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Deciding on a Business Structure

business people colaborating

6 types of business structures

Choose to operate 1 of 6 types of business structures. The type of structure you choose for your business determines liability and tax implications and succession planning.

  1. Sole proprietorship. To operate the business on your own, either under a business name or your own name
  2. Partnership. To operate the business with one or more partners
  3. Corporation. To operate the business as a separate legal entity, separate from yourself and your personal assets.
  4. Society. To operate a not-for-profit organization, in which any funds or profits will be used only for the society's purposes
  5. Co-operative. To operate a business that is owned and democratically controlled by the people who use and benefit from your services
  6. Social Enterprise. To operate a business that benefits the community and has limited investor returns within the context of a traditional for-profit company

Choosing a business structure

It is best to research each of the business types to find the structure that suits your needs best. Use the following resources to get started:

  • Small Business BC gives you pros and cons of each business type.
  • BC Registry Services provides information on the types of business structures.
  • One Stop Business Registry is a one-stop shop to get information on the types of business structure, get a name approved and register your business.
  • Canada Business provides information on which type of business structure is suitable for your business.

If you’re uncertain about which structure is right for your business, a lawyer or an accountant can help you choose.