Senior businessman doing accounting at his desk

Before kickstarting your business there are a few things to consider that could make or break your success. (Photo by Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock)

Canada | Financial Literacy

Set yourself on the right track as a senior entrepreneur with these 9 tips

Expert advice on what to think about before the big launch

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Before kickstarting your business there are a few things to consider that could make or break your success. Zara Kanji, CPA, CGA, owner of accounting firm Zara Kanji and Associates and Wanda Morris, VP of advocacy and COO for CARP, share their insights, and provide a starting point, with these nine tips. 

  1. Discern the business’s viability and decide what type of business it will be (i.e. sole proprietorship, corporation or partnership). “Know that there is a niche and a need for that business, do your homework and have a business plan as a result of it,” advises Kanji.  
  2. Establish short and long-term objectives and a contingency plan to prepare for any potential risks. “Have a fall back plan,” recommends Morris. “Start out small…so if things don’t work out, you are not in a big amount of debt. Let’s see how it goes. Let’s test it. Show an ability to be flexible, as you work out a plan.”  
  3. Show me the money. Establish how much money you will need, how you will pay yourself, and your funding options. Avoid any fixed costs, including long-term leases or full-time staff.  
  4. Consider a partnership to share the workload and financing. A younger cohort may also improve your funding options. “When you collaborate with someone younger, you bring the experience to the table and they bring the energy and gumption and access to technology and marketing capabilities you may not be aware of,” says Kanji.   
  5. Develop an exit plan to determine what will happen to the business if you decide to leave, or something unexpected happens. If you have a partner, how would you divvy up the business? 
  6. Understand compliance responsibilities to the CRA and other regulatory bodies, if applicable. Will you need to put money aside for HST/GST/QST? What are your tax deductibles? Are their licensing fees to pay, a code of conduct to follow?  
  7. Be cautious about tapping into your assets, investments and savings. Understand the implications on government benefits including Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), Quebec Pension Plan (QPP), Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).  
  8. Work with a financial professional who can see the big picture, weighing your wants versus your needs. 
  9. If it’s a passion you’re pursuing, keep it real. Know when to pull in the reins, let them loose, or stop the cart altogether. “Put your mind over heart,” says Morris. “You may have a great idea, but no matter how fantastic it is, if it isn’t working, cut your losses…and move on.” 


Look to CPA Canada’s entrepreneur-focused financial literacy sessions for more on launching a successful start-up, particularly the Top Five Mistakes Start-Ups Make session.