Start and Grow Your Business with RBC

Ready to turn your side hustle, passion or idea into a full-time business? We can help you every step of the way.

Plan

Getting Ready—the Planning Stage

From making sure your idea will work to figuring out the money, explore the steps below to find tools, resources and advice to help you plan. Or, download our FREE Starting a Business Guide {pdf}.

You have an idea for a business. Congrats! Before you leave your job and invest your hard-earned savings, make sure your idea is feasible. While it can be tempting to dive right in, some up front research and planning will ensure you’re ready to take the plunge.

Revisit your business idea by asking yourself these 7 key questions {pdf} or use our business idea checklist {pdf} to see the steps you may need to take to get to opening day.

Or, download our Starting a Business guide for tips on:

  • Conducting market research
  • Developing your competitive advantage
  • Identifying your target customer, and more
Get Your FREE Guide

A well-thought-out business plan explains to others your vision for the business, the gap in the market your business will fill and the steps you will take to succeed. Formally documenting what you want to do, and how you intend to do it, can make the difference between success and failure.

Creating a business plan on your own, however, is not always an easy task. The Business Plan Builder is a comprehensive tool that guides you through a series of questions, offering resources and providing a framework for success.

Use the FREE Business Plan Builder to:

  • Describe what your business will do and the needs it will meet.
  • Outline your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). Tip: Use a SWOT Template {pdf} first to make this easier.
  • List your startup costs and ongoing expenses—the Cash Flow Forecast Template {pdf} can help you estimate.
  • Describe how you will find and market to customers.
Start Your Business Plan

Knowing how much money you need to start your business and survive your first year is critical. And it’s wise to figure this out before you invest too much time or money into your idea.

There are two types of costs you’ll want to estimate:

  • Startup costs, which are one-time costs such as security and utility deposits, licenses and permits, equipment, etc.
  • Working capital, which is the money you need on hand to keep your business running and manage fluctuations in cash flow (for example, salaries, rent, advertising, etc.).

To learn more about these costs, see:

Deciding How Much Money You Need to Start

Tools to Help You Determine Your Costs

Estimating your startup costs can be daunting, but it’s beneficial to be as realistic and accurate as possible. These tools can help you identify your costs and get a more precise estimate:

Startup Costs Calculator
12-Month Cash Flow Forecast Template
Business Cash Flow Calculator

Learn more about cash flow planning:

The Difference Between Cash Flow and Profit
Tips for Generating a Cash Surplus

Rent. Utilities. Inventory. These are just a few examples of overhead costs your new business might have. Then there’s the good stuff—the profit you want to make. For your business to succeed, the pricing strategy you set for your products or service needs to account for both overhead costs and profit—as well as what customers are willing to pay.

Learn more about pricing and profit:

Pricing and Costing Accurately
Options to Increase Sales
The Difference Between Cash Flow and Profit

Starting a business requires you to make many decisions. And choosing your legal business structure is one of your most important decisions because it affects your taxes, whether you will have personal liability if something goes wrong and more.

In Canada, there are four main business structures:

  • Sole proprietorship: You and the business are one and the same.
  • Partnership: Two or more people own the business.
  • Corporation: The business is considered a separate legal entity.
  • Co-operative: The business is controlled by an association of members; often used for non-profits.

Explore the pros and cons of these structures:

Choosing a Business Structure
Special Offer

Register or incorporate with Ownr and get up to $300 back when you open an RBC business account.Legal Disclaimer * Explore Ownr (opens to external site)

What do words like bootstrapping, angels and crowdfunding have in common? They’re all ways to fund a business. Here’s a quick run-down of the main types of business financing—keep in mind that many business owners use a combination of these:

  • Bootstrapping: Investing some of your own money in your business (also known as bootstrapping) shows banks and investors that you’re fully committed. It’s also one of the most cost-effective financing methods.
  • Money from friends and family: Sometimes called love money, borrowing from your inner circle can be appealing. Just make sure you have clear agreements in place.
  • Your bank: Talk to your bank about options that may be available to you. For example, RBC offers business credit cards, overdraft facilities and business credit lines.
    Tip: Establishing credit under your business name allows your business to build a credit history, which can help with qualifying for other types of financing down the road.
  • Angel investors: Angels usually want a share in the business, a specific return on their investment—or both. Search for angels in the National Angel Capital Organization (opens to external site) member directory.
  • Crowdfunding:Also called “democratic finance”, crowdfunding can help you attract funding from a diverse mix of people. Visit the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (opens to external site) for details.
  • Government grants and subsidies: The Government of Canada offers loans, grants, loan guarantees and more if you qualify.

Finding the Money Checklist
Government Grants and Assistance
Sources of Funding (Infographic)
Launch

Getting Ready—the Launch Stage

From making everything official to marketing your business, explore the steps below to find tools, resources and advice to help you prep for opening day. Or, download our FREE Starting a Business Guide {pdf}.

Taking the step to make your business official by registering or incorporating is one of the most important things you can do for your new company. In fact, it’s legally required if you choose a corporation as your business structure or you plan to operate a sole proprietorship under something other than your own name.

Registering or incorporating a business involves both federal and provincial requirements and can be confusing. Download the Starting a Business Guide {pdf} to learn more about registering or incorporating your business or check out these resources:

Legal and Compliance Checklist
Find Out if You Need to Register for GST/HST

A word about licenses and permits.

Depending on your industry and province, you may also need to apply for certain licences or permits. For example, if you plan to open a restaurant you will need a licence to sell food and alcohol. Visit your province or territory’s official government site to see what’s required.

Once you have registered or incorporated (opens to external site), you can open a business operating account. A word of caution—don’t use your personal account—it will cause an accounting headache.

If you incorporate, you will need to have a business account anyway because the business will be a separate legal entity. At RBC, we require even sole proprietors operating under their own name to have a business account (opens to external site).

Six Ways a Business Bank Account Can Help You

  • Show suppliers, vendors, investors and customers that your business is legitimate
  • Track and control your business expenses and keep them separate from personal transactions for convenient bookkeeping
  • Easily send and receive business-related payments—for example, pay bills, deposit funds and send transfers
  • Simplify your tax filing at the end of the year with all your business transactions in one place
  • Access services and offers for RBC business clients
  • Simplify applying for business credit or additional banking services
Find the Right Account

Whether you plan to do business online or at a physical location, the right payments and cash management solutions can save you time and money, streamline daily tasks that help you get paid faster. Here are a few ways we can help:

Make It Easy for Customers to Pay You

Pay Vendors, Suppliers, Employees and the Government

Consider Other Business Software

Depending on your business, you may need other software as well. For example, if you plan to sell products online, you will need an ecommerce platform.

Tip: Before you start taking payments or buying things for your business, get set up on a good accounting platform and link it to your business account(s). Having your accouting system set up correctly from the start can save you a lot of time and hassle down the road.

Running a business requires a significant amount of time and money so it makes sense to protect your investment—and livelihood. Before you start operating, take steps to identify and protect against the key risks your business could face. Here are four areas to look at:

Intellectual Property (IP)

Trademarks, copyright and patents are the most common types of IP. As a business owner, you need to approach IP from two angles—protecting your own IP and making sure you don’t accidentally infringe on someone else’s.

To learn more about IP, check out:

How Intellectual Property (IP) in Canada Works

You can also visit the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO).

Business Insurance

Business insurance can help your company survive the loss of a key employee, keep up with loan payments and even protect your family. Be sure to talk to a licensed insurance professional to see what’s right for you.

Fraud and Theft

If you plan to have employees handling money, inventory or the company credit card, take steps to protect yourself against fraud and theft. It’s also important to protect your company’s cashless transactions. For tips, check out: Payments Fraud: How to Recognize it and Protect Your Business.

Cyber Security

Seven out of 10 business leaders say that their cyber security risks are increasing and cyber readiness is more important given the potential risk that an incident poses. In fact, just one cyber event can severely damage your business’ reputation or cause substantial financial losses. To learn how to help your business prepare in advance of a crisis and mitigate certain risks, check out:

How to Plan for and Manage a Cyber Security Crisis Cyber Safety for Business Owners: Taking the First Step
Cyber Security Crisis Management Template

For more information on IP, business insurance and protecting against fraud or theft, download our FREE guide:

Starting a Business Guide

Finding candidates with the right skillset and being able to afford employees are two of the top challenges facing new business owners.

If you plan to hire employees, there are several online recruitment tools available. As an RBC business client, you can use Magnet, which can help match your business to the best young talent via Canada’s largest campus recruiting platform.

Tip: Many business owners cite that networking/word of mouth is one of the top ways they find employees.

Search engine optimization (SEO). Social media. Email. There’s a dizzying array of options out there to promote your business.

Consider using the Business Plan Builder to start sketching out your marketing plan. It will guide you through a series of questions and provide tips to help you complete each section.

As an RBC business client, you can access offers and services to help you find customers:

Bank

A Business Account Simplifies Your Day-to-Day Tasks.

Choose from a range of accounts—with no minimum balance required.

Explore Business Accounts
SPECIAL OFFER

Register or incorporate your business with Ownr and get up to $300 back when you open an RBC business account.*

Get Started with Ownr

Borrow

Business Loans to Help Your Company Succeed

Find credit and financing solutions to help your business reach its full potential.

CreditLine for Small Business

An unsecured line of credit with the convenience of a credit card.

Royal Business Operating Line

A simple way to access the working capital you need.

Canada Small Business Financing Loan

A government-sponsored loan program for small businesses.

Explore All Business Loans
Offers & Services Beyond Banking

Starting a Business is Easier with the Right Support

Take advantage of money-saving offers and services from our partners—available to RBC business clients.

Register or Incorporate

With Ownr and get up to $300 back* - when you open an RBC business account.

Access Resources and Financing

For entrepreneurs age 18-39 who want access to business resources, financing and mentoring.

Find Government Funding

Get preferred pricing from a leader in securing government funding1.

See All Offers & Services

Want to Talk Business?

Get help clarifying your goals, setting up, opening an account and more.

We look forward to meeting with you! Here’s how to get in touch:

Call

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Thanks for stopping by. We’re here to help when you’re ready. In the meantime:

Forms

Use our FREE step-by-step guide to help make your dream of starting a business a reality.

Starting a Business Guide
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Stay up-to-date on the latest resources, money-saving offers and business advice.

RBC business advisors can help your company at every stage—from starting up to simplifying operations and funding growth. An RBC business advisor will work with you to:

  • Understand your vision and business goals
  • Set up the right financial products and solutions
  • Explore options to effectively manage cash flow, pay employees and get paid
  • Connect you to a suite of business advice and solutions that go beyond traditional banking
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