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Small Business Resources for Secondary Research

Secondary research is generally conducted by looking at data that has already been collected by other researchers. Secondary business research may involve collecting information from government reports, magazines, trade associations, industry specific blogs and business support organizations. Here are a few small business resources to get you started.

General Resources

Small Business BC – BC’s primary source of business information. You’ll find seminars, success stories, business trends and much more.

UBC Small Business Accelerator – an initiative of the I.K. Barber Learning Centre, the SBA features a step-by-step research guidebusiness videos as well as industry accelerator guides packed with resources tailored to your industry.

News Sources

Magazines and newspapers are a great source of information on current issues and trends in your region and/or industry. Below you will find a selection of resources for general business research. Check with your local librarian to find additional publications specific to your industry.

Canadian Business – monthly magazine covering Canadian market trends, business strategies and tools. Some content is available online.

Business in Vancouver – a great source of weekly local business news. Some content available online.

Canada Newswire – search this site for cutting-edge industry news.

Marketwired – find daily press releases and social media releases from companies throughout Canada.

Springwise – presents the latest innovative entrepreneurial ideas from around the globe.

Industry Research

Strategis Industry Canada – a comprehensive source of both Canadian and international business information and statistics.

BC WorkFutures – search this site for employment projections and the geographic distribution of BC’s workforce.

BC Agri-food Knowledge Platform – this site includes step-by-step small business assistance and advice for entrepreneurs in the food and agriculture industry.

Competitor Information

Directories, trade associations and industry specific magazines and blogs are excellent resources for researching the competition.

Canadian Companies Capabilities – this database compiled by Industry Canada includes more than 60,000 Canadian businesses.

Frasers – directory of Canadian industrial wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors.

SME Benchmarking Tool –  provides income statements and balance sheet data for small to medium sized businesses in Canada. Useful for estimating operating costs for a new business and comparing your financial performance against industry averages.

Business in Vancouver, Book of Lists This collection provides information on over 1000 companies in Vancouver. Note: this resource is only available in print. Visit the Vancouver Public Library to access it.

Customer Information

Statistics Canada – your primary source for Canadian statistics. Enter a postal code on the Community Profiles page to access demographic data for your region.

BC Stats – find regional statistics and labour market information here.

Trendwatching.com – one of the world’s leading trend firms, offers insights and updates on all the latest international trends.

Tools for Primary Research

Primary research is the research is data collected directly from potential customers through surveys, tests or observation.

Surveys & Questionnaires

SurveyMonkey –  free online survey and questionnaire tool.

Zoomerang – online survey software.

Test Marketing Opportunities

Granville Island Day Vendor

BC Association of Farmers’ Markets

Portobello West Fashion and Art Market

Tools for Writing a Small Business Plan

Once you have completed your research you are ready to write your business plan. Below are a few websites and small business resources that provide samples and assistance for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Small Business BC has tips on writing a business plan.

Bplans – over 500 sample business plans.

Gale Business Plan Handbook – new handbooks are released every year, providing hundreds of sample business plans. Note: this is an online resource, but must be accessed through your public library.