I have started a successful small business (a summer camp online) this past summer. I didn't make a business plan and I didn't incorporate. I just found staff, built a website and marketed. It worked and worked well....everyone happy.
First of all, well done for the initiative. Sounds great.
When to incorporate is one of the most common questions I get when working with startups. The answer is not too early, in order to save the fees (mainly yearly reports and accountants), but before you have clients (who can potentially sue you) and before you have created anything of value (because then, when you transfer the intellectual property - IP) to the company, you will incur a tax event.
In this case, and based on the information you provided, you should definitely incorporate because:
1. You have paying clients (which means legal liability) and if they sue (I hope not, but IF), you want them suing the company, and not you personally.
2. You have "staff" - which again, comes with legal liabilities (by the way, best to 'employ' them as freelancers and not employees. Paying freelancers is much less of a headache.
3. You've created intellectual property which should be transferred to the company, and if you do it now, you may still be able to avoid a tax event (the website is worth money, and you're giving to the company - and whenever someone, or a legal entity, gets something of value, the tax authorities ask for a % - like when you get paid your monthly salary). In this case, there is now reporting to the tax authorities, but if you ever sell your business (have an 'exit' event) then the issue might come up.
Bottom line: you should incorporate.
I've successfully helped over 350 entrepreneurs, startups and businesses, and I would be happy to help you. After scheduling a call, please send me some background information so that I can prepare in advance - thus giving you maximum value for your money. Take a look at the great reviews I’ve received: https://clarity.fm/assafben-david
If you are still exploring the viability of this business, then Id suggest that you wait till the business generates its first cheque - or you will be hiring and need to do payroll. On the other hand, if you have the clarity of thought and action, and you are sure abt this opportunity, then there is no need to wait.
Either ways, keep all your receipts as most places allow for a certain amount of "pre-incorporation" expenses to be expensed. Talk to your accountant / auditor about it.
Wishing you the best!
When are you expanding to offer online classes for the materials covered during the camp? How do you get math teachers for kids on a Zoom session to work out cool math problems together? Excited to see where you take this MVP and what it blossoms into!
Here is a simple hack to get started:
Open a WordPress free blog
Describe the courses and student goals there
Advertise this locally, Facebook, manually SMS text people you know
Get a PayPal account
Get students to click it
Once the pay email cones through, manually send them an email to say they gave enrolled and send a PDF if more course work. Email your instructor.
By keeping it all manual at first, you will see if the system works. You can make a fancy website later.
Tools like Skype or Yuuguu or Free Screen Sharing, Online Meetings & Web Conferencing allow tutors to interact with students.
Use free Google docs, forms and spreadsheets for admin and course work
The second thing is how to hire staff who give online classes:
You can find Online Teachers from all over the world in TOTC: theonlineteachersclub.
It’s basically an Online Community for Online Teachers which includes Groups for specific countries. As you say you live in Canada, you’ll be able to network locally with other Online Teachers by joining the Canadian Group.
Two features to look out for while hiring an online teacher are:
1. Reputation- Make sure that the teacher comes from a good teachers’ bureau. This is important as it will work as a quality check.
2. Technicalities- Make sure that the teacher you hire can teach through various apps such as Zoom, Skype, etc. otherwise, they will not be able to teach online efficiently.
I've successfully helped over 150 entrepreneurs, startups, and businesses, and I would be happy to help you. I have created similar online platform for one of my clients in Canda, you can visit https://igotmind.ca for more details. Please send me more information before scheduling a call - so I can give you maximum value for your money. Take a look at the great reviews I’ve received: https://clarity.fm/ripul.chhabra