5 Steps You Need to Take to Get Your Startup Going

startup business list

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Do you have a great business idea but don’t know where to start? The first step is always the hardest to do, especially if it’s your first time. Starting a new business is possibly one of the most nerve wrecking experiences a person can have because there are so many things you need to do and most of them are new.

A great idea is never enough because you need the determination and motivation to turn it into reality. For a new business this involves doing market research, but also preparing every little task by yourself. To make this process easier for you, here’s a startup business list of all the things you need to do to begin a business venture and turn those great ideas into reality.

1. Before you start

startup business list

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“Before you start” should be on your checklist for a variety of reasons. You need to make sure you are motivated enough to finish what you’re about to begin. It’s okay to fail but it’s not good to give up. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I interested in what I’m going to be doing?
  • Am I starting a business for more than just money?
  • Do I think anyone will buy the product and why?
  • Do I have enough support and inspiration to get me through hard times?
  • Am I ready to alter and modify your idea?

If you answered yes to all of the above then you are on the right track. In order to make an idea work you need to live it, breathe it, and most importantly believe in it. If your idea inspires you, and you’re not starting a business just for the money, then you’ve got the right mindset. Also, it’s extremely important to not be stubborn and to modify your ideas if you have to. Your product may change dramatically from concept to production.

2. Get to know the field

 startup business list

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Once you’ve established the reasons behind your project, it’s time to get down to business. You need to make sure you know the market you will operate in so you don’t face anything unexpected. Research similar products and companies both locally and internationally. LinkedIn is the perfect place to not only find out more about your field but get inspired and get to know other people who impact your market.

Finding and following blogs which publish regular information and trends is another place where you can get to know your field and learn about what’s new, and what’s on the horizon. Take what you’ve learned and modify your idea to make it suitable and trendy.

3. Prepare a business plan

 startup business list

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Creating a business plan is another step which will keep you motivated and focused, as well as add credibility to your business. You will also need it to convince banks or sponsors that your business is well thought through. A business plan should include information about:

  • Your products / services
  • Your short and long-term goals
  • Cash-flow forecast (looking at least 1 year ahead)
  • Your research and findings about the industry you will operate in and how your business relates and how relevant it is

Make sure you change it regularly, reflecting all your progress and decisions. Completing your business plan will stimulate you to think in detail and find the flaws it might have.

4. Sort out your funding and register your business

 startup business list

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You need to register your business with the appropriate institutions, note that some provinces allow most of the registration to be done online. For example, check out our handy guide to registering a business online in Ontario. After the process it’s time to secure enough capital to keep your business going. In case you don’t have enough capital to start your business venture by yourself, you are going to have to think about alternative methods.

Possible funding could be done through government grants; NGO funding; crowd-funding, banks, and business loans against personal possessions. The latter is the easiest and quickest option for funding your startup. Small business loans from companies like Zillidy are a great option because the application can be done online in addition to not requiring any credit score checks or income prediction. The loans are given against personal assets which include jewelry, precious metals, and more.

5. Create a marketing plan and utilize social media

 startup business list

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You need to establish your brand, connect with possible clients and promote your products. First on your sub-list should be buying a domain and creating a branded website and social media accounts. Making sure you invest in both will secure your online presence which will result in customer approval and trust.

In-personal networking such as creating an elevation pitch is just one of many methods which will help you market your business and products. It’s extremely important to outline a marketing plan that is consistent with your business plan and goals.

How are you going to to finance your startup? Share how in the comment section below.

Own Your Dream Vehicle Using These Top Car Loans

Car Loans

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Is your car no longer safe? Do you just want to upgrade your vehicle for a more luxurious, spacious and comfortable one? Whether it’s for repairs or for pleasure, a car loan is big and pricey decision that gets people thinking of all the different financing options available. Just like with mobile phones, the demand for new cars is huge and like you might expect, there are a number of ways to purchase a vehicle even if you don’t have the money right now.

Buying a new car is one of the top reasons why people take out loans. From personal loans to bank loans and handy online applications to help you compare and figure out if you can afford them, here are the top 3 car loan options in Canada:

1. Collateral Lending

Car Loans

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Collateral lending is perfect for anyone who has some money already saved up, but needs some help to cover the full price. If you happen to have personal assets of high value, you can use them as collateral and get the funding you need.

As one of the most popular and acclaimed providers of loans against personal possessions, Zillidy offers great conditions for personal loans. What assets can you use to secure the loan? Zillidy offers loans against the following items:

  • Jewelry
  • Precious metals
  • Watches
  • And more

Collateral lending is a great option for those in a hurry, as the process is quick and can be done online. Furthermore, your personal assets are kept safe and you get them back once you’ve returned your loan in the exact same shape in which you sent them out.

2. CIBC Personal Car Loans



CIBC is one of the leading financial institutions based in Canada. CIBC offers a wide arrange of loans including the Personal Car Loan. Worried about slow approval time? You can apply online to assure faster approval. The CIBC personal car loan provides really good flexibility with repayment — you get up to 8 years to repay the loan. You have the option to lower your monthly payments, so they fit the term of up to 96 months.

You can borrow a minimum of $5000, which you have the option to pay through weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly payments to coincide with your pay periods. Furthermore, you can even skip up to two payments yearly, which lets you breathe easy, and not fear small financial bumps along the way. With CIBC, you can also pay all or part of your Personal Car Loan at any time, without having to endure penalties.

When it comes down to taking out a loan, are you sure you can really afford it? In case you are wondering how taking out a loan can fit your lifestyle, CIBC offers this great tool called the CIBS Car Loan Calculator:

#The Car Loan Calculator by CIBC

A huge part you need to consider when taking out a loan of any kind is if your lifestyle will allow you to repay it without having to struggle for money at any particular time during the repayment process.If you want to know how much you will be repaying monthly, the loan calculator application on the CIBC’s website is a wonderful and easy-to-use tool to help you figure out the bits and bolts of the loans they offer.

The information you are required to input in order to get the calculations is extremely basic, it asks for:

  • Age of the vehicle you want to purchase (so it works for both new and used cars)
  • Province/territory of purchase
  • Cost of the vehicle — you are required to input the total cost of the vehicle quoted by the dealer or manufacturer, make sure you don’t include the taxes.
  • Down payment — make sure it allows over $ 5 000 margin between the cost and the down payment as there’s a minimum for CIBC’s Car Loan ($ 5 000)

Also, you are going to have to complete the section called Loan Information, where you will be asked about the interest rate on the loan, the term in which you would like to pay off your loan (starting from 12 months) and the Cash and Dealer Incentives — a Cash Incentive being the variety of deals offered directly to the customers by the dealers, and the Dealer Incentives being the dealer’s cost to obtain the vehicle after all the different price reductions they may be offered.

Voila! The results are in: you get to see your monthly payments and budget according to the number you got, this way you can see if you can afford taking out the loan. The additional information makes you aware of the total interest on your loan, depending on the repayment period you’ve chosen — you can take up to 8 years and borrow 100% of the funds required to obtain the vehicle.

Want to make the final information even more precise? There’s an optional trade in field you can complete, where you can input the Vehicle Value and the Amount Owing (in case you are also using personal funds to contribute to the purchase). Furthermore, even though the loan calculator is designed to work with CIBC’s Car Loan only, you still get the chance to compare it to other financing options — again you need to input the loan information you have in mind in the Compare Other Financing section, the graph on the side will reflect that information and compare CIBC’s Car Loan to the other financing option you have chosen to help you make a final decision as to whether and what loan you can take.

3. Auto Loan from TD Canada Trust



TD Bank Group is ranked one of the safest banks in 2013 by to Global Finance. TD Canada Trust provides banking, insurance and loaning services. One of their most popular loans is the Auto Loan that help you “get the vehicle that’s right for you.”

The great thing about TD Canada Trust’s Auto Loan is that you get to choose the type of interest rate on the money you take — fixed or variable. The Fixed Interest Rate protects you from changes and provides structured and set payments, while the Variable Interest Rate allows you to benefit whenever the rate is lower, which in turn helps you pay off your loan quicker.

The Auto Loan also allows you to choose from a variety of repayment options that fit your budget for extra comfort. Furthermore, with the Auto Payment you can defer up to 2 payments a year in case you are experiencing financial difficulties.

Which loan would you use to buy a car? Let us know why in the comment section below.

Hacker’s Guide to Small Business Proliferation

Marketing Ideas

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As a small business owner, you are probably used to fighting for your place in the industry market. The struggle doesn’t only come down to selling your products and targeting your audience, but to creating a strong brand image that people will remember and recommend to others.

One of your top priorities once you have settled your business (i.e. after you have developed your ideas and products, and discovered your target buyers) is to have a marketing strategy in place. And preferably, one that will help your business expand and truly impact the industry.

How do you market your product and ideas? There are numerous approaches, but the following are our top favorites:

1. Finance Your Marketing Strategy


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Even though many marketing ideas are brought to reality with zero budget, most require you to invest capital with the expectation of a good comeback. Avoid trying to find ‘a good deal’ that won’t guarantee any results. Think through your options and choose the one that promises the best results and the least risk, even if costs more. No-budget marketing does not guarantee the results you would like to achieve since it’s less targeted and it’s hard to measure the impact of free campaigns. If you don’t have enough capital set aside for this purpose, a good option for you may be a small business loan against personal possessions.

Companies like Zillidy offer great conditions for their small business loans, plus it’s extremely easy to qualify for one — you don’t have to go through a credit check, and it’s all done online in a quick and efficient manner. Getting your capital quickly, without having to prepare a lot of unnecessary documentations that other loans require, means that you can spend more time on carefully and wisely budgeting the newly-acquired finances for your marketing campaign.

2. Network with Clients and Partners


Ashraful Kadir / Flickr /Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

A really important aspect of every marketing campaign is making sure you interact with both your existing customers, your potential customers and other businesses operating within your market. Why do you need the interaction? Making sure you connect with your customers assures brand recognition and appreciation. And your business connections? They’ll ensure the growth of your client base and building a good business reputation that might come in handy when you decide to expand or add services to your portfolio.

Before you get started, you need to make sure you can present your business in the best possible way. Creating an elevator pitch that you can deliver in just a few minutes is extremely important, especially when you are going to be talking to new possible clients and business partners. The elevator pitch allows you to be prepared to talk about your business at all times, knowing you won’t miss out on any important information.

In order to meet your present and future customers, a great idea is to rent a booth at a trade show or specific places where your customers are likely to shop (if you’re offering food products, you can have a special promotion at a superstore). And if you’re looking for business networking, we suggest you (1) go to a conference on a topic that interests you and involves your business, (2) join your local chamber of commerce, and/or (3) organize a business workshop where you can invite local business owners.

3. Build Lasting Relationships

PopTech Day Three, Oct 2008 - 015

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Once you have a solid network of both clients and business owners, you are ready to build lasting relationships with them. Building such relationships will not only guarantee referrals, but also some possible business collaboration.

How can you create relationships with your clients? You can send regular satisfaction surveys — make them short and to-the-point, but also make it clear that your customers’ opinion matters and they will receive something for completing the survey (this could include discounts and samples of new products). Make sure you let your best clients and partners know they are your biggest asset by sending out birthday cards or special promotions.

Get involved! Sponsor a charity of your choice, as people like associating with brands who have a clear social standing and support a cause. You can also donate products for fundraisers, cross-promote products with other local businesses or support a local sports team — the latter will ensure you reach a really targeted audience, and the supporters of your local team are likely to appreciate the brand that stands behind their club.

All of the above are true when it comes down to building relationships with your partners, too. Businesses are likely to engage with others that have a good image and a reputable social standing. If your customers are happy, other businesses are likely to take advantage of it by working with you. The conclusion here: using the best marketing for your clients secures better engagement with your partners. A great way to support the relationship is to organize cocktail evenings where you can invite your partners and discuss ideas. Don’t forget to appreciate your partners as much as your clients.

4. Use Unique Marketing Ideas

NATPE 2014

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Once you have a solid connection and your network is growing steadily, it’s time to try something off-the-beaten path. Not only will you be able to afford it strategically (i.e. it won’t hurt you if it doesn’t take off), but you will probably also have enough capital to back it up at this point. The main idea with unique marketing strategies is to generate hype and associate your brand with something cool and interesting. Remember, fun marketing ideas won’t stay unnoticed, so give it a shot and get people talking.

Here a few ideas to jump start your brainstorming session.

  • Why not get a company mascot? This will be a great way to get people to take picture with something that has your brand all over it! Once the pictures are uploaded on social media, your reach will be huge.
  • Get branded materials and wearables. Think about branded gym bottles or interesting phone cases, i.e. objects that people notice a lot and use daily.
  • Get creative and make a pen that looks like your logo, or put your brand at the bottom of a coffee mug with special ink so it’s only seen when there’s hot liquid inside. This will surely get people talking and make them remember your brand.

What marketing tricks do you use for your small business? Share your top strategies in the comments!

How to Finance Your University Studies in Canada Without Breaking the Bank

finance your studies

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Getting into your top-choice university is a joyous and memorable experience, and one that shouldn’t be overshadowed by any worries. The first thing that will hit you after the excitement passes will most likely be one of many finance-related questions: How will I fund my studies? How will I support myself while at school? How will I purchase my books, laptop, and other necessities? Even if you’ve thought about these before applying, now that you’ve gotten in, it’s crunch time — you need to plan how to finance your studies and consider all the possible options.

From paying tuition fees to your everyday bills and accommodation, you need to secure enough capital to cover you university spending. In case you don’t have a trust fund, or your family isn’t paying for your full education, here are the student loan options you should consider to cover your university spending:

1. Personal Loans

finance your studies

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This is a great option for all students in urgent need extra funds for school. Loans against personal possessions offered by companies like Zillidy are no-nonsense secure loans, which help you get cash extremely easily and quickly.

How do you apply for such personal loan online? You need to describe your asset in the best possible way — include as much detail and as many pictures as you can. After your item has been assessed by expert appraisers, you can ship it for free. You will then receive a final offer and once you accept it, your money will be transferred. In the meantime your item will be 100% safe and secure — you will receive your asset back in the same shape you sent it out. The wonderful thing about Zillidy’s personal loans is that you can leverage your personal possessions over and over without having to sell them.

2. Government Student Loans/Grants

finance your studies

The City of Toronto / Flickr /Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) University of Toronto

A. Canada Student Loans

The Canadian government offers up to 60 percent of the cost of your tuition in federal loan, if you fulfill the following requirements:

  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Canadian citizen
  • Full time students / Part time student
  • Additional specific criteria: Pass a credit check (for applicants over 22 years old)
  • And more…

How do you apply?

After you have made sure that you qualify for a government student loan, you can start filling out the application form, which can be found online or at your high school and/or provincial or territorial student financial assistance office.

Once you have completed the form, send it to your local Provincial and Territorial Student Financial Assistance Offices as applications are based on where you are a permanent citizen, not the province/territory in which your university is based (except for part-time student loans and grants). The application process can be sped up if you submit your forms online. It takes 4-6 weeks for all applications sent via post.

B. Canada Student Grants Program

What’s better than money you don’t have to repay? The Canada Student Grants Program offers funding for university/college that you don’t have to pay back after graduation. These grants are available to students from most provinces and territories (except the Northwest Territories, Quebec and Nunavut, which have their own grant and loan programs).

How do you apply?

You don’t need to apply for the grants program as you will be automatically assessed when you apply for a student loan. Note that you can get more than one of the following grants:

  • Grant for students from low-income families
  • Grant for part-time studies
  • Grant for students with permanent disabilities
  • And others…

3. Provincial and Territorial School Loans

Noted above is that some provinces like Quebec, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories have their own student loan and grant programs. Furthermore, if you have been denied federal financial assistance, there are options for you to secure provincial and territorial loans from the place where you reside. Such loans include the Nova Scotia Student Assistance; Saskatchewan Student Financial Assistance;  New Brunswick’s Student Financial Services and others.

4. Education Line of Credit from CIBC

finance your studies

In case all of the above are not an option for you, CIBC offers an Educational Line of Credit. The program offers up to $40,000 throughout your degree as a full-time or part-time student, both undergraduate and postgraduate. There’s a yearly limit of $15,000 for full-time undergraduate students and $7,500 for part-time undergraduate students. For all postgraduate students there’s no specific yearly limit (the $40,000 total credit limit applies). Furthermore, you can pay off your loan in full or part at any time without penalty charges.

If you’re wondering approximately how much you will be repaying on the Education Line of Credit, there’s an online calculator tool that can help you figure this out. The tool is for illustrative and general purposes only and assumes a constant rate of interest.

How will you fund your studies? Share your financing preferences in the comment section below.

4 Most Exciting Real Estate Startups in Canada

real estate startups

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After the much-publicized spike in the housing market prices in Canada and the boom in sales, the past few months have seen a decrease in sales and a steady transition into calmer waters. Many startups have broken new ground in the past few years due to the opportunities that the industry offers. The boom in sales has inspired new entrepreneur ventures to enter the market.

Not only are real estate startups an exciting business venture, but many have motivational stories to share and have succeeded in changing the face of the industry. These businesses are growing rapidly, and their online presence and achievements have much to say about the motivation and drive of the people who work and own the companies. Here’s a list of the top 4 most inspirational and fastest growing real-estate startups in Canada you should check out and keep on your radar:

1. SpaceList


SpaceList is a marketplace for office, industrial and retail spaces based in Vancouver, Canada. With around 450 million square feet of commercial real estate listings, SpaceList is Canada’s largest commercial real estate platform.

The team at SpaceList consists of “thoughtful, fun, and hard working people who are obsessed with making great products,” and they do make great products! The company, founded in 2012, is not only bigger than Canadian Real Estate Association’s ICX platform, but has managed to keep its focus of helping companies secure a space that can make their business visions become a reality.

Company founder Bill MacEwen is the inspiring entrepreneur who made SpaceList, itself, a reality. By employing a number of different professionals from an array of industries — design, engineering, business, software and others — he has backed his motivation to make SpaceList an extremely user-friendly platform for commercial real estate listings.

2. RealtyforSale


Have you ever bought a home in your life? It’s one of the hardest experiences, not only due to the fact that you have to stick with your decision for a really long time, but it’s also an extremely nerve-wracking process. RealtyForSale is one of Canada’s fastest growing online listing, a one-stop-shop for all real estate needs.

Based in Toronto, this startup is revolutionizing home buying by providing all real estate related information and data that any home-buyer may need in one place. Even though home-buying is currently in an unfortunate state — home prices are at an all-time high and mortgages are extremely hard to qualify for — RealtyforSale is making it easier for those customers who are willing to overlook the tough situation and shop for the right home.

Why the hype? The experience that RealtyforSales provides is extremely user-friendly and informative. Even though the regulations imposed by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) are making the overall experience of buying a home in Canada overwhelming, RealtyforSales makes it more enjoyable and positive by providing important information (e.g. where the nearest schools are, what the crime rate of the area is, and more) that makes the customer’s home-buying process easier.

3. Ubertor


A real estate Canadian startup with a global reach? Yup, it’s called Ubertor. The video-focused retail website helps make real estate easy and accessible to anyone, anywhere. Based in Vancouver and established in 2000, the team at Ubertor has helped realtors easily and creatively market their businesses and promote their property listing online.

With its global reach and clients from around the world, this real estate startup is an example of how creativity and great ideas combined, can really go far. Ubertor’s solutions set new standards for realty businesses’ online presence — from managing and generating web and mobile content to handling the online image of the company.

4. Spark CRM


Spark CRM is an online platform that helps real estate agents sell more homes. The business is based in Vancouver and the small team at Spark CRM delivers an online platform designed to help realtors with the entire sales process — from listing to marketing and closing the deal.

What makes Spark CRM different? it’s an extremely safe and cost-effective solution in addition to being the only platform at the moment that considers and employs back-end functionality and user-oriented design. Furthermore, Spark CRM allows realtors to create as many project profiles as they like and then market, manage and sell the properties all from one place.

Starting Your Own Business

Are these success stories inspiring you to start your own real estate business venture? In case you are worried about finding sufficient capital to start with, there are a number of options available to you. Consider Zillidy, a Canadian loan company that offers short-term small business loans against personal possessions. What’s exciting about Zillidy’s loans is that you don’t need to waste time filling out long documents or visiting banks — it’s easy, fast and secure to apply online.

Are you ready to be the next real estate startup success story? Tell us how you will finance your endeavour in the comment section below.

Starting a Business in Ontario? Here’s How to Register It Online

register online

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Are you excited to start your own business? Do you have a great idea, and want to make your dream happen by opening your local business in Ontario? There are a number of steps you need to take before you can make your business a reality — make sure you possess the right skills, work on defining your product, consumers and goals, and finally, complete the last important step before your business can take off — register it.

Registering your business online is extremely helpful, because you can do it from the comfort of your home without having to waste time visiting any institutional buildings. If you need help, or you just want to make sure your checklist includes all the right steps, check out our helpful walk-throughs for the different kinds of online registrations available for Ontario:

Registering Your: Business Name and Master Business License

register online - business name

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The first thing on your list should be choosing the name for your business. ServiceOntario’s Integrated Business Services Application provides new business owners with the opportunity to search within the registered name database in order to select a unique business name for their venture, and then register it at any suitable time. To begin, just follow the link above, but make sure to read the information below first.

Furthermore, the service provides you with the opportunity to apply for a Master Business License, which is a confirmation that your business name has been submitted to the Ministry of Government Services, Companies and Personal Property Security Branch for registration on the public record.

In order to register your business name and obtain the Master Business License make sure you have the following:

  1. A valid credit card. The online service supports all major credit cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express.
  2. $60 for the registration of the business name. This payment can be submitted at any time (24 hours a day, any day of the week). Also, you should prepare an additional $8 – $26 for the Enhanced Business Name Search (the price depends on the thoroughness of the report selected). Note that you can only search for business names online Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 6:00 pm.
  3. A printer, so you can print out and keep the Receipt, Summary Registration, Profile Summary, Master Business Licence and/or the Enhanced Business Name Report for your personal records.
  4. The Service Ontario’s Integrated Business Services Application runs smoothly on the following browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0, Mozilla Firefox 17.0, Google Chrome 23.0, Opera 12.0 and Apple Safari 5.1. Bear in mind that Mozilla Firefox 17.0 and Google Chrome 23.0 are recommended for all computer operating systems.
  5. It takes about 30 minutes to complete your registration online. You will have your Master Business License ready to print out immediately if you register Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 6:00 pm; otherwise your license will be sent to your email within 2 business days.

In case anything goes wrong with the service, there’s a money back service guarantee for all new business name registrations (Terms and Conditions apply).

Register Your: Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), Payroll Deductions, Corporate Income Tax, and Import/Export Accounts

register online - taxes

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The online service provided by the Canada Revenue Agency is a one-stop, online, self-service application that allows you to register for a Business Number along with the four program accounts: Payroll Deduction, Corporate Income Tax, Import/Export Accounts and Harmonized Sales Tax.

The Business Number is an identifier for businesses to simplify their dealings with the federal, provincial, and municipal governments. Before you register, make sure you check if your business needs such number. In case you do:

  1. Check that your business doesn’t fall under the following restrictions: (a) you do not have a valid social insurance number; (b) you want a 3rd program account for the same business; (c) you have a non-resident business and want to register for a GST program account; or (d) one of the other restrictions. Unfortunately, if any of the restrictions apply to your business you will not be able to use the Business Registration Online Service.
  2. Gather the information you need: basic business information, corporation income tax program account, payroll program account, and more.

What Else Can You Accomplish Online?

register online - what else?

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  • Finance your business

In case you don’t have enough funding or capital to begin your business venture, there are easy ways to borrow money that don’t require any paperwork and hassle. For example, online small business loans from Zillidy are a fast and safe way to secure funding against personal possessions.

Such loans are a great way to finance your business because they help you reach your goals fast and you don’t have to worry about any hidden fees or indiscretion. Furthermore, when everything goes according to plan, you will get your valuables back in the exact shape they were at, because of the secure way your possessions are handled.

  • Change Your Address / Information /  Renew Your Registration

Once you have successfully registered your business name and you have received your Master Business License, you need to renew your registration every five years (a new Master Business License will be issued with each renewal). The fee and the process is the same as the business name registration.

If you change your business’s address, payroll deduction account, corporate income tax account, or other business details, you will need to go through the Change of Business Information online service, without having to fill out any paperwork or visit institutions in person.

Once you are done registering your business, why not explore funding options for your startup online? Share your opinion in the comment section below.

5 Upcoming Conferences Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs Shouldn’t Miss


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Are you a young entrepreneur or a small business owner looking for networking, sharing and learning opportunities? Attending the right conferences and forums can be the ideal opportunity to find like-minded people, discover sources of inspiration and learn about the latest trends in your industry or converse about topics of interest!

There are a number of events happening regularly in Canada’s biggest cities, but how do you choose the right ones to attend? Make sure you’re investing your money wisely, and paying to attend the right conferences, not the wrong ones. Sometimes, it might not be the best idea to go for the flashiest and most widely advertised forums — they might not give you that much insight or the right kind of insight. If you find a conference you are certain will be worth the fee, there are a number of asset-based loans from companies like Zillidy, which you can use to cover your costs and integrate your ideas after attending the conference.

So what’s your checklist? You could consider such things as:

  • Does the conference touch on subjects you want to learn, or are interested in?
  • Is it aimed at small businesses and entrepreneurs?
  • Does the participation fee seem fair and manageable?
  • Do you think you will get enough valuable insights from the talks?
  • Will the conference include enough networking opportunities to connect your business with related companies?

Here’s a list of 5 top conferences that would be of interest to any small business entrepreneur:

1. Global Investment Forum Toronto


The Global Investment Forum, organized by The Mercer LLC, will take place at the The Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, 23-24 September 2014.

The forum will provide an in-depth presentation and discussion on topics including:

  • Illiquidity budgeting and accessing alternative asset premia;
  • How, as an investor, you can profit from a return to normality,
  • Should investors focus more on thematic investing and more.

The conference will also address the benefits you can reap from the current upswing — “The road to health remains a potentially long and winding one.”

2. Enterprise Risk Management Canada

marcusevansThe 4th annual Enterprise Risk Management Canada will take place in Toronto, September 30 – October 1 2014. The conference is organized by Marcus Evans – North America; the venue is yet to be announced.

Following the success of the previous 3 editions of the conference, the two-day event will focus on providing insight into Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and opportunities for focused discussions. During the Enterprise Risk Management Canada conference, you will be able to learn from presentations, panel discussions and case studies. The organizers promise that by attending you will learn how to:

  • re-align ERM strategies
  • avoid common pitfalls
  • identify rating agency priorities and expectations

3. Global Finance Conference

global-finance-conferenceThe Global Finance Conference, organized by BlackSharp & Company, will take place in Toronto, 21-22 October 2014. The venue is yet to be announced.

The event has an impressive list of speakers including Brian Armstrong (CFO of Microsoft) and Jacques Fleurant (CFO of HSBC) among other big names. Do you want to learn how to think like an extraordinary CFO? The Global Finance Conference promises to help you do so by having an “agenda packed with insights and guidance on how to move your business to the next level, leveraging innovative financing opportunities and increasing your export capabilities.”

4. CIO Toronto Summit

cio_toronto_summit_logo_webMoving away from the finance-centered conferences, the CIO Toronto Summit, organized by Custom Design Marketing & Media, will take place on 16 September 2014, in Toronto. The venue is yet to be announced.

The topics that will be discussed during the CIO Toronto Summit include:

  • “Moving Email to the Cloud… Not if, but When,”
  • “Shift Your IT Spend from Ongoing Operations to Innovation in 2014,”
  • “Is your organization ready for Real-Time?”
  • “Let Your Users Go Rogue Without Going off the Range” and more.

The conference will include CIO case studies along with information and discussions about the internet transformation and building an integrated enterprise. The agenda is designed to provide the attendees with enough time for networking and discussions.

5. The Social Media & Society Conference

The organizing body of this free conference is the Social Media Lab at Dalhousie University. This two-day conference will take place in Downtown Toronto, 28-29 September 2014.

The Social Media & Society Conference will provide small business owners and entrepreneurs with the opportunity to discuss social media and its impact on society and consumers. The conference will present a lineup of authors from 21 countries, including Canada and the UK.The two keynote speakers of the 2014 Social Media & Society Conference are John Weigelt, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Canada and Dr. Keith N. Hampton, Rutgers University, USA. The main topics that the conference will touch on are:

  • online/offline communities
  • social media & big data
  • the impact of social media on society

Which of the conferences listed above do you think you will attend? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Top 3 Online Learning Resources That Can Benefit Every Digital Startup

digital startups - top learning

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Do you have an amazing idea and possibly some cash to back it up, but no idea where to start? Many risk-taking digital startups are taking advantage of the social media boom and the pros that digital space provides. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide a fast and easy way to network and market your ideas and products; other modern resources like easily-accessible small business loans against personal possessions or on-demand tutorials can really help skyrocket your business ventures.

Even though the economy’s growth is slow, the new young faces of startups can benefit from access to global networks and free educational programs. If you are not sure how to start your business, advertise successfully, or grow your idea — no problem! You can take online courses to help you in any aspect of your new business. If you’re not able to afford attending paid courses or buy lessons online, you can still benefit your digital startup by taking advantage of these top-notch free online educational resources:

1. codecademy

digital startups - codecademy

There’s no way you can be a digital entrepreneur and not know how to code. Here’s where you can learn to master the art of coding … and it’s for free! With over 24 million learners across the world, codecademy is one of the busiest learning databases.

Being a digital educational startup itself, codecademy’s team at aims to rethink education “from the bottom up.” The platform helps you learn how to code — from building your own website to learning Java, Python and more. The success stories shared by codecademy users are a source of inspiration, motivation and real-life examples of what your business could look like.

2. copyblogger


Want to learn how to master content marketing and create valuable content suitable for a digital medium? Since 2006, copyblogger has been one of the best sources of information on topics that will help you backup your startup with strong online content marketing.

The blog is updated daily and features topics that cover SEO, social media, blogging and email marketing. The articles (about 5 to 6 per week) will provide you with good in-depth knowledge on the best practices in content marketing right now. In addition to articles, copyblogger’s database includes eBooks and seminars.

With over 1400 shares on social media, “3 Invisible Elements Your Sales Page Needs to Convert (One is Truly Unique)” is one of the most important lessons entrepreneurs need to focus on and learn how to master.

3. Udemy


Udemy is not a completely free database, but there are many courses available to anyone free of charge. Udemy has one of the biggest course database on the web, offering over 18,000 on-demand courses, all taught by expert instructors.

Udemy is the home of an extremely insightful course, An Entrepreneur’s Checklist, taught by Steve Blank. Blank has founded or participated in eight Silicon Valley startups and many others. Steve teaches entrepreneurship and is an extremely trusted lecturer based on his 30+ years of experience in the field.

An Entrepreneur’s Checklist touches on the subjects of vertical and horizontal markets; market and technology risks and regulations, and other topics important to every entrepreneur in the making. With over 37,500 students enrolled and 4+ star feedback, this course should be on your to-watch list.

Want something a little different?

Bonus: Digital Media Zone (A Startup Incubator)

digital startups - digital media zone

Started in 2010, Digital Media Zone is Canada’s largest startup space. Located in Toronto, Ontario, the DMZ(et) is housed over five floors at Ryerson University. Although it was originally only accessible to students, the space is now available to the general public. DMZ has had many success stories. Startups have grown and expanded with a success rate of over 70%. Plus, the startup incubator has generated over 1,100 new jobs since it opened, with businesses operating in industries ranging from software companies to healthcare.

Startup incubators are continuing to grow and generate interest, but for every entrepreneur they are a place to exchange ideas, learn and develop — something traditional education can offer or guarantee to an unfortunately limited degree.

Share which online learning resources you find useful in the comment section below.

Top 5 Most Inspiring Speeches to Help Make Your Business Better

What makes people successful? It can’t be put into one sentence or one word, however, the thing that comes closest is the drive to succeed. The motivation to reach our goals and not give up is what keeps us going, even during the hard times. Finding the things that inspire you and pursuing them is a good way to keep your focus and keep your motivation up.

Some of the top business leaders today are inspired by people telling them they can’t do something. Some, like Pete Flint, find inspiration in solving big problems. In both cases, other people’s struggles in the industry, and especially those of successful leaders, can help us find the motivation to defeat the challenges we face at work. In case you are already motivated but struggling to secure enough capital, companies like Zillidy are loaning against personal possessions.

Here are five of the most inspiring speeches that will surely motivate you to achieve your dreams and help you be a better professional:

#OprahWinfrey — “My choice to do the right thing [...] has created the brand [Oprah].”

Oprah - inspiring speeches

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Oprah Winfrey is a household name and for good reason. She’s one of the most successful business women in the world, currently #4 on Forbes’s list of Most Powerful Celebrities after shining at #1 last year. Her success, initially driven by her talk show, which is one of the most successful talk shows to ever air, has inspired a lot of people around the world and turned Oprah into a powerful brand. Her business ventures include a satellite and cable channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), in addition to a number of publishing deals.

Oprah has presented many inspiring business talks, but her Commencement Address to the Class of 2012 at Spelman College is one of her most memorable speeches.

“Be excellent. Excellence shows itself. Let excellence be your brand… What I recognize now is that my choice to [do the right thing] in every way, in every example, in every experience, [to do] the excellent thing is what has created the brand [Oprah].”


#JKRowling — “It is impossible to live without failing at something.”

JK Rowling - inspiring speeches

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J. K. Rowling is a British author mainly known for writing the Harry Potter book series. Rowling is another celebrity to make the top 100 Most Powerful Celebrities list. The Harry Potter book series is currently holding the Guinness World Record for the best-selling book series in history.

Continuing the success of the Harry Potter franchise, Rowling has penned another two successful novels, The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo’s Calling. The latter was written under a different pen name (Robert Galbraith) and is to be made into a BBC miniseries. Apart from being a successful novelist and businesswoman, Rowling is also a mother of three, making her an inspiration to women worldwide.

Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech is about dealing with failure, something that success is usually closely linked to; her touching and inspiring story has captured many people’s hearts.

“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you fail by default.”


#SteveJobs — “You have to trust in something.”

Steve Jobs - inspiring speeches

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Steve Jobs is possibly one of the most recognized entrepreneurs, marketers and inventors in the world. He was the co-founder of two super brands — Apple and Pixar. Steve Jobs was described as “The Father of the Digital Revolution,” by People and Lifestyle in 2010,  and is one of the  most influential entrepreneurs in the world. His authorized biography Steve Jobs became a New York bestseller upon release, published days after the entrepreneur passed away.

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech has over 20 million views on YouTube and is an inspiring, yet helpful speech about an important topic — keeping a focus.

“You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever; because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference.”


#SherylSandberg — “Keep your foot on the gas pedal.”

Sheryl Sandberg - inspiring speeches

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Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook, and her estimated net worth exceeds 1 billion dollars as of January 2014. She is one of the most successful business women in the world. Apart from working at Google in the past, she is the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board. In 2013, she was ranked in the top 5 of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women.

Sheryl’s TED speech on the subject “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders” has been well received by the public with over 6500 likes on YouTube, and is an inspiration to many women across the globe.

“Don’t leave before you leave. Stay in. Keep your foot on the gas pedal until the very day you need to leave [...] Don’t make decisions too far in advance.”


#ShawnAchor — “See stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.”

Shawn Achor - inspiring speeches

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Shawn Achor is one of the most well-recognized positive psychology educators and authors. His work has been positively received and licensed in partnership with the International Thought Leadership Network. Shawn is one of the most influential and successful motivational speakers around the world, specializing on the link between happiness and productivity and how to use them in your business ventures.

Shawn’s funny and educational TEDx Birmingham talk has been watched by more than half a million people and inspires viewers to re-think the well-known formula “success brings happiness.”

“75% of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.”

inspiring speeches

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Which of the above speeches inspired you the most? Tell us in the comment section below.

Top 5 Skills You Need to Become a Successful Entrepreneur

We constantly hear people being described as entrepreneurs — Alan Sugar of the famous TV reality show “The Apprentice” and Virgin’s very own CEO Richard Branson among others. But how do you become an entrepreneur? Does it simply take luck and an idea that magically works out, or do you just have to be a really good business person?

Drew Huston, Dropbox Co-Founder and CEO said that people shouldn’t worry about failures, but should keep pushing until they find the one idea that works. You only have to be right once. This is one of the things that makes a modern-day entrepreneur — being persistent and having good ideas. The following qualities are what makes today’s entrepreneurs successful:


#Management (time, money, team)

time - how to be an entrepreneur

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Time management — this is a skill closely related to self-motivation. The more motivated you feel, the better you manage your time and stick to your schedule. Don’t waste your time checking Facebook too often, keep a tight schedule in order to achieve more and have enough time to learn, reflect and polish your ideas.

Find and manage the right team — A good entrepreneur needs to know how to network effectively and find the right people to join the company. It’s important to motivate the people around you in order to help them help you achieve your goals as an aspiring entrepreneur. You should seek to create an open and relaxed work atmosphere in which you can receive honest feedback from your team. Like Victoria Sopik, many entrepreneurs still work with people they hired when they started out, because they found the right team.

Money management — Steady cash flow is really important, especially when we are talking about startups and aspiring entrepreneurs. Managing your money will ensure that you will successfully finance your ideas and possible expansions. Aspiring entrepreneurs often struggle to secure enough capital to finance their business. A really fast and accessible way to receive the money you need is to apply for a loan against personal possessions. Companies, like Zillidy,are a great option for all in need of capital.

#Resiliency and #Persistence

how to be an entrepreneur

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Both resiliency and persistence are stimulated by your will to achieve your goals and the hunger to be successful. To never give up on your dreams and follow them is something that can make you a top entrepreneur. Being able to deliver no matter what unexpected problems may arise not only shows managers and recruiters that you are resilient, but showcases your persistent spirit and keeps you motivated.

Companies would be likely to invest in startups and entrepreneurs who continually prove that they adapt and improve not only their ideas, but also themselves. This is an important lesson on how to be a modern-day entrepreneur — be motivated and adapt quickly. Using those two skills will ensure that you are ready to face the obstacles, which the highly competitive markets throw at you. 

#Learning and #Self-Reflection

learn - how to be an entrepreneur

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Learning to be a better professional —  upgrade your ideas and yourself — is a skill that helps today’s strongest entrepreneurs stay on top of their game. Successful people and entrepreneurs realize that they don’t know everything about the industry and the market in which they operate. The reason for their limited knowledge? The business environment is always changing and events and new ideas stir up your safe zone. The solution? Learn and self-reflect!

How do you do that?

  • Staying in touch with the latest technological, industry and consumer trends is crucial to knowing where your business is headed and modifying your ideas so they are ready for the next change.
  • Learning from your mistakes and reflecting on your decisions are good ways to receive valuable insight from your personal experience .
  • Allowing yourself to take some time every day to think about the things you have done and can do better is a good way to not let yourself burn out both physically and emotionally.
  • Learning from sources outside of yourself is one of the top strategies that allow you to be a modern-day entrepreneur. You should always strive to plan ahead based on new knowledge and reflection. Acting upon analysis is just one of the lessons that successful entrepreneurs should learn.

You will be able to not only preserve your startup, but make sure it comes out on top. Persist through the hard times, and learn from your problems and failures to reach your goals.

Richard Branson - how to be an entrepreneur

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What skills do you think will make a modern-day entrepreneur successful? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.