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NOC Code: NOC Code: 4163 Occupation: Small Business Counsellors
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Small business counsellors offer advice to individuals and groups who are seeking to start up, expand or refocus a small business. They offer services relating to developing and monitoring business plans, including the dimensions of marketing, sales and financing. They are employed by governmental or community organizations or are self-employed. Small business counsellors offer advice to individuals and groups who are seeking to start up, expand or refocus a small business. They offer services relating to developing and monitoring business plans, including the dimensions of marketing, sales and financing. They are employed by governmental or community organizations or are self-employed.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3 4


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read reminders, e.g. read reminders to learn the times of upcoming meetings. (1)
  • Read text in a variety of forms, e.g. read text in application forms and licenses to learn about business operations. (2)
  • Read letters, e.g. read letters to learn about clients' requests and information about business plans. (2)
  • Read business magazines and newspapers to learn about trends in the economy, business financing and entrepreneurship. (3)
  • Read instructions and procedures, e.g. read instructions to learn about the installation and use of financial planning software. (3)
  • Read promotional materials, e.g. read marketing materials to learn how firms promote themselves and their products and services. (3)
  • Read research reports, economic forecasts and marketing studies, e.g. read reports from the Conference Board of Canada to learn about the short- and medium-term economic and profitability outlooks for the retail sector. (4)
  • Read business and marketing plans, e.g. read business plans to learn about a firm's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. (4)
  • Read contracts, e.g. read contracts between clients and suppliers to determine obligations, such as the terms and conditions of long term leases. (4)
  • Read criteria and guidelines, e.g. read criteria to determine a client's eligibility to access small business grants. (4)
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Writing
  • Write reminders and short notes, e.g. write reminders to record the tasks to be completed before future meetings with clients. (1)
  • Write case notes, e.g. write case notes to summarize activities undertaken with clients and their outcomes. (2)
  • Write messages, e.g. write email messages to clients to provide updates about the work completed and tasks remaining. (2)
  • Write contracts and letters of agreement outlining contractual obligations between yourself and clients. (3)
  • Write reports, e.g. write reports that provide an analysis of a client's business opportunities and threats and outlines recommendations. (4)
  • Write training materials for courses on entrepreneurship. (4)
  • Write promotional materials, e.g. write text for brochures to promote the firm's products and services. (4)
  • Write articles for magazines, newspapers, marketing materials or brochures, giving the latest trends in small business development or tips for financing a business. (4)
  • Edit and write business documents, e.g. write narrative sections of proposals and business plans for use by financiers which succinctly outline strategies and opportunities. (4)
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Document Use
  • Locate data, such as dates, locations, inventory turns, times, quantities and sales, in sales summaries and reports. (2)
  • Locate data in charts, e.g. study critical path charts created using project management software to learn about the order of tasks and the deadlines of project activities. (2)
  • Interpret planograms, e.g. study planograms to determine the dimensions and set up of product displays. (3)
  • Study scale drawings, e.g. study the floor plans of retail establishments to determine traffic flows and the appropriate placement of displays and merchandise. (3)
  • Locate data on graphs, e.g. scan bar and pie charts to locate data, such as sales completed and market shares achieved. (3)
  • Locate data in complex tables, e.g. locate codes, dates, locations, values, revenues and expenses in ledgers and financial statements. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Operate hand-held devices, such as calculators, to complete numerical tasks. (1)
  • Operate electronic office equipment, such as printers, scanners, fax machines, copiers and postage meters. (1)
  • Use communication software to manage job tasks and schedule meetings. (2)
  • Use databases to input and access information about clients and create mailing lists. (2)
  • Use communication software to exchange email and attachments with clients, financiers and colleagues. (2)
  • Use the Internet to download and submit business forms. (2)
  • Use the Internet to access blogs and web forums where you seek and offer advice to other business professionals. (2)
  • Use Internet browsers to conduct research and access online trade publications to stay current on industry trends and practices. (2)
  • Use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software to generate sales summaries and income and expense statements. (2)
  • Use graphics software to edit and create slideshows for use during sales presentations and meetings with financiers, such as banks. (2)
  • Use advanced features of word processing programs to create business plans that include tables, graphs and indexes created in other software applications. (3)
  • Use advanced features of spreadsheet software to create budgets spanning three or more years. (3)
  • Use advanced features of spreadsheet software to collect, analyze and graph financial information. (3)
  • Use advanced features of spreadsheet software to create probabilistic financial models, e.g. use features, such as 'what if' scenarios, to forecast profitability under various economic conditions. (3)
  • Use advanced features of project management software to record activities, establish timelines, schedule activities, balance workloads and print reports. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Provide instructions to office staff, e.g. ask office assistants to print a set of reports. (1)
  • Exchange information with potential clients, e.g. provide information about the services provided and answer questions about rates and fees. (2)
  • Complete sales calls, e.g. call prospective clients to discuss their need for business consulting services. (2)
  • Speak with suppliers, e.g. speak with suppliers about the products and services they offer. (2)
  • Exchange technical information with colleagues and other professionals, e.g. speak with lawyers about a client's patents and licensing agreements and with bankers to learn more about the criteria for bank loans. (3)
  • Exchange information with clients, e.g. discuss new ideas for business ventures, provide feedback on business plans and discuss strategies to decrease costs and improve revenues. (3)
  • Present to large groups, e.g. present information to gatherings at a Chambers of Commerce to promote sound business practices and your services. (4)
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Money Math
  • Calculate invoice amounts and verify totals. Calculate the direct costs of labour, professional fees, materials, supplies and permits and include provisions for profit and applicable taxes. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Measure the length of time it takes clients to serve customers and complete financial transactions. (1)
  • Create and modify project schedules to ensure the timely, orderly and efficient completion of projects. (3)
  • Prepare sales and inventory reports and calculate labour costs and gross margins on sales. (3)
  • Prepare budgets and cash flow projections, e.g. forecast monthly expenditures and revenues for business plans and company expansions. (4)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Take measurements from scale drawings to assess the suitability of a facility for a particular kind of business. (2)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare labour costs and gross profit margins of a business to industry averages. (1)
  • Analyze financial data to determine turns, product demand and sales by category. (2)
  • Calculate performance indicators, such as average sales per hour, sales per employee and sales per store. (2)
  • Analyze statistics from client surveys and other forms of research to draw conclusions about a firm's products and services. (3)
  • Analyze financial data, such as returns on investment, debt ratios and gross margins, to establish the financial health of a business. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the startup costs of a business when giving general advice to a client. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Small business counsellors organize their own schedule, subject to general guidance from supervisors, where applicable. They determine the timelines appropriate to accomplish various jobs and they juggle tasks to ensure that the highest priorities are addressed first. They respond to interruptions that may occur throughout the day from walk-in clients or from phone calls that require immediate follow-up. Their job task planning and organizing takes into account the need to feed into deadlines set elsewhere. For instance, if a client has an appointment with a bank manager about a business loan, or with a realtor about a building lease, it is important for the counsellors to meet with the client first to provide information or advice, if the client so desires. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Decide on the type and amount of research needed to establish whether markets are available for potential new products and businesses. (2)
  • Decide which clients to work with. Base the decision of factors, such as the needs of the client, the scope of operations and the business sector you operate within. (2)
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Problem Solving
  • Discover you cannot meet deadlines. Set priorities, mobilize resources and negotiate with clients to extend deadlines. (2)
  • Encounter dissatisfied clients. Speak with the clients about their concerns and attempt to negotiate resolutions by changing the approaches and modifying timelines. (2)
  • Encounter errors and omissions in business documents, such as income statements, provided by clients. Work with clients and bookkeepers to improve accounting practices and recommend the use of business and accounting software applications to streamline their operations and improve the accuracy of reports. (3)
  • Encounter clients with unrealistic expectations, such as doubling sales without increasing marketing budgets. Speak with clients about their expectations and offer insight into the practices of successful business owners. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Learn about businesses' threats and opportunities by speaking with colleagues and other business professions and by reading business plans, economic forecasts and consumer trend research. (3)
  • Learn about a firm's products through physical inspection, by reading promotional materials, such as brochures, and by speaking with clients, staff and customers. (3)
  • Learn about a client's business practices by reading financial statements, policy manuals and comments collected from customers and by speaking with clients, staff and customers. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate a firm's business practices. Consider factors, such as the quality of financial reports, staff satisfaction levels, use of standardized policies and procedures, safety records and their profitability compared to those of similar businesses. (3)
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of various business and marketing strategies for a client. Consider the client's experience and expectations for growth, the business sector they operate within and the financial resources available for operations, such as staffing and marketing. (4)
  • Evaluate the value proposition of a firm's products and services. Consider factors, such as quality, warranties, price points and product distribution. (4)
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