New Brunswick’s economy traditionally relies on natural resources found in the province. Agricultural products and fishing play a role in many different local industrial and manufacturing companies.
However, New Brunswick’s economy no longer relies as heavily on these segments as it once did. The New Brunswick economy continues to diversify and modernize, giving new entrepreneurs the ability to have success with many different types of businesses.
When you are seeking a successful business idea, focusing on a traditional industry or on one of New Brunswick’s emerging industries may be the best way to go. We have a number of ideas for the best business to start in New Brunswick, to help you find the perfect business opportunity for your skills and aspirations.
Why Start a Business in New Brunswick? Key Stats
New Brunswick’s GDP growth has been steady over the past couple of decades. Its GDP surpassed $30 billion in 2017, and the province recorded a GDP of $31.6 billion in 2021.
New Brunswick had more than 52,400 businesses in 2022, which represents a growth rate of 1.8% during the past five years. This shows steady growth that’s not out of control.
The New Brunswick sector that employs the most people involves using natural resources (including agriculture, fishing, forestry, and hunting) with more than 52,000 people employed in 2022. Retail trade has more than 48,600 employees, while manufacturing has more than 43,300 employees.
Additionally, New Brunswick’s overall population is growing. From October 2020 to October 2021, New Brunswick’s population growth was 1.41%, which is the highest year-over-year percentage growth since 1976. This growth means more potential employees and customers are moving into the province.
Biggest Industries in New Brunswick
Paying attention to the largest and strongest industries in New Brunswick can help you focus your ideas for starting a business.
You may want to start a New Brunswick business that serves or has direct involvement in one of these industries. Focusing in an area like this may provide the best chance to tap into a strong, established area of the economy.
With so many natural resources available in this province, the New Brunswick economy traditionally relies on exporting those resources, as well as on manufacturing opportunities involving the resources.
Diversification remains important to the New Brunswick economy as well. Sectors like agri-tech, cybersecurity, digital health, and energy innovation are becoming more important.
Statista has a list of the largest New Brunswick sectors, based on the 2021 GDP they generated. They include:
What Kind of Business Should I Start in New Brunswick?
Everyone wants to know what kind of business is the best one to start in New Brunswick. If we only had the sure-fire answer, starting a business would be incredibly easy – and our bank accounts would swell beyond recognition!
Unfortunately, finding the perfect business to start is a little tougher than that. Sometimes, it can be helpful to think of the acronym NOC when trying to come up with a business development idea that works for you. NOC is short for Niche, Offer, and Channel.
Use the NOC acronym to help you find the type of business that may deliver a high level of success for you. You can focus on things like hiring employees and raising start-up money later. NOC involves a brainstorming session.
Think of a niche as the area of an industry in which you would like to start a New Brunswick business. You might not want to start a general retail business, where you’re competing with huge retailers. Instead, you may want to focus on a niche area of retail.
Start by thinking about the problems you can solve for people in the industry or for customers. Then pay attention to whether you have a built-in customer base within the niche that you want to serve.
If there are only a couple of potential customers who are having the problem you want to solve, you need to think about the problems you can solve on a broader level to expand the potential customer base.
Finally, pay attention to what competitors are doing in this niche space and how you can do a better job than they currently do.
Think of the offer as the goods and services that you will be providing to your customers. Don’t go overboard with the offers you want to create at the beginning. Start with a few focused offer ideas and expand later as you get to know the industry better.
Figure out what needs your customers have and tailor your offerings to those needs. You need to figure out how you can meet those needs better than anyone else.
Think of the channel as the means by which you want to deliver your products and services in New Brunswick. You could use a brick-and-mortar store, an online store, or a mix of both.
Best Businesses to Start in New Brunswick
As with many Canadian provinces, New Brunswick has specific primary industries that deliver the greatest contributions to the local economy.
Traditional industries in New Brunswick include those that rely on natural resources like forestry, fishing, and agriculture.
Growth industries in New Brunswick are those in the six industry sectors the provincial government of New Brunswick has identified as prime for extensive growth. They include:
As an entrepreneur, starting a New Brunswick business that has a focus in one of the traditional sectors or growth sectors may give you the highest chance at success. You have potential customers who are already having their own success, giving you the ability to tap into their revenue streams.
Consider starting a business that supports the forestry industry, for example, by providing equipment or equipment repair to foresters. Perhaps you would rather start a company that directly provides custom hardware to cybersecurity companies. Numerous possibilities exist for tapping into these industries.
Manufacturing Business Ideas for New Brunswick
Home-Based Business Ideas for New Brunswick
How to Start a Business in New Brunswick - 7 Steps
Starting your business in New Brunswick is not complicated, but you do need to follow a few steps to try to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
Think about the skills you have, the areas in which you have interest, and the industry in which you want to participate. Then try to merge all those items into a great business idea that fits well in New Brunswick.
Although the New Brunswick provincial government does not require you to have a business plan, you may need one for receiving business loans and grants. The business plan requires you to study the potential market for your business, while also setting goals for sales and business performance.
The New Brunswick provincial government has extensive resources to help you with market research and business planning.
Once you figure out the type of business you want to operate and have a plan in place for doing the work, you’re ready to decide whether you want to buy an existing business or start a new business.
Both options have advantages and disadvantages. In a general sense, though, if you want to be operating the business faster, buying an existing business helps you do this. If you want to be able to have complete control over every aspect of the business, starting your own business accomplishes this.
If you are purchasing an existing business, you probably aren’t going to want to move its location for a while. You want to be able to take advantage of existing customers in the business’ current location.
For starting a new business from scratch, though, you are free to find the ideal location in New Brunswick. A physical location for your business should be as close as possible to your customers. Retail businesses may need to stay near population centers like Moncton, Fredericton, or Saint John, for example. An agriculture-related business may work better in a rural location.
You also could consider starting an online-only business, such as from your home.
When it’s time to register your business with New Brunswick, you can do the entire process online. You need to select a name for the business that’s unique in New Brunswick.
You also need to select a legal structure under which the business will operate. The Business Structures Wizard can help you determine the best type of operational structure for the business you are starting.
BizPaL tracks the licences and permits required in New Brunswick and federally to operate the type of business you are planning. These licences ensure that you can operate the business in a legal manner, showing customers and the government that you have the skills required to perform the tasks related to your business safely.
You also may need certain local licences and permits, depending on where your business resides.
If you will be hiring some employees as part of your business, study the Employment Standards Act to determine what rules you must follow with your employees.
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