep you up to date on new grants or business opportunities that arise.

Protect your investment: Find the right insurance

8. Get to know the options in commercial insurance 

Make sure you understand what commercial insurance is available. The most common types of commercial insurance are: 

Commercial property insurance: As the name suggests, this insurance protects any of the physical assets of your business from loss or damage by theft, fire, vandalism, etc.

Commercial auto insurance: If you use your personal vehicle for any of your business operations, you may not be covered for damage that occurs while on the job. If you own multiple vehicles for business, you may qualify for fleet insurance, which is usually less expensive per vehicle.

General liability insurance: Accidents happen, and all it takes is one lawsuit to threaten your business with an expensive claim. 

Professional liability insurance (sometimes called “errors & omissions”): Where general lability insurance covers you against accidents or negligence (think about a customer slipping on your floor and injuring themselves), professional liability covers you against lawsuits against your service or advice (e.g., if you are a consultant, an engineer or an accountant).

Directors & officers (D&O) liability insurance: People often join organizations and boards without a complete understanding of their duties. Directors & officers policies protect them against claims. 

Employment practices liability: An extension commonly bundled with D&O, this provides defence costs and legal counsel when employees bring up lawsuits for wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, etc.  

Crime insurance: While commercial property policies protect against external theft, crime insurance covers you in case of employee fraud or theft. This includes theft of money orders or cash, which is typically excluded under property policies.

Key person insurance: Think of your role in the company, along with that of any employee or partner, and ask yourself: “Can my business run without this person?” If the answer is no, you need key person insurance, which provides the money you need to find, hire and train a replacement.

Cyber insurance: If you use a computer or smartphone in your work, you need cyber insurance. From accessing your customer information to shutting down your entire operation for ransom, cybercrime is a real threat, and one that you need to cover with insurance.

Floater (or marine) coverage: A property policy covers your business’s physical assets when they’re at the business premises. You need floater coverage for protection when they leave the premises. For instance, a tool floater covers contractors’ tools while away from the premises; similarly, equipment floater covers equipment at a job site, while cargo floater covers materials in transit.  

Business interruption insurance: While most of the policies in this list cover the direct costs of damages, you also have to consider the fact that some damages could result in your business being shut down for days, if not weeks, while repairs are being made. 

Business interruption insurance covers you for the loss of actual revenue in these situations.

9. Talk with an insurance broker to find out what you do—and don’t—need.

No one wants to be under-insured in the event of a loss, but no one wants to spend money needlessly, either. Insurance brokers (like the friendly folks here at Boardwalk) are independent agents who are working for you. Commercial insurance can be complex; we can make it simple, with advice, recommendations and more. 

Whatever your line of business, we wish you every success! 


Who is Boardwalk Insurance? 

We’re specialists in small-business insurance. We’ve built technology to provide a better way to get the financial security your business deserves—quickly and painlessly, on your schedule. 

Boardwalk Insurance runs on a policy management system that is entirely our own and free from any third-party limitations. From finding a plan that best fits your needs and budget to managing your policy after your purchase, our tech is here to help.

Find out more about how Boardwalk Insurance can help you get the right coverage at the most competitive price: visit