Register Your Business Name

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Jan 28

And Google My Business

Ontario is one of the friendliest jurisdictions in which to start a business. You can search and register a business name online (for about $61, and that’s in Canadian pesos, err, dollars not USD).

When you register a business name like “My Great Consulting Group” or “Stupendous Student Window Washing”  or “Coaching Collective” or “Best Home Builder Ever”, you can operate under that name, accept payments, open a bank account, get a credit card, register for HST/GST, get supplier credit (eg with Home Depot or Rona) and much more.

You don’t have to incorporate a company at a cost of $1,000 or more or file a separate (and complicated) corporate income tax (you take all income and expenses into your personal name and personal return) or pay an accountant to create financial statements every year. If I were doing my career over again, I would have kept things much simpler. This is one way to do that.

Your Ontario registration is valid for 5 years, after which you have to renew. If you have a partner(s), no problemo, you just register using both (all) names.

When you register, you’ll receive a Master Business Licence (MBL).

Here’s more info about registration, and when you are ready you can register here,

I get asked about personal liability if you take this route. In Canada, I tell my students, “It’s business first and legals second, but in the US, it’s the reverse. The US has 3% of the world’s population but 66% of planetary supply of attorneys so you have to be very careful in America–where you can be sued for almost anything.”

Corporations provide you with some liability protection, but even there, the corporate veil can be pierced if you are not duly diligent or you countenance or commit fraud. There are also some liabilities that can attach to you personally as an officer or director of a company; things like employee source deductions, environmental contamination (new or even pre-existing), income taxes or excise, amusement or VAT taxes (like GST/HST in Canada) owing.

So on balance, maybe a simple business registration makes most sense.

I think these days if you have a name for your business, a tagline*, a master business license, a domain name with .ca, .com and .org TLDs (top level domains), a basic website, a facebook page and group, a blog, a twitter and instagram account, a YouTube channel and maybe a pinterest account plus some kijiji, google, facebook, craigslist ads, you are set to go. Total cost? Mostly free, and not very much.

Google My Business

Oh, one more thing.

You will definitely want a Google+ account so you can register your business with Google maps, which uses a different search

algorithm than the main Google

engine. Alternatively, Google has made it even easier to register for both using “Google my business.”

Whether you have a
home-based business or an office or store or an industrial plant or whatever, register your organization/enterprise/not-for-profit/charity’s workplace(s) using It’ll update both Google maps and search from a single url.

It’s free and highly effective.

Google will send you a postcard via snail mail to the address you put into their platform; it contains a one-time code you re-enter, which, of course, affirms you are who you say you are and where you are…

Here’s what they sent me:


So when you put, “Bruce M Firestone” into Google maps, here’s what comes up:


Most small towns have dozens even hundreds of small and medium sized businesses, tons of little not-for-profits, charities, festivals and events–some they don’t even know about but do a whopping great volume out of their homes or backyard workshops or basements.

If everyone registers, you’ll boost your community’s profile, their enterprises, employment, and both sustainability and longterm success…

@ profbruce @ quantum_entity

* How to create great taglines/taglines I like? See:

More about registering your business in Ontario:

postscript: note, please seek legal or financial advice from experts before making your own decision about this.

Here’s my Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc site,

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.