Author: Joyce Pang

[This post was adapted from BDC’s articles for Entrepreneurs in accordance with Arrive’s webinar collaboration with BDC for newcomer entrepreneurs.]

Starting a business is a big decision. Luckily, there are no limits to who can become a successful entrepreneur – yet as a newcomer, there’s a few unique challenges that can come up, which you can overcome with the right information. You don’t necessarily need a college degree or even business experience to start your own business. However, you must have a drive and a strong plan to succeed, along with the resources, knowledge, and toolkit to position yourself for success in Canada.

If you are thinking about starting a business of your own once you arrive in Canada, here are some key things you need to do first:

1. Evaluate why you want to start a business

First of all, ask yourself “Why do I want to start a business?” The answer to this question could guide the type of business you want to start. If you want to earn extra money, perhaps you should start with a side hustle. If you are looking for more freedom, it could be time to leave your job and start something new! Starting a business can be a rewarding experience, but it’s not for everyone. We encourage you to read our latest article on the ‘Top 4 Tips for Newcomer Entrepreneurs in Canada’ to get started.

2. Explore ideas and ask questions

In today’s competitive environment, innovation is key to stand out amongst the crowd. Therefore, you should always be on the lookout for windows of opportunities and keep yourself informed of growth areas in your market. Start by assessing what you do well. After all, it’s a much safer bet to venture into a familiar territory where you can use your current skill set. Leverage your experiences and unique perspectives from your home country when thinking about ideas – some of the best solutions can come from problems/challenges you’ve faced yourself!

3. Find out your target customers and source of revenue

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success. Small businesses can effectively compete with large companies by targeting a niche market. Ask yourself: What is your target market? What are the needs of your prospective customers? How much are they willing to pay for your product/service?

4. Plan how you will deliver your product/service to market

From manufacturing to distribution, delivering a product to market is a lot of work. For first time entrepreneurs, you may want to partner with other businesses or hire contractors for support on certain tasks. Starting a business doesn’t have to be an independent journey. Hiring help along the way will set you up for success.

5. Map out the resources you’ll need

Starting a business requires money you likely won’t have right away, which is why it’s important to plan ahead. After going through the key steps listed above, map out how much it will cost. You’ll need to establish the number of employees required, your timeline to market launch, recurrent costs and other important finances. In our latest webinar on ‘How to Start a business in Canada’, we cover different financing options and resources for you.

Starting a business is an exciting and tough journey, so make sure you do what you are passionate about. Our last tip for you: Always seek feedback! You won’t have all the knowledge or experience to handle every business situation, so be open to learn from others and gain from their experience.

Check out our latest webinar here!


This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.