Starting or Expanding a Business
Are you considering starting or expanding your business in Kneehill County? There are key steps that every entrepreneur and business should undertake to achieve success. Numerous local agencies and organizations are in place to help navigate those steps and provide support throughout the business development process.
The Economic Development Department is your one-stop contact for business-related inquires and supports. For further assistance, contact:
Kevin Gannon Community Services Director
- 1. Pre-planning
- 2. Market Research
- 3. Business Plan Development
- 4. Site Selection
- 5. Permits & Licenses
1. PRE-PLANNING is the first step in starting a new business. This is your "lightbulb" moment when your idea is formed. When deciding if you want to turn that idea into a business, remember to answer these important questions:
- What problem am I trying to solve and who are my competitors in that space?
- Will there be enough interest in my product or services to generate the profit required to make the time and effort I am putting into the business worthwhile?
- Do I have the necessary finances available to cover my initial expenses like product development, permits, licenses, marketing etc.?
- Starting a business requires a huge time commitment, am I willing to sacrifice my time to make this idea a reality?
- What are my goals and vision for this business?
- Strategizer: Business Model Canvas (you will be prompted to create an account to use the tool)
- Business Link: Small Business Start-up Guide
- Community Futures Wild Rose: Business Startup Consulting
2. MARKET RESEARCH is key in ensuring your business concept is sound. Through market research, you learn more about your target market, competitors and industry trends. Further, this information will assist you in finding your niche in the market. Prior to starting your research, make sure to identify the NAICS Code that best represents your business.
3. Have a BUSINESS PLAN in place at the beginning of the process. This document outlines your business idea and describes the activities, objectives, plans, goals and vision of your business. This document is a requirement if you intend to obtain financing for your startup or expansion.
Business Planning Tools:
- Business Link: Interactive Business Planner
- Community Futures Wild Rose: Business Plan Development
- BDC Business Plan Template
- Your financial institute will likely have a template available to assist in your business plan development
4. SITE SELECTION. Many factors define the ideal location to open a business. Access to primary transportation routes, available servicing, zoning, utility providers and costs all affect the viability of a site. The Kneehill County Economic Development Department can assist you in locating a suitable property for your business venture as well as make connections with local realtors and landowners.
To verify what regulations may apply to your selected property, ensure you contact Kneehill County Planning and Development early in your planning process.
Site Selection Tools:
5. REGULATORY PERMITS, LICENSES & REGISTRATIONS may be required Locally, Provincially and Federally for your business. Starting this process early is key in avoiding costly delays in opening your business.
LOCAL PERMITS & LICENSES:
In Kneehill County, Land Use Bylaw 1808 regulates and defines business development within the County. Through this Bylaw, most businesses are required to obtain local approvals prior to beginning operation. To determine what permits and licences you will require, contact the Planning & Development Department early in your planning process. These approvals may include but are not exclusive of the following:
Business Licenses: Non-residents wanting to do business in Kneehill County or for a mobile business for a resident and/or non-resident may be required to obtain a business license.
Development Permits: All commercial/industrial businesses in Kneehill County requires a Development or Home Occupation Permit to undertake operations. Further, any business that is carrying out any construction, excavation, stockpiling or other operation, in, on, over, or under land, or the making of any change in the use or intensity of use of any land or building either permanently or temporarily require a development permit.
Home Occupation Permit: Any individual that is intending to operate a business out of their dwelling, or out of an accessory building on their property, is required to obtain either a Home Occupation Permit or a Development Permit, dependant on the intensity of the operation. Kneehill County Planning and Development staff will assist in determining the appropriate permit.
Land Use Redesignation (Zoning): Dependant on the nature and intensity of your business operation and the current zoning of your property, you may be required to redesignate the land use of your property to a more suitable zone.
Safety Codes Permits: Any construction, alteration, repair, relocation, demolition or change of use of a building requires Safety Codes Permits in compliance with the Alberta Building Code. "Change of use" includes any building that is being changed from private access to public access.
Detailed information on Kneehill County's Planning & Development requirements can be found here!
PROVINCIAL PERMITS & LICENSES:
Alberta Health Services: AHS regulates all businesses with public access including those with a food component, personal services, social and health care services, recreation facilities, events, accommodations, playgrounds, education, and public housing. Check online or contact your local Environmental Health Inspector to determine what regulations apply to your business and determine what permits you may require. The Economic Development Department can assist you in contacting the Inspector for your specific location.
Business License: In Alberta, some businesses such as Auctioneers, Home Inspections, and Door to Door Sales require Provincial Business Licenses. Review the list online to determine if your business is included in this requirement.
Alberta Environment & Parks: According to the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), you must obtain approval for certain land, water, and air projects.
Alberta Transportation: Policies, guidelines, and permit requirements for development next to Alberta roads and highways.
FEDERAL PERMITS & LICENSES: