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While the following list does not cover everything, it does provide a basic overview for anyone wanting to buy or start a small business. It assumes technical competence on the part of the entrepreneur with regard to the goods or services he will supply. It also assumes a lawyer and accountant will be consulted when appropriate. If you are the entrepreneur, there are three main subtexts you will need to consider depending on your situation:
Are you buying an existing business?
Are you starting from scratch?
Will you be employing or hiring workers?
Each of these will require special consideration.
Starting out by purchasing an existing business?
Never buy an existing business without first having a competent third party complete an appraisal of all assets, debts, liabilities, cash flow and physical structure. Liabilities include ongoing or past complaints to Human Rights Tribunals; Worker’s Compensation (claims/rate changes); Labour Boards/Tribunals.
Feel comfortable with the terms of any assumed contract to which you agree as part of the sale price: franchise agreements, membership contracts, merchant services, garbage and snow removal, telephone etc. Not comfortable? Negotiate before you sign.
Remember that current employees may have ‘continuity of employment’ set by provincial/federal Employment Standards Acts.
If the business is unionized, you will likely inherit the union along with the business. Consult a labour lawyer specializing in management rights before signing any document. Remain silent on the subject until you do.
Starting out from scratch?
Once you take on or hire your first employee, your world will never be the same – for better or worse. Without employees most businesses will find it difficult if not impossible to grow. Not to worry: Most employees, when treated fairly, will do their best to help you succeed. By considering the following issues and setting up your business properly from the start, you can increase the chances your employees will help you grow rather than be a source of discouragement. A CFIB membership allows a business to use CFIB’s Business Resources Counselling Services to better understand employment obligations and best practices.
While the above is not a comprehensive list, it is a good start.
Got questions? Interested in membership with CFIB? Call a Business Counsellor.