11+ Ideas for Best Business to Start in Canada
By Nick Robert
Choosing the right business to start in Canada is crucial to becoming a successful business owner. In this guide, I have ranked and reviewed the best businesses to start in Canada and my top choices for best online business and physical businesses to start in Canada today. Keep reading to find out what made the list!
Why you should start a business in Canada
There are many reasons to want to start a profitable business today. Inflation is running at 40-year highs, and your dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to. All Canadians could benefit from having their own business to supplement or replace their income.
The government of Canada has listed that close to 100,000 entrepreneurs start a new business in Canada every year. Most of these best business ideas can start as a side hustle and scale over time. This allows you to keep your current 9 to 5 until this scales into a profitable business.
How I evaluated the best business ideas to start in Canada
There are several criteria to consider when evaluating different business ideas. I considered the following criteria while evaluating each business idea:
What are the start-up costs?
How much time is required?
How much training is required?
How scalable is this business idea?
How profitable is this business idea?
I also decided to split all business ideas into categories- online and physical businesses.
What are the best online business ideas for Canadians?
Online business idea 1: Start an E-commerce store
Running an eCommerce business has never been easier. You can get your online store set up quickly with companies like Shopify. Additionally, you can sell your products on multiple platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Amazon and Walmart marketplace.
An eCommerce business can start with a few hours of work a week. While there is a lot to learn, you can take paid courses to get up to speed quickly or do free research on YouTube. This is one of the best small business ideas, as you can sell products with high-profit margins and scale the number of products your store carries over time.
Online business idea 2: Create and sell online courses
If you are knowledgeable in a topic or have a skill you want to teach others, this can be one of the most profitable business ideas for you. Only a small investment is required as you can leverage existing platforms (like Udemy) to create, edit and market your online course.
While this can be time intensive to set up, once your online courses are created, it can be entirely passive, or you can run social media marketing to drive additional sales of your online courses.
Top picks to build an online course:
Online business idea 3: Start a consulting business
Are you a working professional in any of the current industries?:
If you are already knowledgeable in this professional industry or another industry, you could start your own consulting business by leveraging your existing work experience. It’s easy to start online by leveraging your current LinkedIn network or advertising your services on Fiver.
While you won’t need to spend money (not much anyways) to start a consulting business, you need training in the business area you are consulting on. This creates a barrier to entry for consulting businesses if you do not already have knowledge and expertise.
Online business idea 4: Freelance writing
If you have experience working for magazines or websites, you can turn that skill set into a freelance writing career and have your own business. If you want to be successful, you will need to build a portfolio, market your services online and even cold call to get your foot in the door.
This is a good business idea if you are passionate about writing and already have professional experience. Due to the minimal investment costs, you can start this as a side hustle and scale over time. As you grow your client base, you will be able to charge higher amounts to make this a profitable business idea.
Online business idea 5: Become a virtual assistant
A virtual assistant is very similar to an in-person assistant. You must be well organized and responsive to your clients’ every need. However, as a virtual assistant, you can scale your time to cover multiple clients and turn this into a successful small business.
Many clients looking for virtual assistants have specific needs at specific times. This makes it easier to service multiple clients and gain control of your own time. Get started as a virtual assistant by clicking here.
Online business idea 6: Start an affiliate marketing blog
Blogging is one of the best small business ideas in Canada. People often picture bloggers as someone writing about their passion, slowly gaining an audience and eventually collecting a few dollars from ad revenue.
In reality, more and more people use blogs to determine what they will buy. You can do keyword research to find purchase intent behind online searches, write engaging content that adds value to the purchasing process and turn that into recurring passive income.
There is good money to be made by connecting people to the products and services they want to buy, making this one of the best small business ideas to start in Canada.
What are the best physical business ideas for Canadians?
Physical business idea 1: Car wash business
Owning a car wash is a very profitable business opportunity that most people are not interested in. It’s a great way to own your own business that you can heavily automate to free you to work on your passion. While this isn’t considered a sexy small business, fewer people compete to buy and operate a car wash business.
The initial investment cost to get started is higher on this business opportunity than other small business ideas in this list. Still, if you make a good business plan, you can turn this into a profitable business opportunity. Additionally, you can try to arrange creative financing with a seller to lower your cost of entry.
If you want to learn more about buying a car wash business, you can start your search here:
BusinsessesForSale.com – List of available car wash businesses for sale across Canada
BizBuySell.com – Listing of available businesses for sale
Physical business idea 2: Photography business
Are you passionate about photography? Turn that passion into extra money by starting your own photography business. You can quickly launch a website with examples of your work to build up your social media presence and use social media marketing to get customers.
This only requires a small investment in photography equipment to get started. However, this business is not passive – it requires you to go to events (like weddings & business events), and customers can be demanding. Generally, this can be one of the most profitable business ideas once you have a repeat customer base.
Physical business idea 3: Start a cleaning business
A cleaning business can be highly profitable and is in high demand, with a low investment cost. You can target residential and commercial clients by marketing your services online to grow your customer base quickly. Many small business owners are not currently taking advantage of an online presence.
Many young people tend to stay away from physical businesses like these because they are not appealing. However, an office cleaning business requires minimal experience, and by leveraging technology, you can scale your cleaning business & customer base quickly.
Physical business idea 4: Buy an existing laundromat business
Many apartment buildings do not have washers and dryers in each unit. Physical laundromat businesses bring in a lot of cash each month, and are in demand regardless of the Canadian economy and can be heavily automated.
They will require upfront capital (usually in the $100-500k range), which can be challenging to secure funding for. I recommend working with an experienced business broker to help you learn the ropes.
You might be noticing a theme here. I believe in these business ideas that are unattractive cash cows as fewer people are targeting these opportunities despite the massive potential.
Physical business idea 5: Open a franchise in the beauty industry
The cosmetic sector in Canada is gaining momentum, which will benefit the beauty industry. This industry continues to grow yearly, and opportunities continue to arise, particularly in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. Some cities like Vancouver have competitive beauty industries already; many markets in Canada are not saturated. This makes starting a beauty firm in Canada a great business opportunity
If you have targeted a good location and can afford the start-up costs associated with purchasing a franchise, this can be a fast way to own a profitable business in a booming industry.
Physical business idea 6: Real estate company
Owning and investing in real estate gives you many different income sources. I currently own six doors across Canada, invest in multi-family properties through joint ventures and have private lending deals with active real estate investors.
The most common way to invest in real estate is through a buy-and-hold scenario. A buy-and-hold property means you purchase a property and rent it out to long-term tenants. This creates at least five revenue streams for you:
- Cash flow – Rent less all expenses
- Mortgage pay down – Mortgage payments include principal and interest. There are multiple ways to leverage the principal pay down through Home Equity Lines of Credit or upon the sale of the property.
- Depreciation – a tax deduction to offset your rental income and avoid paying tax
- Active appreciation – Doing repairs and renovations that increase the value of your home gives you more equity and increases your net worth.
- Passive appreciation – Over time, your property appreciates in value
More Real Estate strategies for your real estate company:
Short-term rentals – offer much higher cash flow but are less passive.
Multifamily – buying apartment buildings can help you spread your fixed costs (such as a roof repair) over more units. These are considered commercial property, and there are several ways to increase their value.
BRRRR stands for buying a property, renovating it, renting it out, refinancing it, and repeating. Buy a property at a lower price by putting 20% down, executing a value add strategy, renting, and refinancing the property. By doing this, you can take out most of your initial payment and repeat.
Private lending – many active investors are willing to do the work to operate property but do not have the funds to acquire the property. You can act as a bank, lend your money to investors, and earn 10-15% annually, depending on your risk tolerance.
Real estate is one of the most profitable industries in Canada. However, it also has the highest start-up costs and requires a lot of time and training to be successful. Scaling can be difficult with traditional buy-and-hold methods, but you can leverage some of the other options to scale faster and increase your cash flow.
How to finance the purchase of a small business
A number of these small business ideas in this article have low investment costs. However, it can be challenging to secure financing if you are looking to acquire an existing small business such as a cash wash or laundromat. Here are my top ways to secure business financing:
Seller financing – many sellers know how difficult it can be to get a loan to get started. This is why some sellers will offer seller financing. It also gives you comfort as the purchaser of a small business that the current owner believes in the company.
Government grants – The Canadian government offers grants to small business owners to help them get started. For more information, you can click here. This is often one of the best ways, as grants may not be required to be paid back (either partially or in whole) as long as you meet specific requirements.
Leverage your existing assets – if you are a homeowner, you can take out a secured Home Equity Line of Credit or a first or second mortgage to fund your small business purchase.
Work with experienced business brokers – Many business brokers will have experience helping buyers fund their small business acquisitions as they deal with this daily.
If you know what small business you are interested in purchasing, I recommend figuring out how much capital you can secure in cash, grants and loans so you can get started quickly.
It’s also essential to ensure you have a high credit score, so you set yourself up for the best financing options available. Click here to learn how to increase your credit score in Canada.
When you start a new business, many people do not consider the tax liability. You will be taxed at the business tax rate if you form a business or at your personal tax rate if you do not. Regardless, you will need to pay taxes to the Canada Revenue Agency (check out the best tax software in Canada to help you do this. I would suggest to aside your net income x your business tax rate or personal marginal tax rate to ensure you can pay all related taxes to the CRA.
As well, it’s a lot easier to file your taxes and understand how your business is performing if you use a separate bank account for your business. This will save you a lot of headaches and preparation time. Check out the best business bank accounts in Canada for Canadian business owners.
As you can see, you can get started on many profitable business ideas immediately. I would recommend learning as much about personal finance to help make you a successful small business owner. Visit my blog if you want to learn all about personal finance.
Keep checking this post for more business ideas, or click here to learn more ways to make money online.
About the Author
Nick Robert is the founder and creator of Nickrobert.com. I created this website to educate Canadians about everything related to personal finance. As a Chartered Professional Accountant & Chartered Accountant, I have worked with many Canadians to achieve their personal finance goals.
To contact me, you can visit my contact page to email me directly, or you can visit and participate in my subreddit. Let me know about any topics you would like me to cover. If you are interested in guest posting on this website, message me through the contact page.