Series 2 Business Planning. Sources of Market Research Information

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1 Series 2 Business Planning Sources of Market Research Information

2 PART 1 What is Market Research? Market research is a process of gathering information. It allows you to forecast what level of sales your new product/service will generate, at what profit and how best to optimize the sales. If you did not do any research you would not know whether you were developing a product/service that was already on the market, whether there is a demand for your product/service or if the product/service could be profitable. On the other hand, if research indicated that a product/service met a certain need and could be produced and sold for profit, there could be a potential demand for your product/service idea. Some questions to consider while conducting market research are listed below: - What do you plan to sell a product or service? - What need does the product or service meet? - How does it meet that need? - Who needs this product or service? - How many people will buy this product or service? - What advantages does this product have over other similar products? - What price will customers pay for the product or service and how often will they buy it? - Can it be produced at a profit? Outline What follows in this pamphlet is a small collection of information that shows sources of market research as well as where to look for it. Market research can be a specialized field and is the topic of numerous graduate business school courses. In this guide we can only give you an overview. Remember that anything you can find will help you. In this guide, we start with a list of what our office has available, and then we include information from provincial and federal government sources. We also have Self-Counsel Press book on market research available in our office. Introduction Market research is the key to starting-up and running a successful business. By researching your industry (customers and competitors), analyzing the information you gather and using it to develop a business plan you will minimize the risks of doing business and maximize the potential for success. Market research is not difficult but it can lead you to re-think you business idea. For this reason, it s important to keep an open mind as you gather information. Your market research may indicate your business idea is not feasible but it may also lead you to an idea that will succeed. At the Enterprise Centre we have a number of print and electronic information sources that will help with your market research. Staff is also available should you need any help finding information. The following is a list of research sources available at the office.

3 Competition/Customers Print Sources Business and Industry Magazines and Trade Journals Canadian Trade Index Fraser s Canadian Trade Directory Ontario Business Directory Scott s Directories Telephone Directories Stats-Can Market Research Handbook Stats-Can Spending Patterns in Canada Stats-Can Canada Year Book 2006 Electronic Sources Stats-Can Market Research Handbook Stats-Can Spending Patterns in Canada Various Business How to Guides Market Research Sources of Data How to collect Data: - Observation - Focus Groups - Survey - Experiments - Data collected by you - Web-stats - Directories - Stats Can - Trade journals - Other s Primary - Data collected by others Credible Starting Points: - Government agencies - Trade associations - Advocacy groups - Reference/Adult libraries - Recommended websites

4 1. Accuracy of Web Documents Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her? What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced? Is this person qualified to write this document? Basics Make sure author provides or a contact address/phone number. Know the distinction between author and Webmaster. 2. Authority of Web Documents Who published the document and is it separate from the "Webmaster?" Check the domain of the document, what institution publishes this document? Does the publisher list his or her qualifications? Basics What credentials are listed for the authors)? Where is the document published? Check URL domain. 3. Objectivity of Web Documents What goals/objectives does this page meet? How detailed is the information? What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author? Basics Determine if page is a mask for advertising; if so information might be biased. View any Web page as you would an infomercial on television. Ask yourself why was this written and for whom? 4. Currency of Web Documents When was it produced? When was it updated' How up-to-date are the links (if any)? Basics How many dead links are on the page? Are the links current or updated regularly? Is the information on the page outdated?

5 5. Coverage of the Web Documents Are the links (if any) evaluated and do they complement the documents' theme? Is it all images or a balance of text and images? Is the information presented cited correctly? Basics If page requires special software to view the information, how much are you missing if you don't have the software? Is it free or is there a fee, to obtain the information? Is there an option for text only, or frames, or a suggested browser for better viewing? Market research for web-based businesses can be performed using various tools on the web. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a major form of web-based market research (How to get people to find your site, while searching for related info using search engines like Google). A major component to this research is the source coding of the website. You can organize this to enhance marketability, while generating useful and valuable data. These are useful E-Business resources: (info on e-biz) (website diagnostic tools) (Listing of useful web tools) (Important checklist for E-Biz) On-Line Statistics Statistical Profile of Canadian Communities (Statistics Canada) NOTE: The.pdf documents Market Research Handbook and Consumer Expenditures are available through Stats-Can and are very useful. Ontario Economic Development Niagara Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) Economic Development and Tourism Services

6 FedStats - Majority of information free with multiple hyperlinks to USA governmental agencies with pdf publications STAT-USA - Limited information free with inexpensive subscription Business Industry Performance Small Business Profiles (Performance Plus) Key Business Ratios on the Web (D&B) Current Industry Reports (CIR)/US Census Canadian Industry Statistics (Strategis) Business Directories Associations Canada and Canadian Almanac & Directory (Canada) Business to Business Sales & Marketing Directory (Ontario) St. Catharines On-line Business Directory Niagara Region Business Directory Reference Canada InfoUSA

7 InfoCanada Business-to-Business Directory (Library, and SBECs) Canadian Trade Index Fraser's Canadian Trade Directory Thomas Register of American Manufacturers EUROPAGES Products & Services Legal Information Canada Ontario Business Service Centre (COBSC) Laws of Canada and Ontario (Statutes and Regulations) Legal Line (Legal Information Ontario) A free NPO dedicated to providing Ontarians with easy to understand legal information (416) BusinessLaw.gov - Provides legal and regulatory information to America's small businesses. - Site also acts as a gateway to federal, state and local information that affects small businesses. Trademark, Copyright, and Patent Information Canadian Intellectual Property Office - U.S. Patent and Trademark Office -

8 PART 2 Market Research for Your Business Need more information? Click: Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre Call: Visit: visit our Regional Access Program Locations web site to locate an office near you 1. Getting Started 2. Marketing Your Business 3. Tools and Resources 4. Online Resources 5. Other Resources 1. Getting Started It is essential that you know who your customers are, what they need or want, and how to reach them. You should have solid understanding of these if you are going to run a successful business. Finding the information you need to determine your marketing plan can involve two types of research, primary and/or secondary. Primary market research is undertaken by, or for, companies and entrepreneurs for their own purposes. It consists of information collected from potential customers through surveys, interviews, focus groups, direct observation, field-testing and any other method that provides first-hand data. The purpose of primary research is to obtain information about customer attitudes, preferences, buying habits, tastes and behaviour - information that is not otherwise available. Secondary market research involves searching existing information, such as demographic data and industrial statistics that has already been collected and possibly analyzed by public or private agencies. The COBSC has a variety of resources that can help you with some of the first steps in researching the market for your product or service. Listed below are some of the resources that COBSC can provide to help you in the first steps of starting your business.

9 Business Start-Up Info-Guide Critical Assessment Factors for New Products Store Location - "Little Things" Mean a Lot Can You Make Money With Your Idea or Invention Starting Your Market Research Potential business clients, who are serious about starting a business are, for the most part, in the process of developing their business plans and will need to demonstrate that there is, indeed, a potential market for their product or service. Existing business people may also require market information to ensure that they can serve clients by: remaining current with trends keeping ahead of their competitors seeking out new markets. 2. Marketing Your Business What is marketing, and why is it so important? Many people consider marketing to be the promotion, advertising and all the selling techniques used to get someone to buy a product. However marketing is much more. In order to effectively market your product or service, you will need a solid marketing approach, budget, plan, and strategy. How do I begin to formulate my marketing approach? A marketing approach to business begins with the needs of the customer and involves designing the entire enterprise around fulfilling those needs. Decisions about the product's design, sales outlets, the price, the service level and where to advertise are made with a solid understanding of who the customer is and what they are looking for. visit these web sites: Online Small Business Workshop Business Start Up Assistant on Marketing

10 How do I create a marketing plan? A marketing plan is designed to direct company activities towards the satisfaction of customer needs; determine what the customer wants, develop a product/service to meet those needs, get the product/service to the end user and communicate with the customerat a profit! visit the web site: Preparing a Marketing Plan see the document: Marketing Plan Outline How do I approach my marketing strategy? And how do I budget my marketing successfully? The marketing budget and strategy deserves careful consideration, because it not only serves to create market impressions, but also is expected to generate revenues. Understanding the kinds of impacts that can be expected from the various print and electronic media will help to manage this element of business expense. An important precaution is to understand that each market segment may react differently to the way that a promotional message is presented. You need to ensure that your company message is getting to the correct target audience without adversely affecting your company image. There are several different mediums through which you can promote your company. Print and Graphic Arts media, such as business cards, newspapers, magazines, brochures, posters, business directories (such as your local phone book), and packaging is an important outlet for promoting your company to your target audience and the public at large. Another extremely important advertising medium is electronic media, such as radio, television, and the Internet. Networking and Word of Mouth referrals are also an effective way promote your company and to reduce out of pocket costs and cultivate a clientele. The valued opinion of influential customers is the most important and cost effective promotion that a business can develop. Markets never buy anything; only customers buy products and services. Community involvement expands the personal network of contacts and marketing intelligence; however, this should be the by-product of genuine interest in the community. Special promotions and events can be made to work in concert with any one or a combination of the above methods. This can be in the form of door prizes, Welcome Wagon gifts, free passes, free coffee, or even honouring a competitor's coupons.

11 Since most media have a range of light, medium and heavy users, the challenge your business will be to anticipate your customer's needs in terms of typical behaviour patterns in human nature. Each media has a variety of strengths and weaknesses to consider. In some market situations a dollar spent on the print media can out pull a dollar spent in the electronic media and vice versa. see the document: Ways to Promote Your Product or Service. 3. Tools and Resources Researching your market is an important step in the creation of your business plan. The following is a list of databases that are useful for market and statistical research, these resources can be used to compile information about your industry as well as market segments and company/association contacts. Online Databases Online Database Tools are web-based resources that can provide entrepreneurs with information and resources for their marketing strategy. The Canada Ontario Business Service Centre (COBSC) provides its Regional Access Partner sites across Ontario with access to online databases to help entrepreneurs meet their information needs. The services of partner organizations (known as Regional Access Sites) are geared towards assisting those interested in starting a new business or expanding an existing business. please call visit the web site Regional Access Program Locations web site Online databases are available at COBSC Regional Access Partner sites, some of the resources include: Business & Company Resource Centre Through the centre, business owners can gather research on: company details industry news research reports consumer marketing data acquisitions & mergers international trade emerging technologies & products local & regional business trends.

12 CBCA CBCA provides information on a wide variety of business topics including companies, industries and business people, it can also be used to locate consumer interest topics. Canadian Business Disc The Canadian Business disk helps business owners find information on a specific company, companies in a type of business or companies in a geographic area to locate suppliers or generate leads. RDS Business Reference Suite RDS Business Reference Suite is a subscription based service that provides access to entrepreneurs with business information on statistics such as market size, market share, sales, and industry trends. Canadian Business and Current Affairs Canadian Business and Current Affairs provides indexing to more than 200,000 articles per year appearing in over 500 Canadian popular magazines and business periodicals, as well as eight daily newspapers. CBCA Fulltext provides coverage of a wide range of company, product, and industry information. Company Contacts The COBSC can also provide business people with a listing of company contact resources. See the document Specialized Research Service Thomas Register Thomas Register is used primarily for sourcing - to locate product suppliers, wholesalers, and distributors. Used as well to generate sales leads or identify potential partners or competitors. Scott's Online Find information about Canadian manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and business services providers. Scott's Directories online includes 115,000 companies and 210,000 executives and provides access to addresses, SIC codes, phone and fax numbers, Canada postal codes, addresses, executive names and titles, and product description.

13 Stat-USA STAT - USA /Internet, a service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is a single point of access to business, trade, and economic information from across the Federal Government. Library Resources The COBSC Library Resources are a collection of print resources that can assist entrepreneurs with their business information needs. These resources compliment a number of online and print resources available at each Regional Access Program office. please call visit the web site: Regional Access Program Locations web site Market research resources available through Regional Access Sites include: Market Research Handbook This publication contains information from the Canadian Census about statistics, demographics, standards of living and economic information about Canada. For entrepreneurs conducting market research, the handbook helps locate target markets, track market share, and assess competition. Market Research Made Easy This publication takes you step by step through planning, implementing, and analyzing market research for your company. Spending Patterns in Canada This publication presents statistical highlights and key tables from the Survey of Household Spending (SHS). This annual survey collects information about expenditures by households and families in Canada on a wide variety of goods and services. Business Plans Handbook Volumes 1-4 The handbook is a collection of business plans compiled by actual entrepreneurs seeking funding for small businesses throughout North America. Preparing a Successful Business Plan This publication takes entrepreneurs through the business planning process, and includes examples and sample business plans.

14 Definitive Guides for Small Business The Royal Bank of Canada offers free online publications that cover some of the most common challenges of business ownership. The marketing guide topics include: Understanding your customer What's special about your business? The marketing toolkit Defining your marketing strategy Implementing your action plan Your marketing plan workbook visit the web site: Definitive Guides for Small Business-Marketing COBSC Specialized Research Service COBSC Information Officers are able to provide limited Specialized Research Service for clients on certain business topics. This service is provided in order to better answer client business enquires as they relate to Market Research. We can provide single copies of data from secondary resources on specific demographic variables such as population, age, family / household, dwellings, education, language, ethnicity, labour force / occupation / employment and income, as well as consumer expenditure, for specific levels of geography in Ontario (neighbourhood, city, Census Agglomeration (CA), Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), county, province). please call visit the web site: Regional Access Program Locations web site 4. Online Resources Part of a successful business plan is the market research and a solid marketing plan, below are listed some online resources that can a help you in creating a business plan. The Interactive Business Planner (the IBP) The COBSC offers Interactive Business Planner (the IBP), which is a computer software program that uses the capabilities of the Internet to assist you in preparing a 3-year business plan for a new or existing business.

15 please call see the document Interactive Business Planner (IBP) Online Small Business Workshop (OSBW) The Online Small Business Workshop is a Web-based workshop designed to provide you with techniques for developing your business idea, starting a new venture and improving your existing small business. The marketing sessions of the workshop take you through the basics of market research and acts as a primer for creating a marketing strategy for your business. see the document Online Small Business Workshop - OSBW The Business Start-up Assistant (BSA) The BSA is a one-stop site for useful and authoritative information for launching a business in Canada. It combines information and resources on the basics of market research for starting a business in Ontario, including marketing plans, statistical sources and publications from the federal, provincial and territorial governments, the community and many other sources. please call or (416) visit the web site: Business Start Up Assistant on Marketing see the document: Business Start-Up Assistant (BSA) Steps to Competitiveness Strategis offers the "Steps to Competitiveness". The marketing section of this site contains a diagnostic of your marketing activities and some recommendations as to where your enterprise should be heading In terms of its marketing strategy. visit these web sites: Steps to Competitiveness - Step 6: Marketing Steps to Competitiveness - Strategic Marketing 5. Other Resources Statistics Canada Small Business Quarterly

16 Market Research World Wide Web Resources: A Selection of Other Internet Resources in Market Research Market Research: Guide to Library Research York University Link to Market Data Marketing Research Guide Country and Market Information Related Reading Library Resources Specialized Research Service Market Research List of Fact Sheets Business Start-Up Info-Guide DISCLAIMER Information contained in this document is of a general nature only and is not intended to constitute advice for any specific fact situation. Users concerned about the reliability of the information should consult directly with the source, or seek legal counsel. Links Policy Some of the hypertext links lead to non-federal government sites which are not subject to the Official Languages Act and the material is available in one language only. PART 3 Guide to Market Research and Analysis Summary Successful businesses have extensive knowledge about their customers and their competitors. Getting accurate and specific information about your customers and competitors is a critical first step in market investigation and development of a marketing plan. Accurate market assessment and development of an effective plan is critical to the success of both new and existing businesses. The market impacts and directs all aspects of the company's activities and ultimately will lead to success or failure of the business. In developing a market plan, your primary functions are to understand the needs and desires of your customer select or develop a product or service that will meet customer

17 needs, develop promotional material that will make the customer aware, and ensure product or service delivery. Market Analysis Who is your customer? Knowledge of the customer enables you to determine the market size and what determines their buying decision. It provides information that will help you choose a location, determine the product or services to offer, establish pricing, and plan a selling strategy. Key issues to consider are: Who will buy your product? Primary and secondary target groups. Where does the buyer live and what is their profile? What factors influence the decision to buy? Who is involved in the purchase decision? How often will buyers buy? Where do they buy, when and how much do they buy? What are the buyer's preferences and needs? Are customers loyal? Can long-term relationships be built? What product or service are you selling? An important aspect of market analysis is to ensure that the product or service meets the market (customer) needs. Product or service focus must be the customer. Issues to address are: Specifications of all your products and or services and key features relative to what prospective buyers in your target market say they need. Comparison with competitors and how customers perceive your product relative to others available. What are the current trends, what stage of maturity is the product life cycle at? What regulations apply to your product or service? What packaging is required? Who is your competition? Are there competitors that exist now and what new competitors are likely to enter the market? How will your product or service compare and what is the probable reaction of your competitors once you enter the market? Issues to consider are:

18 Who are your major competitors? What share of the market do they have? What are their strengths and weaknesses (e.g. quality, price, service, payment terms, location, reputation, etc.)? How do you compare to your competitors and how will they react to your entry into the market? What factors could increase or reduce your competition? What is your target market? Accurate identification and analysis of the target market enables you to develop an effective overall marketing strategy. The information will help in determining business size (output requirements), distribution channels, pricing, promotion strategy, and other marketing decisions. Target market issues include: What is the overall market size? Number of potential customers and physical boundaries? Which segment of the market is the most attractive in terms of future growth potential, ease of entry, competition, profit potential, and overall risk? How do products generally get to the customer? What is the current dollar value or quantity of product/service being sold into each segment of the market? What social, technical, environmental or economic changes are taking place within the market and how will they impact sales? What are your distribution channels? There are many options for moving your product to the customer such as direct retail, wholesale, consignment, broker etc. The method of distribution has important implications affecting your pricing structure, advertising message, cash flow, etc. You should choose the distribution method best suited for your product and where you want to be positioned in the marketplace. Key issues are: What methods of distribution are best suited for your product? What methods of distribution do your competitors use? What are the costs relative to market coverage? Does your level of available capital or production capacities restrict your choice of distribution methods? Are there ownership opportunities in the supply chain?

19 Pricing The goal is to maximize profits while remaining competitive in the marketplace. Pricing can be based on either the cost price or market price (What will the market pay?). Regardless of the pricing method used, it is critical to know all of your costs involved in delivery of your product or service to avoid possible underpricing and operating losses. If the market will not support a price level sufficient to cover cost, you will have to investigate whether costs can be lowered or else, it may be necessary to abandon your plans to proceed. Issues to consider are: What control do you have over the product price (e.g. exclusive product, no competition, high market demand, etc.)? What are competitor prices and how do they price their products? What price and sales volume are needed to achieve profit objectives? Can you sell your product at different prices to different markets? Can you maintain your prices over time and what do you expect to happen to competitors' prices? Are your prices quantity-sensitive? Promotion and Selling Promotion of your product or service and development of a promotion strategy is part of the market analysis. It is important to analyze what are the best methods of making your customer aware and what message will motivate them to buy. From the promotion strategy the advertising budget and overall sales plan are then developed. Items to consider are: What media of advertising and sales do your competitors use? What media of advertising is best suited to reach your customer? Primary and secondary media. (e.g. Primary newspaper and radio; Secondary flyers and trade shows). What sales tools and training will your staff need? What image are you trying to build through your promotion? Packaging? Note: While customer service, in-store display and merchandising are not part of the market analysis; they are an important part of the business image and promotion package. Ongoing attention should be given to these areas for maximum promotional benefit and so that the desired image is portrayed.

20 Primary/Secondary Data Sources Primary data is the information you get through your own efforts or by hiring someone and can include observation, surveying, and experimentation. Secondary data consists of information which has been gathered by someone else and is relevant to the venture you want to establish. Examples of sources and types include: Canada Business service centre in your region Statistics Canada Canada Post Local, Municipal, Provincial, and Federal Government Departments and Agencies Business and Industry Associations / Trade Publications / Periodicals Business and Industry Trade Shows and Exhibitions Local Public, Business, and Educational Institution Libraries Business and Popular Press Business Professional Services, e.g. Accountants, Lawyers, Consultants, Insurance Brokers, Financial Institutions Business and Educational Seminars / Courses, etc. Other Business People / Known Acquaintances / Competition / Internet When researching your business idea, it is important to do as thorough a search for information as possible. It is also recommended to do as much of it as you can on your own. This will help you to know the market for your idea better, and can help to keep the costs down at the start. Once this initial research is done, you may then feel the need to contract professional services to collect additional information for you, or to verify the information you have collected so far. The information you have gathered yourself can form an important base of information from which a consultant can work from, and as well, will allow you to identify more specifically what you want them to do for you, particularly when there will be costs associated with their services. Source: U.S Small Business Administration Prepared by: Saskatchewan Regional Economic and Co-operative Development

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