Getting business advice and help

Summary

Find out where to go for help and support – from Government grants and assistance to getting in touch with an experienced mentor.

Article

If you’ve never been in business before, you probably aren’t aware of all the sources of help and advice available to you. Here you’ll find some sources of practical guidance to get your business running as it should. If you need more help, there are plenty of business mentors and advisors you can rely upon to help you take your business to the next level.

Find out about national and regional development organizations that offer coaching, networking and training to help you get your business off the ground.

Networking

A good support network that gives you access to knowledge and expertise in your industry can help you grow as an entrepreneur and make better decisions.

Be careful not to rely solely on friends or family to give you advice about your idea because they may simply want to support your enthusiasm. Surround yourself instead (like other successful owners) with a team of experienced business people. Advice from one experienced business person who has overcome the challenges of starting a business can be worth far more than the opinions of others who may never have run a business.

Advisors and mentors

Advisers can help you assess your business idea and point out any specific issues in your industry. Once you are up and running, they may be able to supply you with average performance indicators for the industry, such as gross and net profit margins, or inventory turnover. These will enable you to set performance targets for your business to match industry averages. Here are some suggestions when building your support network:

  • A lawyer familiar with small business work can help you design suitable terms of trade for your invoices and give you advice on business contracts and leases. Never sign a lease on a building or equipment before you have consulted your lawyer.
  • An accountant with experience of your industry type can help you understand the special wrinkles of the industry you are entering, and set you up with a suitable chart of accounts. Your accountant can also check that your financial forecasts are both realistic and include all the important features and costs.
  • A business mentor can be a valuable source of help with your strategic planning and a sounding board for day-to-day decisions. A mentor is there to challenge your ideas as well as support them.

Sources of help and advice

Canada Business Network (CBN)

The CBN is your first-stop shop for help and support with everything small business – from sourcing capital to hiring staff. With centres across the country that offer guidance, information and resources, you can be sure your journey in business is a successful one.

CBN will provide an answer to your business questions via email or telephone. They strive to answer questions within one business day.

Get in touch with the Canada Business Network to help start your business.


Canadian Chamber of Commerce

As Canada’s largest and most influential business association, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the primary and vital connection between business and the federal government. It continually demonstrates an impact on public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada.

Experience the power of a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes, in all sectors of the economy, and in all regions.

Find out more about the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.


Regional Development Agencies (RDAs)

RDAs work to foster economic development in specific regions of Canada. The agencies work to support a variety of industry sectors, including tourism, through targeted business development programs.

These include:

  • FedDev Ontario - FedDev Ontario was established to work with southern Ontario’s communities, businesses and not-for-profits to address regional and global economic challenges.
  • FedNor - FedNor is the Government’s economic development organization for Northern Ontario. Through its programs and services, and through its financial support of projects that lead to job creation and economic growth, FedNor works with businesses and community partners to build a stronger Northern Ontario.

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

At the centre of the economic development of the regions of Quebec, the Agency provides assistance to enterprises, communities and the organizations that support them through its network of business offices located throughout the province.

To get in touch with your local RDA, visit The Government of Canada’s Regional Business Support Portal.

Grants & incentives

Regardless of your chosen industry or business type, there are a variety of grants and incentives available to help you grow your business. Find out about some of the options available.

Explore opportunities to receive public funds to help springboard your business venture. There are programs that apply to businesses in all provinces and territories, and others that apply only to businesses in your region. You can filter the programs by region and/or by business type.

Find out about Government grants and incentives for your business.