This “Guide to Starting & Expanding a Small Business in Hants County”
is a resource book for local entrepreneurs. It details many of the typical
opportunities and obstacles you may experience while operating a small
This guide was developed with the help of a panel of small business
people from throughout the county, and it will be regularly improved
thanks to feedback from readers.
Throughout these pages, we will suggest that you consult with
professional lawyers, accountants, bankers, and municipal planners.
We will also refer you to local business support agencies. While a
document like this simply cannot fully address your unique business
case, it outlines many of the resources available to small business
people in Hants County.
We have attempted to provide an introduction to areas every
entrepreneur should address. Lists of local contacts have been included
at the back of the document so that you can quickly get the answers
you need. You can find more contact information in our online
business directory at http://www.hantscounty.com/.
This document will be updated annually to ensure its accuracy. To be
certain you have the most recent edition, visit us online
(http://www.hantscounty.com/) or at our offices in Windsor or
Good luck as you embark on your business journey!
The Hants Regional Development Authority
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Registration and Regulations………………………………………………5
Ownership and Name Registration, Industry Specific Regulations,
Zoning, Building Permits & Other Approvals, Business Occupancy
Tax, Income Taxes & HST, Protection of Privacy, Signage.
Hiring vs. Contracting Out, Employer Duties, Recruitment,
Training, Wage Support.
Equity Financing, Debt Financing, Banking, Accounting &
Marketing & Promotion.………………………………………………….17
Market Research, Target Market, Product/Service, Price, Sales &
Distribution, Promotion, Advice & Support.
Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations.
About the Hants RDA…………………………………………………….23
A formal business plan can be helpful to The following organizations serve Hants
you in many ways, but sometimes County and can help with your planning
thorough organization is all you need to (contact information is provided on pages
run a small business. Many hobby- 21 and 22):
businesses (like part-time craft production)
and professional services (like small law
firms, doctor offices, and dental clinics)
operate without formal “business plans”.
However, written business plans are
helpful in many ways.
A business plan:
• Organizes your ideas so you can for Small
communicate them to others, Business and
• Forces you to think through your Entrepreneurship
business idea, Atlantic Canada
• Assists you in obtaining financing (a plan Opportunities
is often required for financing), Agency
• Helps you evaluate the risks involved,
• Provides a roadmap so you can progress
logically and not fall off-track. FutureWorx Job
• Increases chances of business success
once established, Hants Regional
• Helps you consider expansion options. Dev. Auth.
Business plans are prepared for different Centre
purposes and, therefore, different readers
with different interests. If you are hoping Local Banks
to arrange financing with a certain lender,
get information before you prepare your You may also need to consult a lawyer and
business plan about whether a particular an accountant for support with particular
business plan format or outline is elements of your planning process.
preferred. This may save you the work of Overall, however, you will be the one
reorganizing your business information for writing your own business plan with
presentation later. advice from a variety of sources.
REGISTRATION & REGULATIONS
Because of the expenses involved, most
Ownership and Name professionals advise small business people
Registration against incorporation if it is not necessary.
Business status can always be changed: a
There are various ways to set up a business rapidly growing small business may decide
in Nova Scotia. The most common forms to incorporate as part of an expansion. A
are sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation is an independent entity
limited company (corporation), and controlled by shareholder investors.
cooperative. Each business form has Shareholders are not personally liable for
advantages and disadvantages. the debts of the company (although
corporate directors and officers do have
A sole proprietorship is a business that is some risk exposure). The incorporation
owned and operated by one person. As process requires the support of a lawyer.
sole owner of the business, the proprietor
is personally liable for business contracts A co-operative business is owned by
and is responsible for any wrongs members who make use of its services. Co-
committed by her/his employees (in the ops often market or purchase products for
course of their employment). A their members. The law treats co-op
proprietorship can operate under the members like corporate shareholders.
entrepreneur’s name without registering a However, “profits” are returned to
business name at the Nova Scotia Registry members through the cheaper products or
of Joint Stock Companies. But, if any services provided by the co-op. The Nova
change is made to the name (such as Scotia Cooperative Council (see pg 22)
adding “and daughter/son” or “and provides support to those considering the
associates”) you must register it. cooperative business model.
Formal or informal, a partnership is a The Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock
legally binding business relationship in Companies (see pg 22) manages name
which each partner takes responsibility registration in the province. The business
and becomes liable for the actions of the name you select cannot already be in use
other partner(s). This includes actions that by another company, nor may it be so
may be taken without a partner’s close to the name of another company so
knowledge. A partnership must legally as to cause confusion. The Government of
register its name, and a formal partnership Nova Scotia and the Canada Revenue
agreement is highly recommended. Each Agency now provide all-in-one
partner may wish to solicit independent registration for a number of business
legal advice. registrations and permits through an
online system located at
Industry-specific safety and compatibility with adjacent
Regulations land uses. Consult your municipal
development officer early in your business
There may be additional registrations and planning process to ensure that your
permits required for your specific type of proposed business is permitting in the
business. Many businesses require zone. Contact your municipality to ensure
additional permits, such as restaurants, that you have the proper information:
video outlets and hairstylists.
Hantport: Jeff Lawrence (pg 21);
The Government of Nova Scotia offers a Windsor: Doug MacInnis (pg 22);
“Permits Directory” containing West Hants: Doug MacInnis (pg 22);
information on 485 licenses, permits, East Hants: Ian Young (pg 21).
registrations, certifications and related
services administered by provincial Asking for a zoning confirmation letter is
departments and agencies. See highly recommended. This letter will
http://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/paal/. outline the zone requirements for your
business proposal. If your business activity
As well, guides to starting specific types of is not permitted in your zone, rezoning or
businesses are available through Canada- a development agreement may be possible.
Nova Scotia Business Service Centres (see An application for rezoning or a
Job Resource Centre and FutureWorx Job development agreement can be made to
Search Centre, pg. 21-22), 1-800-668-1010, your municipal council. The rezoning or
or http://www.cbsc.org/ns. development agreement process requires a
public hearing and is subject to
provincially-defined advertising timelines.
Building Permits and Other
Municipal bylaws define land use zones to
control where different types of residential
buildings and business activities can be
located. Land use bylaws list the types of If you are constructing or renovating a
businesses permitted in each zone. They building you will require a building
also define the types of home-based permit. Contact your municipality.
businesses that are permitted in your Your driveway may need to meet the
municipality. Land use bylaws regulate the Dept. of Transportation’s commercial
business activity in each zone with rules requirements. Contact your
about the type of activity, size of building, municipality.
proximity to the street, parking, number of If your property is not serviced by
employees, amount of traffic and size and municipal water and sewer you should
type of outdoor sign(s). These regulations contact the Dept. of the Environment
are intended to address issues of public for well and septic approvals.
Business Occupancy Tax
In order to be assessed for business
Businesses operating in Nova Scotia must occupancy tax, every person starting a
pay business occupancy tax to the town or business (even after temporary suspension)
municipality in which they are located. should advise their Regional Director of
This tax is in addition to any commercial Assessment in writing within one week of
property taxes, so businesses that operate beginning operations. This notification can
from rented premises must also pay be provided online at
business occupancy tax. https://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/secure/assess
ment/boform.asp, by phone, or in person.
The occupancy tax you owe is calculated
by multiplying the municipal commercial • The Western Region Assessment Office
tax rate by the business occupancy value (Kentville) serves Hantsport, Windsor
(25, 50, or 75% of the real property and West Hants (pg 22).
assessment) for your premises. Seasonal • The Northern Region Assessment Office
tourism operators are eligible to apply for a (Truro) serves East Hants (pg 22).
reduced rate (see http://www.gov.ns.ca/sns
mr/asmt/ps/business/). The entire business You must notify the Regional Director of
occupancy tax will be eliminated by 2013, Assessment within 30 days of vacating a
based on the following schedule: business premises to qualify for a rebate on
your business occupancy tax.
Value Businesses Phase-out
Income Taxes and the
Harmonized Sales Tax
25% campgrounds, service 2006
stations, and motor A sole proprietorship pays taxes by
vehicle dealerships. reporting income (or loss) on the owner’s
Financial institutions personal income tax return (Form T1). The
such as banks, trust form “Statement of Business Activities” is
companies, insurance completed and attached to your personal
companies, credit unions,
tax return. In a partnership, each partner
loan or investment
includes a share of the partnership income
(or loss) on her/his/its income tax return.
Value Quarterly installments may be required.
All other businesses (eg.
Category Otherwise, consider putting cash aside to
2005 – 50%
professional offices and cover income taxes each spring. Sole
2006 – 40%
50% services, manufacturing, proprietors and partners do not pay into
2007 – 30%
2008 – 20% Employment Insurance, but do make
and spaces licensed under
2009 – 10% Canada Pension Plan contributions.
the Liquor Control Act).
2010 – 0% Corporations and cooperatives file their
own income tax returns (Form T2) within customer information) under the federal
six months of the end of every corporate Personal Information Protection and
fiscal year. Corporate income tax is paid in Electronic Documents Act. PIPEDA
monthly installments. applies to all personal information that an
organization collects, uses or discloses in
If you expect to have revenues of more the course of commercial activity. You
than $30,000 per twelve-month-period, will need to ensure that your business
you must collect the harmonized sales tax carefully protects personal privacy.
on all sales. You will remit the difference
between the HST you collect on sales and You must obtain an individual’s
the HST you pay on goods and services to permission to collect her/his personal
run the business. If your revenues will be information. The individual has a right to
less than $30,000 in 12 months, you might access this information and to challenge its
still decide to collect HST to appear more accuracy. The information can only be
credible or to receive a “reimbursement”. used for the purposes for which it was
collected. If you plan to use it for another
Regardless of your ownership type and purpose you must obtain consent again.
level of income, an accountant is your best Individuals should also be assured that
source for taxation information and their information will be protected by
advice. The Canada Revenue Agency also specific safeguards, including measures
publishes useful online guides to taxation such as locked cabinets, computer
(see http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca). passwords or encryption.
For taxation purposes you need to register The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of
with the Canada Revenue Agency and be Canada provides a PIPEDA e-kit for
issued a business number (which also business online at
forms part of your HST number). This http://www.privcom.gc.ca.
registration is covered at http://www.busi
nessregistration.gc.ca (see Ownership and Signage
Name Registration, pg 5) or you can access
the necessary paperwork directly from
Many entrepreneurs do not know that
CRA (pg 21). Micro-enterprises (which do
business signs are regulated under
not have employees and whose sales will
municipal land use bylaws (see Zoning, pg
be under $30,000 per year) are not
6). A permit is required to erect, hang, or
required to register with CRA.
otherwise post a sign outside your place of
business. A small permit fee may apply.
Protection of Privacy Sign permits are not required in
unplanned/unzoned areas of East Hants.
Businesses of all sizes are required to Refer to the contacts provided under the
protect personal information (particularly Zoning section of this chapter.
Hiring vs. Contracting Out • Adhering to human rights legislation
• Adhering to labour standards (wage
Many small businesses successfully operate
rates, hours of work, time-off, etc.)
through the hard work of one person: the
sole proprietor. Even those small • Remitting payroll deductions
businesses that have employees tend to be • Paying Workers’ Compensation Board
very small; most small businesses in premiums
Atlantic Canada have fewer than five
employees. When the workload in a • Protecting employees’ personal
business becomes too large for one person, information
or when the owner’s skills do not suit a
particular task, extra expertise is required. The Nova Scotia Department of
Environment and Labour provides a
Many small businesses contract work out “Guide to the Labour Standards Code” and
to other small businesses, known legally as a number of factsheets on employment
“independent contractors” (such as rights at http://www.gov.ns.ca/enla/
bookkeeping, sales, computer service, and employmentrights/. The department also
technical support). An independent provides information on Occupational
contractor works outside of your business, Health and Safety at
has a certain degree of control over her/his http://www.gov.ns.ca/enla/health
work activities, has ownership of (or rents) andsafety/.
the necessary tools, has a chance of
making a profit, and is at risk of loss. An The Workers’ Compensation Board is
employee, on the other hand, takes responsible for a provincially administered
direction from the employer, uses the insurance program designed to protect
employer’s tools, and takes no substantial companies against liability suits for
risk in terms of profit or loss. workers’ injuries and to provide fair
compensation for those workers who
become injured or disabled on the job.
Employer Duties Premiums for this program are paid by the
employer only, based on industry rates.
This distinction between employees and For further information, call 1-800-870-
independent contractors is important 3331 or visit http://www.wcb.ns.ca/.
because you have a number of legal duties
toward your employees. These duties The Sobey School of Business at St. Mary’s
include: University has also published an excellent
• Keeping proper documentation resource on employer duties: “Building
(particularly regarding payroll and taxes) Better Business Through Your
Employees.” The document covers employment services to members of
employers’ legal duties and provides tips Indian Brook First Nation. The Kingstec
and guidelines for staffing strategy, campus of the Nova Scotia Community
successful recruitment and hiring, job College (pg 22), along with other colleges
design, compensation, progressive and universities in the province, offers
discipline, and workplace safety. This student placement and career services
guide is available online at upon graduation as well as internship and
http://www.buildingbetterbusiness.ca/ or co-operative work experience programs.
in hard copy from the Hants RDA (pg. 21).
Training your employees is fundamental to
The most popular way that small achieving their highest levels of
businesses recruit employees is through productivity. Employee training can range
“word-of-mouth” and personal networks. from orientation sessions to external
To cast the net further afield, many small courses paid by the employer. Private
businesses will purchase employment sector training and formal college or
advertising in local newspapers like the university programs can be useful, but
Hants Journal, the Weekly Press, or the consider shopping around for low-cost
Chronicle Herald. Others have tried training offered by government and not-
online advertising. Advertising for an for-profits. Many low-cost and free
employee is like advertising your products workshops are offered during Small
or services: the challenge is to choose Business Week each year (in October).
media that will reach your audience. The Nova Scotia Community College has a
customized training division (pg 22) that
In addition to paid advertising there are can help you develop training programs
many no-cost options to attract employees. for groups of new and existing employees.
Service Canada offers a free job bank Sometimes this training can be cost-shared
located at http://www.jobbank.gc.ca that is among a number of companies with
popular with local job seekers. Many job similar needs (ie. WHMIS). You and/or
seekers (and employers) access the job your employees might also be interested in
bank and other postings/services at the Job the NSCC’s online course offerings. The
Resource Centre in Windsor and Job Resource Centre and FutureWorx Job
FutureWorx Job Search Centre in Search Centre (pg 21-22) provide training
Elmsdale (pg. 21-22). Hants County Can to job seekers and could work with
(pg. 21) provides employment-related employers to fill specific needs.
services to persons with disabilities and
can also help with your recruitment
activities. The Indian Brook Employment
& Training Centre (pg. 22) provides
A few wage-support programs are
The money to start and operate your
currently available to encourage the hiring
business will likely be patched together
of specific unemployed or underemployed
from a number of different sources. Many
groups. The following three programs are
entrepreneurs take loans from banks and
offered by Service Canada (pg 22):
other lending institutions to get started or
to expand. Some rely entirely on personal
and family equity investments. Some
Job Creation To help employment
common sources of debt and equity
Partnership insurance recipients
financing are included in the chart on the
gain meaningful work
increases their chances
Here are some basic tips that could help in
of successfully finding
your search for financing:
Targeted To enable employers to • Develop a financing strategy as part of
Wage hire individuals (that your business plan: including cash flow
Subsidy they would not estimates, an analysis of your break-even
otherwise hire) who point, and a plan for repayment of loans.
face barriers to • Get advice: from accountants, bankers,
employment by offering and personal contacts.
• Remember that it is common for
entrepreneurs to underestimate how
Summer To provide wage
much money is needed, especially for
Career subsidies to employers
operating the business.
Placements to create career-related
summer jobs for • Be prepared to walk away from a deal
secondary and post- you don’t like. If it’s too expensive, too
secondary students, restrictive, or too unwieldy, the option
from 15 to 30 years of may not make sense for your business.
age. • Do not be deterred from your idea if
your first financing application is
The Indian Brook Employment & Training refused: shop around.
Centre (pg. 22) also has access to wage-
subsidized youth employment programs
funded by Indian and Northern Affairs The way you finance your business has a
Canada. profound effect on its long-term success.
Be sure to re-examine your financing plan
on a regular basis as your needs change.
Equity Financing Small Business Financing Sources
“Equity” is the financial contribution Personal Savings
made by owners of a company. The Personal Lines of Credit
most likely sources of equity Personal Credit Cards
financing are you and people you Personal Loans
know. However, there may be other
Business Credit Cards
sources to explore.
Personal Funds Supplier Credit
Most lenders require that a business Leasing
person invest some personal assets Government Lending
into the business. That investment
can come from:
• Selling personal assets
• Cutting current personal and Angel Investment
business expenses in order to make
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%
• Drawing on savings
Percent of Canadian Small Businesses
• Using credit cards to get cash (a
costly option) Source: Statistics Canada, Survey of Financing of Small- and
Medium-Sized Businesses, 2002.
• Borrowing against life insurance
• Selling holdings or investments should treat these people similar to other
• Cashing in bonds or savings plans sources of financing: help them
understand your business, explain how
• Increasing a house mortgage you plan to use their money, and show
• Keeping a job and using a portion of that them a written business plan if you have
salary for the business. one. As a group, friends and family make
up more than 50 per cent of the loans to
“Love Money” home-based businesses. Always get
Many entrepreneurs rely on friends and agreements about investments or loans in
relatives for at least a portion of their writing to save later misunderstandings.
financing, either on a debt or equity basis.
Using “love money” can be a tricky Partners
proposition. You don’t want to end up You may consider taking on a business
losing both your business and your friends partner to bring some extra equity into the
or the goodwill of a family member. You company. You may be lucky and find a
silent partner who has little interest in the Debt Financing
day-to-day operations of the business.
However, having a partner that will Debt financing is money you borrow to
become a true partial owner/manager of run your business. A lender takes the risk
the business is more likely. This can bring that you might not be able to repay the
new skills to the company in addition to loan and charges a corresponding interest
an equity investment. Always sign a rate. Lenders typically evaluate four
partnership agreement if your company factors:
will have more than one equity investor.
• Character – Are you the kind of person
Venture Capitalists & Angel who pays your bills? Are you reliable?
Investors Can you run the business?
Sometimes seasoned and wealthy • Credit – Do you have a good credit
professionals are looking to put their rating?
money into promising businesses, hoping
• Capacity – Can the business generate
to earn a larger return on their investment
enough to pay the bank back?
than they could find in other investments.
• Collateral – Do you have things of value
Venture Capitalists are the more which can be used to secure or guarantee
aggressive type of investor. They focus on a loan?
rapid-growth businesses, and businesses Local lenders include five banks (with
that have the potential to “go-public” on many branches), the Hants-Kings
the stock market or be bought-out by a Community Business Development Centre
bigger company. The GrowthWorks Limited, and the Atlantic Canada
Atlantic Venture Fund (pg 21) is a new Opportunities Agency. These last two
fund targeted at companies in Atlantic lenders add a fifth “C” to their evaluation.
Canada. They consider benefits to the community
(ie. job creation) as well as negative
Angels are seen as more patient investors. impacts on existing companies.
They typically invest in small companies
as a way to minimize their taxes or satisfy Bank Financing
personal interests. Many angels take an
active role in the company’s management Canada Small Business Financing (CSBF)
and strategic planning. Bankers, Program
accountants, and lawyers may know of
these types of investors in the local The Canada Small Business Financing
community. The First Angel Network (pg Program seeks to increase the availability
21) aims to connect investors and of loans and capital leases for establishing,
entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada. expanding, modernizing and improving
small businesses by encouraging financial
institutions and leasing companies to make
their services available to small businesses. Hants-Kings Community
Under the program, a small business must Business Development
apply for a loan or lease to the financial Centre Ltd.
institution (bank or credit union) or the
participating leasing company of its
Established in 1988, CBDC Hants-Kings is
choice. If the application is granted, the
one of 41 Community Business
federal government will guarantee 85 per
Development Corporations (CBDCs)
cent of the lender’s losses in the event of
located throughout rural Atlantic Canada.
default. For more information, visit
Each CBDC is an autonomous, non-profit
organization dedicated to the development
Contact a local branch of CIBC, Heritage of small business and job creation in its
Credit Union, Royal Bank, Scotiabank, or communities. CBDC Hants-Kings serves
Victory Credit Union (see the business Hants County through offices in Windsor
directory at HantsCounty.com for contact and Elmsdale. See page 21 for contact
Small Business Financing Program CBDC Hants-Kings Term Loans
Nova Scotia Credit Unions, in partnership CBDC Hants-Kings provides term loans of
with the Nova Scotia Office of Economic up to $150,000 at a minimum interest rate
Development, provide loans of up to of 8 per cent for viable business projects.
$150,000 for small businesses. The Contact CBDC Hants-Kings for more
province will guarantee up to 75 per cent information on eligibility criteria.
of the loan, with the credit unions being
responsible for the remaining 25 per cent. SEED Term Loans
The program can cover loans for working
capital or lines of credit. All types of SEED loans of up to $20,000 are available
business are eligible, except residential and with an interest rate of two per cent (2%)
commercial real estate, beverage rooms, above prime for anyone wishing to start a
and taverns. Visit a local credit union for new business, as well as for youth under
additional information or to apply. 35 years of age to modernize or expand
their business ($2000 in free training funds
Contact a local branch of Heritage Credit possible for successful applicants). Contact
Union or Victory Credit Union (see the CBDC Hants-Kings for more information
business directory at HantsCounty.com for on eligibility criteria.
Women in Business Initiative (WBI) Term cent) for "returning" students to start their
Loans own business. Contact CBDC Hants-Kings
for more information on eligibility criteria.
Female entrepreneurs are eligible for term
loans of up to $150,000 at a minimum Canada Youth Business Foundation Loans
interest rate of eight per cent (8%).
Contact CBDC Hants-Kings for more CYBF lends up to $15,000 for youth
information on eligibility criteria. between the ages of 19 and 34. This
program includes a mentorship
Self-Employment Benefits Program component. Contact CBDC Hants-Kings
for more information on eligibility criteria.
The Self-Employment Benefits (SEB)
program provides income, counselling, and Women in Business - Business
training assistance to eligible residents Management Training Allowance
interested in starting their own business.
Applicants must be currently unemployed. The Business Management Training
They must have an active employment Allowance provides financial assistance to
insurance (EI) claim, or have been on an female business owners who wish to
EI claim in the past three years, or have undertake business management training
been on maternity / paternity leave in the in a variety of specific areas. The BMTA
past five years. will finance up to 75 per cent (to a
maximum of $2,000) of approved training
Staff work with the client to assess their costs. Contact CBDC Hants-Kings for more
business proposal, develop a business plan, information on eligibility criteria.
and provide ongoing professional
development and counseling support,
including a comprehensive business
development program series, as they
develop their business over the course of Business Development Program
the program. The first step for interested
individuals is to have their eligibility / The Business Development Program (BDP)
needs determination completed by a is ACOA’s principal program for providing
representative from their local Service direct financial assistance to Atlantic
Canada Centre (formerly Canada’s small and medium-sized
HRSDC/HRDC/Manpower, see pg. 22). enterprises (SMEs). It helps you to get
started, expand, or modernize your
Students in Business Loans business by offering access to capital in the
form of interest-free, unsecured, repayable
The Students in Business program provides contributions. Most sectors are eligible,
loans up to $5,000 with no interest (and a except retail/wholesale, real estate,
chance at a possible rebate up to 25 per government services, primary industries,
and services of a personal or social nature.
Eligible expenses include business studies,
Accounting & Bookkeeping
capital investment, training, marketing,
and quality assurance. Assistance is also
Your bookkeeping system collects the
available to help you bid for and acquire
information needed to prepare financial
public and private procurement contracts
statements, submit tax returns, apply for
or to develop an innovative product or
loans, and make sound business decisions.
service. ACOA is able to support 50 per
cent of certain capital costs and 75 per cent
You should have no problem learning to
of other eligible costs. For information,
maintain your bookkeeping system on a
day-to-day basis. However, you might
ancial/business.shtml or contact Brenda
contact an accountant, bookkeeping
Bradford or Brian Banks (pg. 21).
company or experienced friend for
assistance getting started. You can also
Banking look into taking a short course on
bookkeeping. From time to time these are
Meet with a banker early in the start-up offered through the NSCC (locally and
process, even if you don’t need a bank online), your chamber of commerce, the
loan. Your relationship with your business Job Resource Centre, FutureWorx Job
banker will be important over the long Search Centre, or CBDC Hants-Kings (see
term. At the very least you will want to contacts, pg 21-22). Female entrepreneurs
setup a separate bank account for your can make use of the “Business
business – to make deposits and write Management Training Allowance” (pg 15)
cheques. There are many other ancillary to access accounting training.
services provided by banks, including
credit card merchant accounts, Many small businesses successfully use
debit/Interac machines, and support with paper-based bookkeeping systems. Others
import/export transactions. Talk to your now opt for computer software such as
bank about the range of services it can Simply Accounting, Inuit QuickBooks, or
offer. Consider shopping around for the Microsoft Money. These programs make
best interest rates, account fees, service bookkeeping easy, even for entrepreneurs
hours, and ancillary services. Also consider with little accounting knowledge.
joining your local Chamber of Commerce
or the Canadian Federation of If you keep your own financial records,
Independent Business to receive the advice of an accountant can still be
discounted banking services (see useful (particularly at tax time). See the
Networking, pg. 20). business directory on HantsCounty.com to
connect with local accountants and
Many people use the terms “marketing” reaches the right consumers while
and “advertising” interchangeably. But learning from your competitors’
marketing is a process of researching, weaknesses.
strategizing, and planning your target
market, product/service, price, distribution Target Market
channels, and promotions (advertising).
The decisions you make in each of these
Understanding the demographics of your
areas fit together and are based on market
customers (eg. Dual income, no kids, aged
research. A marketing plan or strategy is a
30-40) is not enough. You should also
key element in any business plan.
strive to understand their
“psychographics” or, simply stated, “why
Market Research they buy”. Consumers are rarely searching
for the cheapest solution to their problem.
Research need not be an overwhelming Loyalty, prestige, perceived risks,
chore. It is important because it helps emotions, personality, values, attitudes,
objectively prove whether or not your and culture all play a role in the
business can succeed. The Canada-Nova consumers’ decisions. The purchase
Scotia Business Service Centre (at the Job process (“how they buy”) should also be
Resource Centre and Futureworx Job understood. A purchase can involve
Search Centre) and the Hants RDA are information gatherers, influencers,
excellent sources for consumer spending decision makers, purchasers and users.
data and other market statistics. Try to One person rarely assumes all five of these
learn about market size, trends, and roles. A great marketer understands how
geography. To understand your to influence all elements of consumer
competitors, collect some cheap behaviour.
competitive intelligence. (Don’t forget
indirect competitors that sell a different Product / Service
product/service but one that fills the same
need). The Internet is a great resource of
Most entrepreneurs know their product or
competitive intelligence. If you have the
service better than anyone else. Some have
opportunity, you can also make a “secret
even invented an entirely new product or
shopper” visit. Try to understand your
service1. But be sure to take the time to
competitors’ customers. Critique your
translate your product’s many features into
competitors’ products and services. Also,
take note of their pricing, distribution, and
promotion methods. Your market research 1If this is your situation, consider contacting the
will help you design a marketing plan that Canada-NS Business Service Centre for information
on intellectual property protection (see pg 21).
benefit statements. Speaking about
“benefits” helps your customers quickly
Sales & Distribution
understand why your product/service is
valuable to them and how it differs from
Your sales/distribution plan describes how
your competitors’ offerings. Be careful
the transaction between you and your
when making claims about human health
customer will take place. If you sell
benefits, though, because these claims are
directly to the customer, consider the
regulated by the federal government.
location, layout, design, accessibility, and
general “look and feel” of your retail space
Consider the design of your “extended
or facility. Alternatively you might sell
product” or “extended service”, including:
directly to the customer via the Internet,
the packaging; customer service
direct mail, catalogue order, or other
experience; and any warranty, return
means. These methods require careful
policy, or service guarantee.
logistics planning and possibly
coordination with a shipping company or
Price Canada Post. You might also hire your
own sales people or engage an
Consumers do not always choose the independent sales agent, wholesalers,
lowest price. For example, higher prices retailers and any number of other external
(“premium prices”) often reinforce the organizations or individuals. Be careful to
idea that a product or service is of high coordinate the supply chain so you meet
quality. Also, price-conscious consumers or exceed the customer’s expectations.
perceive odd-ending prices to be lower
than even-ending ones (this is why many As your business expands, your
prices end in .99, .97 and .95 rather than distribution channels may change and you
.00, .10 and .90). There are three common may need to begin managing your capacity
approaches to setting a price. “Pricing to and customer demand. You might also
the market” involves determining directly start looking toward export markets. Nova
from your customers (or by observing your Scotia Business Inc. (p 21) can provide
competitors) what they are willing to pay. consulting, trade missions, and financial
The “cost approach” involves calculating a assistance to help get your product/service
per-unit cost (materials + labour + into markets outside Atlantic Canada.
overhead per unit) and adding the desired
profit. “Break-even pricing” divides total
annual expenses by an estimate of your
annual sales volume (in units of product or
Any money you spend on promotion
time). Try combining all three of these
should be aimed at your target market and
approaches to make your price decision.
should convert into sales. Sometimes a
roadside sign is all you needs thanks to a
great location (see pg 8 for information on
sign permits). Other times, customers are so costly to attract a new customer, do
best reached through paid advertising in what you can to encourage repeat business
newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and customer loyalty. Be creative about
billboards, tradeshows, and other media. rewarding loyalty and keeping in touch
Websites are becoming an important with your frequent customers.
medium for many businesses. Some small
businesses opt for the cheapest advertising Advice and Support
rather than the media to which their
customers pay attention.
The following organizations provide
marketing advice and support in Hants
Free publicity can often be just as effective
County (see pg 21-22 for contacts):
as paid promotion. Word of mouth
referrals are the best form of promotion in
a small community like ours. Think about
how you can “WOW!” opinion leaders in
your target market. Understand your
customers expectations and exceed them
to generate “hype”. Consider throwing a
grand opening and other special events.
Issue press releases to inform journalists Acadia Centre
about your company’s comings and goings: for Small
new products, services, employees, Business and
anniversaries, and other interesting news. Entrepreneurship
And be sure to take advantage of free Atlantic Canada
business listings: register your business at Opportunities
HantsCounty.com and submit your Agency
opening announcement to the Chronicle
Herald’s weekly “Open for Business” CBDC Hants-
column (email@example.com or fax 902- Kings
For a list of local media outlets, print
shops, graphic designers, webpage Hants Regional
designers and more, visit the business Dev. Auth.
directory at HantsCounty.com.
Keep track of what works to get the best Centre
bang for your buck. Ask new customers Nova Scotia
how they heard about you and move your Business Inc.
money and effort to the most effective (Export Services)
promotional methods. And since it can be
Chambers of Commerce
A marketing consultant could provide
and Business Associations
your business with comprehensive advice
and support. Many are listed on
Chambers of Commerce and Business
HantsCounty.com under “consulting”, but
Associations are the most valuable
consider getting a referral from a trusted
business networking organizations. Hants
business acquaintance. Finally, don’t
County is home to a number of these
forget your customers as a source of
marketing advice. Collect feedback to
continuously improve the elements of
Hantsport and Area Business
your marketing strategy.
East Hants Chamber of Commerce
Business Breakfast Club: The Corridor
NETWORKING West Hants Chamber of Commerce
West Hants Women in Business
Networking is an important activity for Windsor Business Enhancement
any entrepreneur. Often your personal Society
contacts and professional business advisors
are the beginning of your “network”. With Many of these business associations plan
your permission, friends, family, bankers, regular networking events that are open to
lawyers, accountants and business members and nonmembers. Membership
counselors/consultants can spread the in either of the chambers of commerce has
word about your business. But networking benefits including discounts on group
is more than generating word-of-mouth health benefits. HABA also offers various
publicity. Your network can give you member discounts and promotions. From
names of other helpful professionals, time to time these groups offer guest
potential suppliers, customers, mentors, speakers on topics of interest to their
and peers. This is an opportunity to members. Many of these groups also
interact with other entrepreneurs who are sponsor and undertake projects that
experiencing similar business challenges benefit the community. Volunteering on
and to learn from those who may have the board of a business association or local
already been there. It is a reciprocal not-for-profit organization is a great way
process – you help others expand their to network and give back to the
networks and they will help you expand community.
2The most current contact information for these
groups can be found under “Business Associations”
Acadia Centre for Small Business and Entrepreneurship First Angel Network Association
Acadia University 5162 Duke Street, Suite 402
Willett House, 38 Crowell Drive Halifax, NS B3J 1N7
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6 (902) 425-5162
(902) 585-1180 Contacts: Brian Lowe and Ross Finlay
Executive Director: Chris Pelham
Manager of Business Development: Paul Richards Futureworx Job Search Centre
East Hants Resource Centre
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 15 Commerce Court, Suite 110
Enterprise Centre of Hants County Elmsdale, NS B2S 3K5
80 Water Street (902) 883-7010
Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 Manager: Bonnie MacDermott
Account Manager: Brenda Bradford GrowthWorks Atlantic Venture Fund
Field Account Manager: Brian Banks Purdy's Wharf Tower 1
1959 Upper Water Street, Suite 1401
Canada-Nova Scotia Business Service Centre Halifax, NS B3J 3N2
Local sites: Job Resource Centre and FutureWorx Hants County CAN (Community Access Network)
80 Water Street
Canada Revenue Agency Windsor, NS B0N 2T0
1-800-959-5525 (902) 792-1802
New Elmsdale Office (902) 883-2778
CBDC Hants – Kings Executive Director: Michael Little
Enterprise Centre of Hants County
80 Water Street, Box 2788 Hantsport, Town of
Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 Town Hall, 20 Main Street
(902) 798-5717 Hantsport, NS B0P 1P0
Executive Director: Ken Crichton (902) 684-3211
Economic Development Officer: Michael Campbell CAO: Jeff Lawrence
BDC Administrative Assistant: Judy Newcomb Director of Recreation & Community Dev.: Sandra Fraser
SEB Administrative Assistant: Bonnie Wilcox
Hants Regional Development Authority
CBDC Hants – Kings Enterprise Centre of Hants County
East Hants Resource Centre 80 Water Street, Box 2313
15 Commerce Court, Suite 200-2 Windsor, NS B0N 2T0
Elmsdale, NS B2S 3K5 (902) 798-2284 or 1-877-284-2687
(902) 883-8879 Executive Director: Amy Melmock
Economic Development Officer: Karl Jackson Development Officer: Ryan MacNeil
East Hants, Municipality of Hants Regional Development Authority
2361 Hwy 2, P.O. Box 190 East Hants Resource Centre
Shubenacadie, NS B0N 2H0 15 Commerce Court, Suite 200-1
(902) 758-2299 Elmsdale, NS B2S 3K5
Planning: (902) 758-2715 (902) 883-3338 or 1-877-284-2687
CAO: Ian Glasgow Development Officer: Karen Kittilsen
Director of Economic and Business Development:
Development Officer: Ian Young
Indian Brook Employment & Training Centre Service Canada
Indian Brook First Nation Truro Office (Maitland, Shubenacadie)
Hants County, NS B0N 1W0 60 Lorne Street, Suite 8
(902) 758-3372 Truro, NS B2N 3K3
Contact: Sandy Maloney (902) 893-0016
Job Resource Centre Service Nova Scotia, Assessment Services
Enterprise Centre of Hants County Northern Region Assessment Office
80 Water Street 136 Esplanade St
Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 Truro, NS B2N 2K3
(902) 798-5627 (902) 893 5800 or 1-800-280-8963
Manager: Kathy McKee-Flaherty
Employment Consultant-Business: Rob Frost Service Nova Scotia Assessment Services
Western Region Assessment Office
Nova Scotia Business Inc. 87 Cornwallis St
Enterprise Centre of Hants County Kentville, NS B4N 2E5
80 Water Street, Box 488 (902) 679 6106 or 1-800-280-8979
Windsor, NS B0N 2T0
(902) 798-6961 West Hants, Municipality of the District of
Account Executive: Sean Cochrane 76 Morison Drive, P.O. Box 3000
Windsor, NS, B0N 2T0
Nova Scotia Community College, Kingstec Campus (902) 798-8391
236 Belcher Street CAO: Dwight Bennett
Kentville, NS B4N 3X3
(902) 678-7341 Windsor, Town of
Principal: Don Bureaux Town Hall, King Street
Customized Training: Dwayne MacLeod Windsor, NS B0N 2T0
Nova Scotia Cooperative Council Community and Economic Dev. Coord.: VanEssa Roberts
90 Research Drive, Suite 1
Agritech Park, Bible Hill Windsor-West Hants Joint Planning Advisory Cmte.
Truro, NS B2N 6C7 76 Morison Drive,
(902) 893-8966 Windsor, NS B0N 2T0
Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies Director of Planning: Lynn Davis
9th Floor, Maritime Centre Development Officer: Doug MacInnis
1505 Barrington Street
Halifax, NS, B3J 3K5 Women in Business Initiative
1-800-225-8227 Annapolis Valley Region
(Windsor, Hantsport and West Hants)
Service Canada 902-790-2766
Windsor Office (Windsor, Hantsport, West Hants) Regional Facilitator: Gordia MacDonald
80 Water Street
Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 Women in Business Initiative
(902) 798-6518 Eastern Region
Manager: Paul Innis (East Hants)
Service Canada Regional Facilitator: Karen Donnelly
Bedford Office (Elmsdale, Enfield, Milford)
1597 Bedford Highway Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia
Bedford, NS B4A 1E7 Assessment (Employer) Services
(902) 426-7698 5595 Fenwick Street, Suite 109
1-877-211-9267 or 1-800-870-3331
HANTS REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
WHO WE ARE
The Hants RDA is a not-for-profit agency that is governed by a volunteer
Board of Directors. Since 1997, we've worked with our government,
community and business partners in the region to provide leadership in
economic and community development.
WHAT WE DO
The Hants RDA works with business clients and community organizations
large and small to find resources and provide planning support. We can help
small businesses network, find financing, research and prepare business plans,
access professional advice, address training and professional development
issues, identify and respond to major challenges, find appropriate facilities, and
plan for succession.
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
NS Department of Community Services
NS Office of Economic Development
The Municipality of East Hants
The Municipality of West Hants
The Town of Hantsport
The Town of Windsor
The Hants RDA is an ISO 9001:2000 Registered Organization. We strive for
continuous improvement in all that we do. Your feedback will help us
improve this document and our other small business services.
Written and designed by Ryan MacNeil.