Growing a business can mean different things to different people. The Growing Your Business guide is for you if:
If you are starting a business in Ontario, read our Business Start-Up Guide.
Business Start-Up Guide
You may already know how you want to grow your business. Writing down your growth plans can help you determine how to make it happen. Consider looking at your current business performance and outlining a plan before you start.
You may want to do a business assessment to determine your current situation and prepare you for any changes that may result from your plans to expand.
When you started your business, you may have created a business plan to outline your goals and your strategy for getting your idea off the ground. Once your business is established and growing, you should revisit that plan. Your business plan can help you identify and address potential risk factors before they develop, and guide your growth activities.
Planning for business growth
Understanding who your customers are, what they need or want, and how to reach them is an essential part of growing a successful business. One way to get more information on your customers is through market research and statistics.
Market Research and Statistics
Canada Business Ontario’s free secondary market research service can help you expand your small business by providing information about:
Secondary Market Research — Canada Business Ontario
Marketing can help you determine the value of your product or service and communicate that information to customers. Depending on your market and its size, you can consider using flyers, business cards, brochures, newspapers, radio, TV, the phone book or the Internet. Keep in mind, a satisfied customer or a positive referral is often the best form of advertising.
When preparing your marketing and/or advertising material, there are regulations to follow. When you promote a product or service, your customers need to have enough information to make informed choices. You can get more information on advertising requirements from the Competition Bureau.
Contact the Competition Bureau:
Misleading Advertising and Labelling
Canada Business can help you find government financing options for your business. There are programs that apply to businesses across Canada, and others that apply only to businesses in Ontario. Use the Canada Business financing search tool or browse by type of financing.
You can also access Canada Business information through the ONe-Source online financing wizard. The wizard guides you through 3 easy steps to create a personalized list of results for Ontario business financing programs.
Contact the Business Info Line:
You can find Ontario-specific assistance for your business including advice, financing options, tax incentive programs and more using the Ontario government’s free online directory of support programs for business.
The OBPG provides:
Ontario Business Program Guide
When you want to grow your business, it is important to analyze the business’s financial performance. Financial ratios are one of the many tools you can use to do your financial analysis. Financial ratios are used to measure the relationship between two or more components of financial statements (like a debt-to-asset ratio), and the results are compared to industry standards for businesses of similar size and activity. For more information on financial analysis and financial ratios, refer to the following online resources.
Financial analysis using ratios
There are many ways to grow a business. Whether you are expanding into new markets, developing a new product line, or moving into new distribution channels, each strategy will present different challenges. To determine which option is best suited to your business needs, read the following guide.
Assess your options for growth
Listed below are some of the most common ways that a small business may grow.
Selling online, also known as e-business, can increase your customer base because your customers may be anywhere in the world. Keep in mind that selling to other countries–even over the internet–means that you are exporting and you will need to follow additional regulations.
Uses for e-business – Business to Customer
Exporting is one way to grow your business. It requires careful market research and planning to assess the risks and benefits of taking your product or service to new markets. Read our guides to learn about exporting, and how to make sure your business is ready to enter international markets.
You can also read our blog on going global for more information on exporting.
Going global: Is your Ontario business export ready?
Hiring employees can be an effective way to manage the growth of your business. Before you make the decision to hire employees, make sure that it is the right decision for your business.
Managing a growing business can present new challenges to a business owner. When a business is growing, there may be changes in processes and staffing requirements, as well as decisions about investments and strategies for future expansions.
The following resources can help you find support, learn about managing your business and prepare you for growth challenges.
The success of any business starts by setting goals and managing the ups and downs of daily operations. The following guide will help you determine how you can structure your business, manage production processes and avoid risks.
Managing Your Business
The use of business support services can be essential to the success of a small business. Professionals can provide knowledge and expertise to ensure your business is operating efficiently. You can find links to a variety of support organizations, including chambers of commerce, mentoring and training organizations and business consultants through the Canada Business website.
Business Support Organizations
When your business is growing, you may decide to create a specific logo, brand or unique product. In order to protect your intellectual property, you can patent, trademark, copyright or licence your product or brand. Read the Intellectual Property Guide for more information.
What is Intellectual Property?
If you have legal questions, contact a lawyer who deals with business regulations. The Law Society of Upper Canada's Lawyer Referral Service may be able to assist you in finding a lawyer, based on your needs.
Contact the Law Society of Upper Canada:
Law Society of Upper Canada's Lawyer Referral Service
For other information that relates to starting your business, you can read the following guides:
Additional resources that may be of interest to you include:
You can also find books, magazines and other relevant print material at business service organizations in your community. To locate a Canada Business Ontario (CBO) community partner, contact us through the Business Info Line at 1-888-745-8888.
Information contained in this document is of a general nature only and is not intended to constitute advice for any specific situation. Users concerned about the reliability of the information should consult directly with the source, or seek legal counsel.
Some of the organizations listed above are not subject to the federal Official Languages Act or the French Language Services Act of Ontario. Their services may not be available in both official languages.