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Entrepreneurship - researching a business plan

0. Getting started with researching your business plan

Report salient elements from this section to the dashboard on the first page of the Business Plan Worksheet, also available as file you can edit.


1. Understanding your business, its business model and its industry

Before you start searching, think about your business and its industry.

  • Locate the relevant trade associations as you can usually find interesting business information from them. Go to their website and look for publications, press releases, press kits (or any information for the public), annual reports, trade shows, lawsuits, white papers, directories, interviews, newsletters…
    1. Use Associations Canada, a book (http://clues.concordia.ca/record=b1460736~S0), kept at the Reference Desk at the Concordia Library, that is a “phone book” for trade associations
    2. Try also looking for them via Google by searching for your industry name with the terms “association” and “Canada”

Report salient elements from this section to the dashboard on the first page of the Business Plan Worksheet, also available as file you can edit.


2. Company & industry information

You can find financial and industry reports from the following systems:

Report salient elements from this section to the dashboard on the first page of the Business Plan Worksheet, also available as file you can edit.


3. Business Directories: find competitors, clients, suppliers, market leaders

The goal of this section is to identify the various important companies in your industry. Not only can you visit their website, but you can also find articles about them, as we will describe below in the step dealing with articles.

Here are some Company directories we provide at the library. For each of these, record the names of interesting companies, perhaps the largest in terms of sales or employees or the closest ones to your target location.

  1. Mergent Intellect (formerly D&B Million Dollar Database) (covers most industries in Canada) use advanced search to search for NAICS Code
  2. iCRIQ: covers manufacturing & wholesale in Canada
  3. Canadian Company Capabilities: from Industry Canada
  4. Yellow Pages) or Canada 411
  5. Others listed here: http://clues.concordia.ca/search~S0/h?SEARCH=Business+Directories

Direct link to the video for this step

Report salient elements from this section to the dashboard on the first page of the Business Plan Worksheet, also available as file you can edit.


4. Find government information: Google Advanced Search

The first thing you should do is search Industry Canada's Canadian Industry Statistics to lookup your industry.

Search for government information, particularly if you require a licence to operate your business. Because there is a lot of government information on the Free Web, use Google’s Advanced Search. Use the “Site/Domain” filter on the Advanced Search screen to limit your results to government website.

The table below provides examples of specific domains for Canadian government entities. 

Government Level Example of “Site/domain” Tip
Municipal .ville.montreal.qc.ca Look for “Montréal en statistiques” page for information for boroughs
Provincial .gouv.qc.ca The province deals with mainly: health, education, welfare, culture, agriculture/food…
Federal .gc.ca Always check for reports from Industry Canada at site:.ic.gc.ca
International un.org or other agency Agencies affiliated with the United Nations have their own website

Report salient elements from this section to the dashboard on the first page of the Business Plan Worksheet, also available as file you can edit.


5. Market & consumer data
  • Passport by Euromonitor: Worldwide consumer market reports (includes Canada). Two things to click on in this system, you can watch the video below for a walk-through:
    1. Countries & Consumers > Consumer Trends & Lifestyles > ANALYSIS FINDER > Consumer Lifestyles > Chile
    2. Search > Browse and Select Relevant Topics > Choose Geographies > Reports & Statistics

More market and consumer databases are listed here: http://clues.concordia.ca/search~S0/h?SEARCH=Business+Market+and+Consumer+Data

Report salient elements from this section to the dashboard on the first page of the Business Plan Worksheet, also available as file you can edit.


6. Statistic Canada: Census, National household survey & and CANSIM

Our national statistical agency provides most of its reports and data for free from their website www.statcan.gc.ca. Although you may search for these from the main page, it is recommended that you use the two aggregate data reporting tools as part of the Census and CANSIM.

  • CANSIM: All other StatCan datasets: household spending; retail trade sales; labour force survey; Neighbourhood income and demographics; family income; NAICS Statistics – click ADD REMOUVE DATA

Report salient elements from this section to the dashboard on the first page of the Business Plan Worksheet, also available as file you can edit.


7. Special activity: calculate your market share

The market share is the ratio of the size of your business compared to its industry (which is driven by geographical limitations). Usually, you can use your total revenue (or estimation from SME Benchmarking – see step 2) and calculate the total market size using data from Statistic Canada’s CANSIM.

Market share = Total revenues (from SME Benchmarking in step 2) / Total market size (from CANSIM from step 6, search: NAICS statistics)

Report salient elements from this section to the dashboard on the first page of the Business Plan Worksheet, also available as file you can edit.


8. News and articles

At this point, you already have many relevant elements for your project. If you are missing elements, use articles from our article databases. Think about your subject: (1) industry (use NAICS, watch out for jargon); (2) trade associations; (3) market leaders and major competitors; or (4) subject term. 

Use the Dashboard of the Business Plan Worksheet for keywords, leads or ideas. 

Here are the various article databases:

  • Eureka: French Language newspapers from Montréal and Europe

Report salient elements from this section to the dashboard on the first page of the Business Plan Worksheet, also available as file you can edit.


9. Getting research help from the library

To get help, please use the Ask-A-Librarian service to chat, email or talk to a librarian. When you contact us, make sure to specify the following:

  1. Tell us about your project (e.g. the course you are doing the project for);
  2. The NAICS Code or information about your industry or business;
  3. Which system you are having issues with.

Please be precise and provide all relevant information!

Report salient elements from this section to the dashboard on the first page of the Business Plan Worksheet, also available as file you can edit.

~ Good luck! Remember, perfect information does not exist, use what you find, a smart estimate is better than nothing! ~

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