Author: Lindsay Davies

What to consider when growing your business

What to consider when growing your business

what to consider when growing your business

Growing your business is an exciting, exhilarating and challenging time. There are a lot of factors to consider in understanding if it’s a good time for your business to grow. Whether you’re anticipating expanding your location, team, or product or service line, there are several key decisions to make when taking your business to the next level.  

This article will dive into the key opportunities to consider when you’re ready to take the next steps in your growing business.

The need to grow a business can come from a variety of factors. Some indicators that you may want to consider growing your business are: 

  • Your business is growing organically and you want to be more strategic about how to expand
  • Your customers want products or services that you don’t offer
  • You have identified a new target customer for your current products or services 
  • A new market for your current products or services has emerged
  • Your products or processes can be innovated or improved
  • Competitors have left or entered the market and changed the landscape

Growth makes sense when it’s needed to meet customer demand and/or to remain competitive, but it’s important to understand the financial and organizational impacts to your business.

When looking at the financial aspects of growing your business, consider where you might get access to funding:

  • Do you have extra cash in the business? 
  • Do you have additional inventory that you can sell?
  • Do you have outstanding accounts receivable that you can collect? 
  • Do you have access to new investors, loans, or grants that could fund the growth? 

When growing a business, sales are always considered, but it’s also important to estimate how much the cost of goods/services sold and operating expenses will increase alongside an increase in sales. With these numbers calculated, if there is an increase in all or most of these numbers, this is a sign that growth could make sense:

  • Net profit
  • Gross margin = gross profit/revenue
  • Operating margin = operating profit/revenue
  • Net profit margin = net profit/revenue

Ensuring that your business is financially ready is key to success, however you should make preparations beyond your finances to map out successful growth.  

Operationally, consider the requirements needed to grow:

  • Do you and your staff have the expertise and time to implement growth strategies? Will you need to hire additional team members or experts to support your business growth? 
  • Does your business have the operational and systems capacity to sustain growth? Consider your manufacturing, equipment, website, CRM, and other tools you need to grow your business. If not, can you use the financial resources available to you to put those requirements into place? 
  • Would any amendments to your products be needed to accommodate intellectual property or safety rules in another country?

Lastly, growing a business can be taxing, not only on a business owner but on the employees of your organization as well. Taking care of your people, your processes and yourself is key in expanding your business. Consider how you might update, adapt and communicate the culture of your organization to prepare your team (and yourself) for the road ahead: 

  • As a leader, consider how you might take time to prepare, coach and upskill yourself and your team
  • As your company expands, what is your plan to provide additional support to your team through organizational growing pains? 
  • How will you recognize and retain the people you need to help your business expand? 
  • How and when will you ask your team for input on the growth strategy? 

Growing your business is challenging, however consistently asking yourself these questions and creating (and consistently revisiting) a plan will help you as your business grows. For more information and advice on how to review your business’ finances, operations, and readiness and to assess if you’re ready for growth, you can meet with an ATB Entrepreneur Strategist

Creating a sustainable future: understanding the single-use items bylaw

Creating a sustainable future: understanding the single-use items bylaw

Single use items bylaw for Alberta small business

In December 2021, the federal government announced a single-use plastics ban as a part of its plan to meet the goal of zero plastic waste by 2030.  A scientific assessment done by the government of Canada revealed that plastic is polluting our rivers, lakes, and oceans and generating microplastics in water we use everyday.

The federal single-use plastics ban has been accompanied by bylaw regulations in some municipalities within Alberta. This article will help you understand these regulations and how they may affect your small business.

What is included within the ban

The federal government has defined six categories of single-use plastics that include checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware, ring carriers, stir sticks and straws. All of these items contribute to the adverse effects of plastic pollution. To find out more about the technical specifications visit the government of Canada’s website.

Some municipal bylaws go beyond the federal recommendations to include not only plastics, but single use items in general.  Single-use items generally fit within the same categories mentioned above but may be made from alternative materials such as wood, bamboo, foam, cardboard, and other materials. 

How it can affect your business

The federal regulations prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of products in the six categories mentioned above. To allow the industry to adapt to the changes these regulations are being implemented on a staggered timeline

Local Bylaws

In addition to the federal policy, many municipalities are introducing their own regulations around single use items. Banff, Wetaskiwin, Spruce Grove, Edmonton (effective July 1st) and Calgary (effective 2024), are among the municipalities that have passed bylaws on single-use items.

These bylaws are designed to complement the federal policy, with some taking the next step toward single-use items in general rather than specifically single-use plastics. While each bylaw has its distinctive elements, there is commonality between them. They each address several items that may affect your business: 

  • The distribution of single-use plastic shopping bags (including compostable ones).
  • Minimum charge amount for paper shopping bags and reusable bags.
  • Restrictions on foam plates, cups and containers.
  • Request only policies for food service items like utensils, straws, condiment packets, napkins and stir sticks. 

If any of these regulations apply to your business you can check the links above for more information about the specific bylaws in your municipality.

Potential Benefits and Challenges 

While adapting to these new regulations may seem challenging, there are many benefits to pivoting your business away from single-use items. With consumers having a strong preference for sustainability, being able to adopt environmentally conscious practices may help you capture more market share and will contribute to a more positive brand image, which can also impact your ability to attract and retain top talent. Additionally, exploring single-use alternatives creates possibilities for innovation and business growth, and you may find other ways within your business to make greener choices. 

Adapting to these new policies may take time as your business figures out the best way to adopt, align and shift. You may want to consider how supply chain issues may impact your business and ensure that alternatives can be sourced to meet your needs. 

Strategies for compliance

An important step in ensuring your business’s compliance with these regulations is thorough research and understanding of both the federal and local policies. If your business utilizes single-use items currently, it’s important to set aside time to explore sustainable packaging and materials that will suit your specific needs. It’s a good idea to reach out to suppliers and collaborate with them so they can support you in your transition away from plastics and other single-use materials.

For more information on how you can grow your business, visit

Start with SWOT: Using a SWOT analysis as a strategic tool

Start with SWOT: Using a SWOT analysis as a strategic tool

SWOT Analysis header

A powerful business plan addresses all of the known factors pertaining to your company’s future, but before you can build your plan, you should complete an honest evaluation of the positives and negatives around your idea. Developing a thorough SWOT analysis will identify many items you will need to include and address in your plan.

SWOT stands for:

These 4 elements can be put into two main categories:

Internal (strengths and weaknesses)
External (opportunities and threats)

A detailed inventory of your weaknesses and threats will put you in position to anticipate the challenges you will face as you get your business up and running. You can then leverage your strengths and opportunities to build strategies for facing those challenges. Planning this out in advance will allow you to act quickly and decisively when issues arise.
These can be communicated in your business plan to show that you know what you are up against and how you will deal with it. This is important to prospective lenders, investors and partners. More importantly, it gives you a solid foundation from which to view your business and the environment in which it must function.

Internal Factors

Strengths – What are the strengths that your business and your key people bring to the table? This may be experience, education, contacts in industry, physical or intellectual property, expressions of interest, access to capital, etcetera.

Weaknesses – What is currently lacking when it comes to your business and key people? This may be lack of equipment, industry knowledge, capital, key contacts, business acumen, etcetera.

Note: These are simply suggestions and not an exhaustive list. Each of these could be included as a strength or weakness depending on your specific situation. Be open minded and honest as you populate your own lists.

External Factors

Opportunities – What opportunities exist outside of your business that you may be able to capitalize on? These could be a growing market, changing legislation, economic shifts, lack of competition, success of a complimentary service, government support for your industry, etcetera.

Threats – What threats exist outside of your business that you may need to deal with in order to succeed? These could be a surge in competition, inflation, labor shortages, new technologies taking market share, lack of government support for your industry, etcetera.

Note: These are simply suggestions and not an exhaustive list. Each of these could be included as opportunities or threats depending on your specific situation. Be open minded and honest as you populate your own lists.

SWOT analysis

SWOT Summary

In your business plan, you can include your entire SWOT analysis, but it is recommended to have a summary outlining the findings and learnings of your SWOT analysis. This gives you the opportunity to easily demonstrate how your strengths and opportunities can be used to deal with the weaknesses and threats the business must deal with.

Targeted SWOT Options

A general SWOT analysis, like the one mentioned above, is helpful in analyzing and presenting an overall view of your business. It can be applied at the startup phase or at any time during the lifecycle of your business where an evaluation might be helpful.
It is also possible to use the same format to analyze specific parts of your business. For example, many businesses use SWOT specifically to analyze their marketing, operations or human resources. You can also apply the SWOT format when researching your competition to see where you may be able to get an advantage.

A Living Document

Like your business plan, a SWOT analysis is a tool that is valuable throughout the life of your business. Situations constantly change, so use your SWOT as a living document and revise it on a regular basis. Use it to keep track of the strengths and weaknesses within your business as they evolve, stay ahead of new threats and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Preparing your seasonal small business for success

Preparing your seasonal small business for success

Clear blue skies, warm sunshine and long days—sure signs that summer, and Alberta’s tourism season, have arrived. The tourism season brings opportunities for Alberta small businesses, with $8.4 billion from tourism visitors contributing to Alberta’s GDP in 2019. 

Preparing your seasonal small business for success involves some strategy and understanding how work in the off-season will contribute to your success. 

Make a plan

Running a successful business relies on preparation. Seasonal or not, having a business plan gives you direction, highlighting who your target audience will be, key metrics for success, investment needs and opportunities for marketing and promotion. For tourism businesses, pick your opening or launch date for the season and work backwards to determine the timeline for staff hiring and training. For example, if your business works exclusively at farmers markets or festivals, you may already know your season launch and end dates. If you’re waiting for the spring thaw on Cold Lake to be able to launch, that date may be harder to determine. 

If you’re returning for another year, review the plan you made at the end of the previous season. What operational changes need to be made for this season to be successful, if any? Let the time between seasons provide a new perspective while you review your analysis and outline for the upcoming season. 

Consider your inventory and the materials needed to start the season right. What do you need to stock or restock your business for opening? Whether it’s cups and plates or marketing materials, make a list and identify how long it will take to procure. The earlier you plan ahead, the more likely you are to avoid shipping delays or supply chain concerns. Focus on your raw material needs, anything that has a lengthy delivery process or can’t be purchased from local suppliers. 

Here’s what this could look like:


Identify the duties and tasks you need to execute day-to-day operations. How many cashiers will you need? How many program staff? How many behind-the-scenes personnel? Determine their responsibilities, and how and where you as a business owner will fit with the rest of the team. If possible, consider where you as an owner may be able to redistribute some tasks to other staff. Could you hire a manager, or could your staff take on tasks so you can focus on business operations?

Once identified, you may decide to contact your previous year’s staff to determine if there’s an opportunity to have them return to their role, or upskill into a new one. Building a core summer workforce that can return for additional seasons creates reliability in your business. Returning individuals already know what to expect and how to execute your operational needs, and could help to train new hires and provide a great customer experience. 

Draft an employment contract with your lawyer outlining the term dates of employment, and consider developing an employee handbook to assist you in onboarding new hires that can be used year-over-year with minimal revision.

How many staff you’ll hire may be determined by your projected cash flow. Use previous year’s cash flow to forecast revenues and highlight days/times of significance to inform your staffing needs—for example, long weekends. 

If you’re launching for your first season, try creating a cash flow projection based on your business plan, and leverage market research to help determine staffing needs. Consider grants such as the Canada Summer Jobs program, which could provide you with wage subsidies if you meet the criteria, or Tourism Investment Programs for assistance funding larger projects delivered by Travel Alberta

Execute the plan

Build excitement for your launch by announcing your opening date for the season through social media, email marketing and other channels. Generating early enthusiasm before opening for the season will be important to making the most of your compressed operational timeline. Consider where the majority of tourists will come from to visit your business. Are they being referred to you by a local hotel or vacation home rental? Build partnerships with other tourism businesses to create a referral network within your location to support one another.

The more opportunities you can create for customers to share what you’re doing, the higher your growth potential. Encourage visiting customers to share their experience with people around them, whether by word of mouth or on social media—remind them to tag you so you can see their feedback and share, too. You may want to ask your visitors to leave you a review on your Google business profile, Trip Advisor or other social network sites to help spread the word about your business. 

During the season, identify areas you can optimize to encourage growth or increase productivity. For example, you recognize your food truck order line and pick up line often get confused, leaving potential customers frustrated. You decide to invest in a few cue barriers to help guide traffic, creating a better flow and resulting in faster delivery of orders as staff are focused on delivery of product—ultimately creating a better customer experience. If you can’t shift on the fly, make notes to highlight these opportunities for next season.

Winding down for another year

With another season completed, analyze your operations top to bottom. 

  • What worked well this year? What could be improved upon?
  • How did your staff feel about the onboarding process? Did they have enough training and feel prepared for launch day?
  • How do you feel about staffing? Do you need more, less or the same number of employees for next season? 
  • Did your business take advantage of opportunities for increased operating hours? For example, partnering with a local nonprofit for an after-hours event.
  • Did your business make new partnerships that can be leveraged next season?
  • What stock (if any) do you have leftover? Is there opportunity to distribute during the off-season? Identify what raw materials you’ll need to purchase and when, and mark that date on your calendar for the following season. 
  • Analyze your cash flow. Based on your sales, how much preparation will you need to do for next season?

Once you’ve reviewed your analysis, make an outline to inform your operations plan for the next season.

Complete any financial requirements based on your business structure. This can include:

  • Remitting GST/HST per your schedule with CRA (quarterly or annually)
  • Returning any merchant payment terminals to your financial institution, if applicable
  • Completing and delivering final payroll
  • Generating T4s and Records of Employment
  • Remitting any payroll Source Deductions (EI/CPP contributions)

If your business is a corporation, talk about tying your fiscal year end to a date close to your season end with your lawyer or accountant. Aligning your corporate responsibilities with the seasonality of your business can keep financials cleaner year-over-year, so any preparation you do for the next season can be directly aligned with that season’s corporate fiscal year. 

The success of tourism businesses is influenced by the support of those around them—their community, local business network and annual visitors. Connect with an Entrepreneur Strategist to review your plan and get you ready for a strong season, or visit the ATB Entrepreneur Centre to get connected to tools and resources to set up your entrepreneur journey for success.

How nonprofits can make the most of festival season

How nonprofits can make the most of festival season

Outdoor festival season is a great opportunity for nonprofits to dive into community engagement, and get face-to-face with their donors, volunteers, and the people they serve. The synergies abound, as both non-profits and festivals are about uplifting and connecting communities.

While it’s easy to get carried away with the beats, or follow your nose to the food truck line, festivals are an important part of many nonprofits’ bottom line. Read on for ATB’s Branch for Arts & Culture’s tips for making the most out of this festival season.

Equip your nonprofit with on-site payment processing options

Summer in Alberta is short and sweet. To make the most of it, look for a point-of-sale system that goes where you go. That way, you can sell merch and tickets on the go, and collect the important membership fees and donations that are core to every nonprofit’s success. An effective point-of-sale system allows for better, quicker customer service, while also capturing the business insights and data you need to inform future strategy (like the location, type, date, and amount for each sale). Look for a point-of-sale system that is capable of comprehensive reports and, ideally, is possible to self-install.  That way, you won’t have to worry about waiting for tech support. Instead, you’ll be able to hit the festival grounds running.

Make it easy to accept and send payments so you can focus on community connection

If you’re involved in a festival as a partner or organizer, you’ll want to have your payment process in place before your busiest season begins, so you don’t find yourself scrambling.  Whether you’re paying vendors, or they’re paying you, you’ll need to figure out the best way to transfer funds.  One option is Interac e-Transfer™, which has built-in security features and allows for both incoming and outgoing payments.  Whatever system you consider, make sure it keeps track of your incoming and outgoing payments for bookkeeping purposes. 

Think to the future

Many festival-goers are heading out the door with just their credit or debit cards in hand, and it’s predicted that, by 2030, cash purchases will make up only 10% of money spent in Canada.  Contactless systems make credit or debit payments even easier, so why not make the switch to contactless payment options this festival season? You won’t have to worry about counting cash or keeping it safe. Plus, the line will move quickly at your tent or booth if your patrons can simply tap, rather than having to insert their card or gather their cash. 

Looking for simple and powerful financial solutions to take your organization to the next level? Connect with our Culture Bankers today.

Creating a culture of wellness in your business

Creating a culture of wellness in your business

The significance of holistic wellness is growing more and more normalized (and expected), both within and outside the workplace. Whether you’re running a large corporation or a startup, building a culture of wellness within your organization takes time, intentionality and earnest buy-in from the top, down.

What is wellness culture?

A culture of wellness goes beyond the health benefits you may offer as an employer. Wellness culture focuses on building an attitude of positive mental, emotional, social and physical health in the workplace. It encompasses tangible initiatives and involvement to improve the wellbeing of employees, and aligns with creating a positive, safe and respectful work culture leading to happier, more engaged and productive employees. The result is higher morale, and ultimately a better bottom line.

The importance of developing a culture of wellness

In prioritizing employee wellbeing, you make it part of your business’ mission to empower your employees to make healthy choices—personally and professionally. A 2021 study by Alberta Blue Cross found that employees who had access to workplace wellness programs saw a measurable improvement in overall wellness across four different categories, including respiratory, cardiac, physical and mental health. 

Workplace wellness programs are also contributors to decreased absenteeism and higher productivity, which can lead to better financial outcomes for your business. Alberta workers rank leaders and managers who promote a positive work culture as the most important influence on work environments, productivity, and psychological health and safety (Leger, 2021). Any wellness initiative is an investment in your most important resource: your people. 

How to make wellness accessible in your small business

Wellness initiatives can vary in size, method and desired outcome. Aligning with national initiatives like Mental Health Week or Nutrition Month can start important conversations and address wellness in a scalable way. Other initiatives could look like:

  1. Integrating the Mental Health Continuum Model in one on one meetings between team members and leaders. This model allows employees to identify their mental health state without stigma, and enables leaders to offer appropriate support. 
  2. Encouraging time off, including vacation time and flex or wellness days—build a system to make sure your employees are able to unplug from their work and recharge during time off. 
  3. Creating a ParticipACTION+ program to encourage movement, or partnering with a local gym or fitness studio to provide free or subsidized access to fitness equipment or programs.
  4. Swapping out workplace snacks for healthier options like fruit or nutrient-dense bars.
  5. Encouraging movement with a team building activity like Office Olympics or mini-golf.
  6. Creating a digital communication charter, where team members can align with how they prefer to communicate and when it’s appropriate to communicate. This document can allow teams to create mutually agreed upon boundaries that allow for peak productivity, focus and wellbeing.
  7. Build movement breaks and mindfulness exercises into meetings.
  8. Reducing barriers by holding education clinics.
  9. Encouraging mental health and reducing stigma by providing programs like Not Myself Today, The Working Mind and other resources.
  10. Identifying opportunities for ergonomic workspace improvements.

The focus of any wellness measure is that your employees feel heard and valued. Choose a “wellness champion” from outside your management team to spearhead your initiatives, encourage peer-to-peer support from all sides of the organization and collect feedback on the effectiveness of wellness initiatives and programs. Whatever the size of your business, creating a number of smaller groups is more effective—participation in any initiative is generally higher when there are less members in a group as coworkers have more socialization opportunities.

Gather feedback from your employees to understand what wellness approaches are resonating, and how you can improve wellness culture overall. Creating a culture of wellness doesn’t have to mean making huge changes overnight. Start small, and build at a pace that’s comfortable. Together we can make it a little easier for all people to access the support and resources they need. 

Balancing mental health and business management

Balancing mental health and business management

Being a small business owner can be rewarding and exhilarating, bringing with it a high sense of achievement and autonomy. But being an entrepreneur can be stressful too.. In a 2022 survey of 1,500 Canadian entrepreneurs,  34% said that mental health challenges interfered with their ability to work at least once a week (BDC, 2022). Both to support the long-term success of your business and for your own health and happiness, it’s vital to prioritize your mental health as a small business owner. As an added bonus, taking time to reflect and rest can increase the fulfillment you find in your work.   

Create boundaries. While this sounds like a simple solution, in the day-to-day of running a business, it can feel impossible. Phone calls and emails during the evening and weekends can be difficult to ignore, if you feel doing so might affect your relationship with a client or supplier. Likewise, it can be hard to be truly present with friends or family when you’re worried about a delayed shipment or business challenge. The reality is that healthy boundaries between your work and personal life isn’t something you can build without planning, time, and effort. Set aside a day in your calendar to think about how to structure your work and block your time so that you have built-in time away. You could set up your email and phone so that you don’t get notified for any work emails or calls, unless the person trying to reach you feels the matter as urgent. You could also hire a virtual or in-person assistant to free up your personal time and mental headspace. 

While changing your habits and work flow will take time to get used to, you’ll be glad you took the time to separate your home life from your work life – and your friends and family will be glad, too. 

Stabilize your cash flow to give you some control around those boundaries you’re striving for. This will allow you to scale your business at your own pace, while supporting a positive work-life balance. Our ATB Entrepreneur Strategists can help guide you through cash flow variability and work with you to build a plan that supports your current situation (you can request free support here). 

Find direction and purpose by creating big-picture goals and building a business plan to achieve them. . While cash flow periods will vary, having a strategy to reference will help you make key decisions. It will help you eliminate distractions and move away from work you find stressful or tedious, allowing you to build a business that fulfills and inspires you. While many business owners have goals in mind, many don’t have a plan in place to ensure they stay accountable to their goals, and benchmarks for meeting their goals that are manageable. Our ATB Entrepreneur Strategists can help you design a business strategy that’s future-proof, designed for growth, and centered on your vision.  They can also provide support and business solutions to help you achieve your goals for today, five years from now, and beyond. 

Connect with fellow small business owners who encourage your entrepreneurial mindset and understand the unique challenges of running your own business. Networking opportunities not only charge your social battery, they can also motivate you. Tapping into the creativity of other business owners can help you solve problems and streamline your processes. ATB regularly hosts educational workshops and events – find events in your area here

Self-care is not a cliche, and needs to be a priority for every entrepreneur. Self-care is not solely defined by taking a spa day, going to a yoga class, or going on a vacation. Self-care simply means stepping away or logging off and doing something you personally enjoy outside of work. This can mean reading a book, going for a walk in nature in the middle of the day, watching a tv show, or preparing a week’s worth of meals. Remember, the pursuits that help you manage stress aren’t frivolous. They’re what keep you going, even on the hard days.

Access resources to help you tap into your inner strength and calm your mind. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has developed a library of resources you can access at any time here. Resources include links to virtual therapists, professional coaches, and online exercises that can help you find meaning in your personal and professional life. Sometimes, simply talking to someone can help you let go of your fears or reframe your challenges.  It’s a good idea to use resources even when you’re not experiencing a crisis. Proactively mitigating personal stressors will help you think more clearly and work more effectively. In other words, talking to an online counselor or coach during the evening or over the lunch hour isn’t a distraction from your business, it’s an investment. 

Tax tips for creative entrepreneurs

Tax tips for creative entrepreneurs

Tax time when you’re self-employed can be stressful, but you’ll feel more peace of mind if you take the time to understand your business expenses as a creative entrepreneur, and it could help you save money on your taxes too. Here are our top four tax tips for creative entrepreneurs.


Determine your revenue

Creative entrepreneurs and artists tend to have fluctuating incomes, which can make it tricky to keep track of income. This process is much easier if you set aside time to record your income once or twice a month. So you don’t forget, you could book an hour as a recurring event in your calendar.  Find a system that works for you, whether it’s an online bookkeeping system or a simple spreadsheet. If you’re using a spreadsheet, it’s helpful to have a column for your income, GST/HST if you’re collecting it, as well as columns with the date you invoiced, and the date you received payment. Depending on your preference, you can count your income according to the tax year you did the work, or the tax year you received payment for the work — just make sure you categorize all your payments using the same method. If you’re sending invoices for freelance contracts or gigs, ensure that you’re documenting your income clearly by client name, work description, invoice amount and invoice number, in the off chance that you get audited. (If you’re just keeping track of your incoming Interac e-Transfer™ history, you might miss out on payments or forget whether a payment was for income or an expense).


Break down your business expenses

Understanding what does and doesn’t qualify as a business tax deduction is one of the most important (and confusing) aspects of filing taxes. When you’re self-employed, keep track of any business-related expenses that you have incurred. If you’re not sure what expenses to deduct, try using the TurboTax Self-Employed Expenses Calculator to estimate your expenses. Depending on how you set up your business, you may be able to count part or all of your phone and internet bills, office items like printers and paper, a percentage of your car payments, meals with clients, and more. Keep your receipts, paper and digital, so you’re able to identify potential deductions and appropriately claim your expenses when the time comes. Depending on the complexity of your situation, it’s always a good idea to consider working with a bookkeeper or tax professional to help you figure out what counts as a business expense and how much of the cost you can write off when you file your tax return. (For example, while you might only be able to count 50% of a restaurant meal as an expense, you might be able to expense the entire cost of your new laptop.)


Consider getting GST/HST number, if you don’t have one yet

If you’re just starting out, or working for yourself only casually or part-time, you may not yet be collecting and remitting GST/HST. But if your sales exceed $30,000 per year,  you are required to collect GST/HST from clients/customers, and remit it to the government at tax time. This chart from the Canada Revenue Agency can help you determine if you need to collect GST/HST. Whether you’re a sole proprietor, working as a contractor or freelancing, it can be beneficial to register your business for GST/HST collection before hitting the $30,000 threshold. This will save you hassle down the road if you hit the threshold unexpectedly. Register online by visiting the Business Registration Online (BRO) program page on the Canada Revenue Agency website.


Plan ahead

Just as you plan new projects and bookings for the months ahead, you can plan ahead for your taxes. Take advantage of the knowledge our team at the Branch for Arts & Culture has to offer; Discussing options that can work for your business, goals and lifestyle with our experienced Culture Bankers can make a big difference as you prepare your return both now and in the future. Reach out to our team here.