New Brunswick has plenty of natural beauty and natural resources. Many people who start a business in this province will choose to focus on industries centred on these areas. However, because of the overall business-friendly environment in New Brunswick, you don’t have to limit your business ideas to these areas.
When you work in New Brunswick, you can take advantage of traditional industries, or you can focus on areas that are emerging. Many different business ideas can have success here.
If you would like to start a business in New Brunswick, exploring all your options and obtaining some advice is never a bad idea.
Our step-by-step guide for New Brunswick entrepreneurs hopefully gives you the basic information you need to begin to make your dream come true! (We do not have steps for helping you tell your current boss that you’re leaving, though; the tone and words you decide to use are up to you.)
Step #1: Brainstorm Possibilities for Your New Brunswick Business
Although coming up with an idea for your business feels incredibly exciting, it also can be a bit frightening. You don’t want to make a mistake when developing your business idea, leading you down the wrong path. The best advice is to come up with a few potential business ideas and then to research them thoroughly.
Understanding New Brunswick’s Largest Industries
Many entrepreneurs start the process by studying industries that are already strong or growing in New Brunswick. By tapping into one of these industries with your new business, you may have a better chance at success.
You should have access to a larger number of potential customers when you stick with an industry that is thriving and well-known. New Brunswick has many established industries, including:
Additionally, the New Brunswick provincial government has compiled a list of six priority industry sectors where investment and growth are likely to occur in the near future, including:
Best Small Business Ideas to Start in New Brunswick
Once you have an idea about the industry in which you want to work, you then can focus on a specific business idea. Your idea may fit inside your preferred industry in a general way, or you may want to work toward starting a New Brunswick business that fits into a niche area of the industry.
For a general business idea inside the agriculture industry, maybe you would start a trucking company that moves several kinds of agricultural products from the farms to processing centers or exporters. You wouldn’t necessarily have an area of specialty.
However, if you wanted to focus on a niche area of the agricultural industry, maybe you would manufacture packing materials that help blueberry farmers transport their product safely. By focusing on blueberries, your New Brunswick business would only serve a narrow area of the ag industry in the province.
Best Place to Start a Business in New Brunswick
Although finding just the right type of new business to start in New Brunswick can occupy quite a bit of your time, don’t forget to think about the location of your new business. You might have the best business idea New Brunswick has ever seen, but if you are in the wrong location, your chances of success will plummet.
If your business will focus on New Brunswick’s natural resources or on an industry that deals with natural resources, you may want to place your business in a rural area. However, if you start a business that exports ag products from New Brunswick, you may need to be near a port city, rather than in a rural area.
If you are running a tech business or a business that needs a lot of employees, sticking with a major population center in the southern half of New Brunswick may be the better option. Moncton, Saint John, and Fredericton each have a population of greater than 58,000 people.
For a business that needs easy vehicular access to Quebec and other areas of Canada, you may want to consider locating in the rural northwest area of New Brunswick.
Step #2: Select Your Preferred Type of New Brunswick Business
With a business idea in mind, you are ready to focus on the type of business you’d like to run. Deciding to focus on an ag-related business, for example, still leaves you with many possibilities in determining the specifics related to your business idea.
Goods or Services … or Both?
Start narrowing the focus of your new business by deciding whether you want to offer goods or services. (Or, if you’re feeling especially adventurous, you might choose to offer both!)
If you choose to focus on offering products, you will be selling tangible items to customers. These could be products that you make, harvested ag products, or products that you source from another business. You could even purchase parts from multiple sources and assemble the products you want to sell.
You also could choose to provide services, where you perform tasks for your customers. These tasks may show off your unique skills, such as repairing small engines or performing coding on network software. If you want to offer services you cannot perform yourself, you could hire a third party to offer these services on your behalf.
You might even decide to offer both goods and services in New Brunswick. Perhaps you will sell parts for repairing machines in manufacturing centers, and you will install the parts, too.
Online Store or Brick-and-Mortar Store?
Another way to narrow your business’ focus is by deciding whether to start an online-only store or a store with a physical location.
New Brunswick easily supports both types of businesses. Plenty of real estate options are available throughout the province for starting businesses, including surplus commercial property. For online businesses, the federal government recently announced a funding plan to improve broadband internet availability in rural areas of New Brunswick.
With an online store or with a website offering services, you likely would not have a physical location where customers would visit you. They would select products in your digital store. Customers could make appointments to receive your services through a website. You still might visit customers at their location to repair on-site machinery or to offer consultancy services.
With a physical store in New Brunswick, customers would visit you. They might bring you items to repair, visit your retail store to purchase items, or hold meetings with you at your location. You may need a physical site to serve as an office building where your employees can work.
Examples of Physical Location Businesses in New Brunswick
Things to Think About for a Physical Location Business in New Brunswick
Even though you could start a business that has a physical location almost anywhere in New Brunswick, finding the best possible location is a key consideration. You can set yourself up for success if you are in a location that encourages customers to visit you.
If you have a specific type of customer for your niche business, you will want to open as close as possible to that customer base. If your potential customers drive past your location almost every day, they’re more likely to stop in and purchase something than if they may only drive past one or twice a month.
When you have a brick-and-mortar location, you need to think about things like property insurance, liability insurance, security, inventory tracking software, point-of-sale equipment, and utilities. If you will be open to the public, you also may have to adhere to local or provincial regulations and standards for your building.
Building maintenance and property maintenance costs must be part of your business’ budget when you have a physical location. You may need to maintain exterior lighting for a parking lot or a sidewalk to keep your customers safe. Snow and ice removal from areas open to the public are a must to prevent slip-and-fall accidents for visitors.
Considerations for Digital-Only Businesses in New Brunswick
Some entrepreneurs in New Brunswick prefer having an online-only business because they don’t need to rent or purchase a separate building. They may be able to run the business from a spare bedroom or basement office inside the home.
However, running a business that must carry large amounts of inventory may be challenging at your home. You also have to adhere to residential ordinances related to noise generation or to storing potentially dangerous chemicals if working out of your home.
You need an extremely reliable and fast internet connection to run an online store or a business that relies on making video calls. If visitors find slow loading webpages or frequently dropped Zoom calls, they may lose trust in your business.
To run a digital-only business, you may want to rent office space for employees to work or a warehouse to store your products. If you have a poor internet connection at your home, renting office space where high-speed internet is available may be a smart investment for your digital-only business in New Brunswick.
Examples of Digital-Only Businesses in New Brunswick
Finding Online Business Development Help
When you are running an online-only business, your website serves as the equivalent of a physical store location for your customers. You need to have a professional-looking website that makes customers trust your business.
Whether you want to run an online storefront, or you need a website hosting service that represents your business, you can find these services for reasonable prices. Such services allow you to take as much or as little control over the design process as you want. They even help you sign up for a website address.
Managing Social Media and Digital Marketing for Your Business
Whether you are running an online-only business or a business with a physical location, digital marketing and social media marketing are extremely important. Many potential customers are going to research your business online before they even think about purchasing goods or services from you.
Maintaining a social media presence that draws customers to you and that portrays a professional appearance will give you the best results. If you can mesh your social media plan with your website’s design, customers will easily understand how you operate and what you represent.
If you plan to use multiple social media platforms – and you should – make sure they all carry the same core message. Display your social media messages on your website, too. Regularly update your social media accounts and your website with the latest information, so your customers know that you are active.
Cloud software is available to help you with social media marketing. It can measure the types of messages that are resonating with your customers, allowing you to focus your efforts and to make the most of your time.
Step #3: Determine Your Preferred Method of Becoming a Business Owner
Deciding to start a business in New Brunswick typically takes on one of four paths.
Starting From Scratch
Because New Brunswick has so many business resources available and is a friendly environment for new business owners, many entrepreneurs focus on starting a business from scratch.
Buy Someone Else’s Business
You might prefer to buy a business that another entrepreneur is selling. People sell businesses for a variety of reasons, including retirement. Just because someone is selling a business, it doesn’t mean the business is failing.
Finding businesses for sale in New Brunswick is easier than you may think. One of the best options for finding help with buying an existing New Brunswick business is by working with a business broker. Such brokers know the market inside and out, and they can help you with negotiating a purchase price, too. Some top New Brunswick business brokers include:
Additionally, multiple websites exist that can help you find businesses for sale inside the province, including:
Buy a Franchise Business
If you want the ability to start a business from scratch, but you don’t want to spend all the hours required to set up the business, you might consider purchasing a franchise. Starting a business in this manner gives you access to an existing brand name, but you run the business.
The New Brunswick Financial and Consumer Services Commission has advice and information on purchasing a franchise safely.
Operate a Side Hustle Business
You may want to try to operate your new business idea on a part-time basis at first – sometimes called a side hustle – while keeping your current full-time job. If the side hustle takes off, you may be able to make it your new full-time job, running it as a full-fledged new business.
Step #4: Adhering to Government Regulations in New Brunswick
When starting and running a business in New Brunswick, you likely will need to follow multiple regulations the provincial government has. Local governments may also have regulations in place that you need to follow, depending on the type of business you are operating.
Some government regulations may feel unfair or may cost you some extra money when setting up your business, which is frustrating. However, adhering to regulations is a necessary part of starting many types of businesses in New Brunswick or anywhere in Canada.
Determining Your Business’ Legal Structure
Registering your business and specifying its legal structure is a key part of legally operating in New Brunswick. Typically, the majority of New Brunswick new business owners will choose among:
OpportunitiesNB has advice for selecting the right business structure for your needs. Additionally, BizPaL offers the Business Structures Wizard that can walk a New Brunswick business owner through the process of selecting a legal business structure.
Selecting a Name for Your New Brunswick Business
You can search for currently registered business names in New Brunswick, so you know whether the name you want to use is too similar to another name. If you use a name that’s similar, the other business could sue you later, forcing you to change your name after you start running the business. This can be a problem, leading to confusion for customers.
Determining Your Business Taxes
The business structure you select will play a role in the types and percentages of taxes you must pay. (Yes, you must pay business taxes; no one said all aspects of starting a business would be enjoyable.) Some resources to help you understand common taxes for New Brunswick businesses include:
Additionally, depending on the type of business you are running, you could be subject to other New Brunswick business taxes. The good news? You may also qualify to receive tax credits.
Required Businesses Licences and Permits in New Brunswick
Another form of government regulation for New Brunswick businesses occurs in the form of licences and permits. Local, provincial, and federal government officials may require these permits and licences.
The best place to search for necessary permits and licences is BizPaL. This is an online database that is a helpful resource, explaining what you need to operate your business properly.
Required Business Regulations in New Brunswick
Businesses must follow regulations when operating in New Brunswick, especially if they will be employing people. These laws include:
Ensuring that you are following these laws – and any other laws that may be particular to your type of business – can be confusing for a new entrepreneur. If you have legal questions, hire a lawyer to protect yourself and your business.
Step #5: Determine the Costs of Starting Your Business
Starting a business from scratch can involve significant expenses. Some of those costs relate to the items you need to actually operate your business. Others relate to the cost of operating the business legally in the eyes of the New Brunswick provincial government.
Projected Startup Costs for Certain Types of Businesses
The costs required to start operating your new business in New Brunswick vary greatly, depending on the type of business you want to try to operate. Here are some extremely broad estimates for several types of new business ventures.
Business Costs You Could Encounter in New Brunswick
Some one-time costs that typically occur at startup include:
You also will have ongoing costs to run your business, including:
Step #6: Develop Your Business Plan
A business plan fleshes out the specifics behind your business idea.
Why Do You Need a Business Plan?
Properly creating a business plan takes quite a bit of time and research on your part. However, it is a vital aspect of giving your business the best chance at success. Additionally, to obtain business loans, business grants, or financing from venture capitalists, you almost certainly need to have a business plan. Some of the benefits of creating a business plan include the following.
New Brunswick’s provincial government does not require new businesses to submit a business plan during registration. However, you can use the New Brunswick business plan template to help you formulate a plan. The CBDC also provides help with business plan development.
Step #7: Seek Out Financing Options
Financing is the key to any small business option in New Brunswick (or anywhere else). If you don’t have financing to purchase new equipment or to start the business, it will never get off the ground.
If you don’t have some money in reserve to help you work through the first several months while you try to establish an income stream, it can leave your business in trouble. Some of the financing sources that you should consider include the following.
Contribute Your Own Money
The majority of entrepreneurs in New Brunswick will contribute at least some of their own money to a new business venture. This shows that the owner is serious about the business.
You might pull money from your savings, your retirement accounts, or your credit cards. Some people may start the business on a limited basis as a side hustle to begin generating some money that can fund the business full time later.
Perhaps you can take out a personal loan against some of your other assets, or you can sell personal items.
Funds With No Strings Attached
Maybe you can find some financing options that don’t require you to pay them back. Obtaining at least some money that is “free” money can be the difference between success and failure as a business owner. (No pressure!)
New Brunswick business grants from the provincial government, local government, charitable organizations, or corporations may be a source of free money. You may seek donations from crowdfunding or from the 3Fs – family, friends, and “fools.”
It can be a challenge to qualify to receive loans for your New Brunswick business. However, when you need large sums of money for a certain type of business, a loan may be the only option for gathering enough money.
Loans potentially are available from traditional banks, government (federal and provincial), alternative lenders, and equipment providers. Some people may try purchase order financing.
Some business owners obtain financing by selling shares in the ownership of the business. Understand, however, that someone who purchases shares probably will also want a say in how the business operates.
Step #8: Seek Help Where You Need It
Because starting and running a business has so many different angles to it, you may have some aspects of the business that you do not feel comfortable making decisions about. You may not fully understand financing requirements or legal aspects of operating the business, for example.
You can always hire people to help you with some of these areas. Some of the experts you may want to hire include:
Step #9: Seek Out Inspiration and Advice
When you’re in the midst of starting a new business, it’s easy to lose sight of the reasons why you decided to make this move in the first place. You can become so wrapped up in the day-to-day decisions and obligations that you stop enjoying the process.
Don’t be afraid to stop occasionally and take note of your accomplishments. (You have our permission to feel proud of what you’re doing!)
One way to find inspiration is to seek advice from others. Advisors can show you areas where you are making good progress, giving you extra confidence. And they can keep you from making disastrous mistakes. We’ve listed some resources in New Brunswick you can use to find advice and inspiration to help you make it through the startup process successfully.
Business Startup Resources in New Brunswick
The New Brunswick provincial government has a number of new business resources aimed at those considering becoming an entrepreneur.
Opportunities New Brunswick is another option for business startup resources. Many of its resources are aimed at those looking to immigrate to the province to start a new business.
Consider contacting the New Brunswick Association of the CBDC for additional information, including when looking for help from a business expert.
Business Networking Opportunities in New Brunswick
Networking with other business owners may be a way to spark ideas for your new business. Some options for finding networking opportunities in New Brunswick include:
Business Directories Serving New Brunswick
Business directories are online lists of businesses in a certain region, such as New Brunswick. Potential customers may find you on these directories, so it’s important to try to have an accurate listing on as many of them as possible.
Business Associations and Organizations in New Brunswick
When you start your New Brunswick business, joining local organizations and associations can help you connect with fellow business owners and can show legitimacy in the eyes of your customers.
Business Awards and Competitions in New Brunswick
Several organizations in New Brunswick sponsor awards for business owners. Receiving a nomination for some of these awards – or even winning some of them – may help your business gain notoriety. Display these awards prominently at your business location or on your business website.
If you belong to professional organizations, some of them may sponsor awards that are only available to members. Some awards that New Brunswick businesses may want to try to win include:
Business Owners Immigrating to New Brunswick
For those immigrating to New Brunswick with the hope of starting a business, the New Brunswick Business Immigration Stream provides the necessary resources.
Step #10: Figure Out How to Avoid Pitfalls
Although most people focus on trying to succeed when they start a business, another useful strategy is simply trying to avoid making a serious mistake. Here are 10 common mistakes that New Brunswick business owners make when starting a new business venture.