Opening many businesses was something I rarely thought about doing. At the beginning I had no clue how to open one, let alone a handful. I spent hours on the internet trying to answer what opening the right business in Canada was all about  – what do Canadians need? What would work here? What will be profitable? I would lose sleep trying to find the magic recipe of finding the winning business idea.

It wasn’t going well but I never stopped looking for that “one thing.”

Eventually I ended up getting a puppy I fell in love with and found myself enjoying longer walks with him and talking to other “pet parents” (I know, I was a crazy person calling my dog Pepe my “son”). The more I immersed myself in the dog community, the more I  wanted to know about improving the health and wellness of my own dog.

Eventually I became really good at finding natural products and ways of treating my dog’s illnesses using medical recommendations from my vet (my dad!) plus natural products I had researched. I started talking to my fellow dog lovers and they asked for my ideas and suggestions to treat their dogs.

And then it hit me.

Why have I spent so much time researching the “perfect” business that would work in Canada instead of asking myself what was I PASSIONATE about? A pet food and supplies store – that was it! That’s what I wanted to do. That’s what I was very passionate about – helping other pet owners compliment medical recommendations with natural products to help their pets thrive. Opening a business in Canada became more about my passion and less about what “they” want.

I never went to business school (I studied journalism!). I had never even worked in a store before, let alone owned one. I had never hired staff, managed inventory, worked on accounting or even knew how to BEGIN.

Of course you wouldn’t know any of that if you met me today.

People hear me speak at events or take my workshops and assume I’ve always been a good business person and that I always knew what businesses would be successful in Canada.

Knowing what type of business to open is very powerful. Learning how to do it successfully is a game changer. But it took me years of searching and stumbling my way through to learn about the ins and out of opening the right business in Canada.

I made many mistakes, I didn’t know how to do it, I had to get over my fear of starting something in a new country, a new language, and spent many MANY sleepless nights to be where I am today. I was also fortunate enough that my Canadian-born husband has always been a great supporter and helped me along the way.

Knowing what type of business to open in Canada is a big step in the right direction. It is part passion and part science. 

Instead of starting your business quest by asking yourself: What do Canadians want/need? Ask yourself this first: What am I PASSIONATE about? What is the one thing I LOVE doing and would do it for free (but would be a plus if I could get paid for doing that)? And don’t just stop there. 

As newcomers, we need to make sure that our passion is backed up by strategy and profitability –we need to make sure that what we are passionate about, also has the potential of working out in Canada. Nobody likes wasting time or losing money, right?

One of the easiest ways of knowing this is by measuring that field/business idea stemming from your passion, against similar businesses in this country and looking at their average profitability benchmarks. 

Industry benchmarks (also known as industry ratios) take all businesses in the same field and look at their revenue (total sales), expenses and profits. Then they create an average as a percentage of sales to come up with what is “normal” for a business in that industry to spend as a percentage of total sales in things to keep their business going (rent, staff, marketing, etc.).  That is, on average, for every $1 generated in sales, these industry benchmarks/ratios tell you the following:

  • what percentage of that dollar should be spent in rent
  • what percentage of that dollar should be spent in staffing/salaries
  • what percentage of that dollar should be spent in marketing
  • what percentage of that dollar should be spent in buying inventory/ingredients/products (also known as Costs of Goods Sold or COGS)

After looking at all the expenses and paying everything and everyone needed to be paid, what is left is the net profit. The higher that number is, the more profitable that industry is – on average. For example, in Canada, the restaurant industry has an average net profit of 4% – that is, for every $1 you sell, you profit, on average, $.04. Of course, you can always make that number bigger if you manage your expenses – or lower if you spend more on things than the recommended averages. 

Opening the right business in Canada takes passion backed up with strategy

Karla and Pepe – the inspiration behind the first business

These benchmarks are created by looking at REAL businesses in Canada, operating in the same industry of whatever your passion is. So right away, you can access real data from real businesses and real numbers. Thankfully, Canada has an extensive database of these benchmarks and make it very easy for anyone to access them. This tool can be super useful to help you make an educated decision and find out the profitability of the business you are thinking of.

Ultimately, you know you want to open a business but don’t know what kind. You have that spark inside of you but the fear of not knowing what or how to do it paralyzes you. I know EXACTLY what that feels like.

That’s why I have created this free download to help you find out WHAT business makes you want to take the leap into Immpreneurship (Immigrant Entrepreneurship). But not only that, this freebie will help you make an educated decision to make sure the business idea you come up with is proven to be profitable according to Canadian statistics. This will help you find out what your passion is first, and then will make you back it up with strategy by looking at real numbers. Eventually, these numbers will also serve as a guideline for managing the expenses of your business. Opening the right business in Canada – or anywhere in the world for that matter – is doable once you realize what you enjoy doing and back it up with how similar businesses in that industry are performing.