Want to start a business in B.C.? These local industries are booming right now

Products mentioned
B.C. business thought-starters

Now that we’ve settled into a new normal, it might be a great time to look at what it would take to start a business in B.C. When consumer spending increases again, a well-run business in a growth sector would be a great investment that could bring you freedom down the road.

Real estate

My first suggestion for starting a business in B.C. is real estate.

While the B.C. real estate market took an initial hard hit in March 2020, it rebounded in a big way. B.C. home prices are expected to grow 7.7 by the end of 2020 and B.C. realtors are expecting to sell more houses in 2020 than they did in 2019.

Over recent months, the B.C. real estate market has hit highs not seen in 40 years.


Starting a business in real estate can mean an increase in income once you’re past the first year. Many find real estate the perfect fit, even with the pandemic-era changes,

Related: How to become a real estate agent in Canada

Creative fields

Overhead View of Person SketchingDespite the downturn that 2020 has brought, long-run projections for the creative industry in B.C. are strong.

The demand for entertainment media while we’re at home is surging in many areas. Canadians have watched more YouTube videos and Netflix shows than ever.

This suggests there could be growth opportunities in starting your own YouTube channel or getting into the TV or movie industries that are based out of Vancouver.

Indie content is particularly appealing because it often involves smaller crews and casts with contained sets and locations.

If you’re not the type of creative to put yourself in front of people, you might consider offering online courses that teach creative skills like writing, illustration or calligraphy.

More people are taking courses online in 2020, and the trend looks set to continue on that trajectory. I’ve had a number of people approach my web design business about building membership sites in the last few months.

Fitness-related businesses

My final suggestion for those who want to start a business in B.C. is fitness.
Around my house, the lockdown was a blessing in the fitness department. Yes, my wife was out of work, but that meant we both had more time to run, while still getting to see our kids.

Every single personal trainer I know has done great business over 2020 as they moved to outside or online classes.

Even better, in the Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island, we have decent enough weather that you can continue to meet outside almost year-round. My Thursday running group is more likely to miss a smoke-filled morning in August than a rain or snow-covered run in January.

My wife and I even participated in several online-only running events throughout the summer, with some local running event companies I know posting record profits in the midst of a year with no live races.

Training plans can be given out online, and personal coaching sessions can be delivered via video calls, making fitness an activity that weathered all the issues of 2020 well.

personal trainer kneeling next to male doing pushups
Photo: Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

But, what does it take to start a business in B.C?

Two of the B.C. startup options we’ve talked about today are a relatively low investment financially.

  • When my wife got her personal trainer’s certificate, the cost was about $1,000.
  • Getting your Real Estate licence is more expensive at around $3,800.
  • Anything related to videography is probably the most expensive type of business to start, given the equipment needs.
  • Offering online courses is probably the least expensive of all four.

All of those costs pale in comparison to needing to rent commercial space or purchase an inventory though.

Starting a business in B.C. checklist

The first step is always to make sure that you’re up for running a business. Over the 12 years, I’ve been helping people with websites, there have been bad months that strained everything.

Are you the type of person that has a generally positive outlook when things get tough? If that’s you, we can get down to the steps you have to take to operate in B.C.

1. Choose your business structure

You’ll need to decide which business structure works best for you. For most starting as a sole proprietor or partnership will work great. Others will need to look at becoming a corporation or cooperative, depending on their business goals.

Man looking at wall with papers tacked to it

2. Pick a great business name

Choosing a good business name can be hard, but we’ve got a couple of business name generators we like that you can use.

Once you have a name, it’s time to register your business so that you have all your government paperwork filled out.

Once you’ve registered your business, talk to an accountant about registering for PST (provincial sales tax) and GST (goods and services tax) so that you can charge PST or GST to your customers.

3. Write a business plan

Next, you’ll need to look at developing a business plan and getting financing for your new business. If you’re going with a low-cost business, maybe you can skip the financing part.

I landed my first big web development client and used the deposit to purchase the computer I needed to finish the project.

Many businesses can be self-financed if you take it a bit slower and are thoughtful about your purchases.

4. Put your business online

Outside of getting any special registration for your industry, like a real estate licence or personal trainer’s certificate, the only thing left is to get your business online. A business website is the first step in carrying out the marketing plan you put together when you did your business plan.

Editor’s note: Once you’ve settled on which business to start in B.C., put your venture online with Websites + Marketing. It’s fast, easy and free.

Seek out the opportunities

While 2020 has been a challenging year for some businesses, there are a few sectors that look pretty promising for those who want to start a business in B.C. Take a look at the ideas here and then work through setting up your own business in B.C.

Image by: Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash