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profit from e-business


Shows that e-commerce makes it possible to make a profit without engaging in expensive or complicated activities. Those new to e-commerce will find information and tools to help them start their virtual business. Part of the Ontario Electronic Commerce Toolkit.

This guide has been designed for informational purposes only. It does not constitute advice of a legal, technical, commercial or other nature and should not be interpreted as such. If you have any questions about the topics covered in this guide, we recommend that you speak to a lawyer or other professional advisor. The Government of Ontario does not endorse any of the commercial products, processes or services mentioned in this guide or any producer or supplier of such products, processes or services. Further, the Government of Ontario makes no express or implied warranties or legal responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or usefulness of the information contained in this guide, including links to other servers. All urls mentioned in this document lead to an external website.


We do electronic business when we use Internet technology in the pursuit of business. As will be seen by reading the elements of the guide, not all e-business activities need to be complex or costly to produce results. Small businesses new to e-business will find information and start-up tools here. Success stories in e-business are featured throughout this guide. It also contains a glossary of terms commonly used on the Internet.

What financial resources are at my disposal for the development of e-business?

How can I learn more about the products and services of other companies?

How do you find and work with e-business service providers?

How to overcome the difficulties in launching e-business?

How do you reduce the risks associated with information privacy, security and legal issues?

How do I create my own website?

How do I install a live ordering module on my website?

How can I use internet advertising, social media and mobile technology to market my business?

How do I integrate e-business solutions into my business?

Defining e-business

What is e-business?

There is more to pursuing e-business (or e-business) than just building a website. We do business electronically when we use Internet technology to facilitate the conduct of business. Sometimes we talk more about electronic commerce or e-commerce. In this guide, e-commerce refers to the buying and selling of products and services on the web, while e-business is used to refer to a wider range of e-activities.

Why should I care about e-business?

The use of e-business can:

Improve services and access to customers beyond the local market.

Promote your business inexpensively.

Structure your administrative processes (eg using administration software).

Provide quick access to a business network.

Allow you to compare products and prices to find interesting opportunities.

Lower costs associated with business operations.

Allow you to keep pace with your competition. Many businesses are using e-business in one form or another.

Improve your visibility and facilitate access to your business for your customers and suppliers.

Allow you to communicate or conclude transactions remotely.

Businesses use e-business to …

Communicate internally.

Structure their activities.

Promote their business.

Interact with their existing and prospective customers.

Find business information.

Hire employees and contractors.

Buy and sell products and services online to customers or distributors.

Establish and track shipping schedules.

Do online banking transactions.

Do online bookkeeping.

Access government programs and services.

In short: can we afford to ignore it?

According to statistics, more and more use is made of electronic business. The vast majority of businesses and homes in Canada have Internet access.

In Canada, 96% of all small businesses have a website that they use to do business.

About one-third of small businesses that have a website use them to make online sales.

Over 70% of small businesses shop online.

37% of smartphone users make purchases through e-commerce.

The value of e-commerce retail in Canada doubled between 2005 and 2010.

In Brief Sources: Industry Canada; Statistics Canada


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