Counting the Costs: Small Business Start Up Expenses

Last time, I chatted about diving into the unknowns of launching a small business. This time around, I’m sharing my own story, a couple of things that worked in my favor, and a financial aspect I forgot to mention earlier about doing business in Canada.

The Name Game

But first things first—why “Daptl”? What’s the deal with that name?
Honestly? Nothing in particular. When operating a sole proprietorship, there is no requirement to have a name. You can just operate under your personal name. In fact, in Nova Scotia at least, if you are operating in such a manner, there is not even a requirement to register as a business.

Source: Atlantic Canada Business Grants

But I had my own plans and thought a separate name would be nice to have. Something to separate my personal life and finances from my professional, as much as possible under the legal structure of sole proprietorships.  Here’s what I wanted from a name:

  1. Short and memorable
  2. Easy to say
  3. Not already taken as a .com

So, like anyone else, I Googled “business name generator,” tried a few, and got “Daptl.” It ticked all the boxes and I kinda liked it.

The Last (For Now) Financial Factor

One thing I totally forgot to mention earlier, and you should definitely discuss with an accountant, is the Canadian tax scene, specifically, whether you need an HST number or not. The rules of if you need to register, and when, are defined at the Canada Revenue Agency. But again, this is accountant territory from the get-go.

My Secret Weapons

So, having been a tech enthusiast for ages, I have some advantages when it came to servers, apps, and websites. I wanted a site, but I already have what’s called a VPS (Virtual Private Server) with SSD Nodes, several in fact. As an aside, that’s a referral link and I get a little something if you sign up with them through it.

On these, I’m running Docker, hosting a handful of small sites, as well as my email server.

The advantage? I didn’t have to pay for web hosting or emails. I can handle that myself. But that does mean I’m diving into the nuts and bolts more. For now, though, these are the geeky bits that I enjoy.

Show Me the Money

Alright, cost time! Of course totals depend on the choices you make.

Locking in a Name

Because I was aiming for a name distinct from my personal one, the first step was to conduct a name search through the registry of joint stocks. This helped determine its availability and ensured it wasn’t too similar to an existing business. It’s worth mentioning that, unlike corporations, a sole proprietorship in Nova Scotia can’t have a generic name. It needs to be related to the type of business you intend to operate—no conglomerates for sole proprietorships! In the end, “Daptl Software Consulting” became the official moniker for my venture. The cost for this name search, including taxes, amounted to $61.05.

Getting It on Paper

Once they give you the thumbs up on the name, it’s yours for 90 days. If you go ahead and register it, the initial registration, as well as yearly renewals will cost you about $68.55.

Putting a Face to It

For an online presence, I chose WordPress (free to install yourself), but I needed a logo too—for social media, business cards, etc. While I strongly support the idea of promoting local talent, I had to consider financial limitations. Quality logos and web designs often come at a significant cost, which I recognize as a worthwhile investment, but initial finances are limited. I opted for a pragmatic route by setting a budget on Fiverr. There, I connected with a designer who skillfully created a logo that aligned with my vision. This culminated in an expenditure of $27.17 for the final logo design.


Continuing on: the next step was tackling website design. Although Fiverr provided several possibilities, their price points surpassed what I felt at ease investing in an endeavour that may ultimately come to nothing. This prompted me to explore ThemeForest following a Google search. There, I came across a WordPress theme that caught my eye and offered room for personalization. Full disclosure, I possess some coding skills, which enabled me to fine-tune the theme according to my preferences. The chosen theme came at a cost of $100.40, converted from USD via PayPal.

Leaving a Mark

Business Cards

Old school or not, I wanted business cards, logo and all. I decided upon Vista Print and got myself 100 basic cards for $43.92.

Claiming Your Spot

Having a website is all well and good, but it’s like having a house with no address. So, I purchased for two years at $76.41, including domain name protection. Basically, that protection keeps my personal info from being out there for all to see, thanks to something called WHOIS. Think of domain registration like renting a mailbox—your website’s home address.

Ringing In

The final addition to my checklist was securing a dedicated phone number. I opted for a VOIP (Voice over IP) service offered by It’s incredibly budget-friendly—initially setting me back $20, along with $3 HST in USD ($32.61 Canadian), on a prepaid basis, and this is likely to sustain me for approximately six months or longer.

So, summing up, that’s the financial snapshot of how I kickstarted this venture. The hopeful notion is that I can potentially write these expenses off as legitimate business expenses. Nevertheless, it’s an aspect that requires thorough scrutiny from an accountant.

Two More Things

Before we wrap things up, I’ve got a couple of points that slipped my mind:

Firstly, if you’re running a small business from your home, you might be eligible to claim certain expenses. This also applies if you’re working from home in general. Now, I must admit, I haven’t been on top of that myself (oops), so I’m not an expert in this area. But, of course, that’s where the accountants come into play.

Secondly, I’ve taken a shot at managing my own bookkeeping. It’s been a while since I’ve done this. To handle it, I’ve turned to a free tool called Wave. They make money of course, it’s not ad supported, rather they have premium add-ons like advisers and payroll. Alternatively, you could consider using QuickBooks. I don’t have any affiliation with, or endorse, either, just sharing what I’m using and know of.

Bottom Line

I hope this has given you some useful insights. When you tally it all up, I’ve spent $410.11 up to this point. I know, it’s not pocket change. Crossing our fingers that this investment turns out to be worth it in the end!

Founder & Principal at Daptl | | Website | + posts

Nova Scotia-based software developer with a rich history in entrepreneurship and technology. In the year 2000, embarked on a collaborative journey to automate statistical data gathering for a hockey pool, which later evolved into a thriving business focused on curating sports statistics.

Through strategic contracting in various sectors, including telecommunications and insurance, contributed to the growth of the startup, eventually expanding it to a significant enterprise with over 100 employees and worldwide affiliates.

Now, in the phase of semi-retirement, founded 'Daptl' to explore new contracting opportunities, adding another chapter to an already impressive career.

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