Market Research

Market research is the process of gathering and analyzing as much information as possible about your customers, the industry, and your competitors.

Before starting your business, or when launching a new a product or service, you need to determine if there is a demand for what you’re offering.  Conducting market research is an important step in determining your target customers and how best to reach them through your marketing and promotional efforts. It will help you understand your competitors and uncover key industry trends that could affect demand for your product or service.

Market research can provide you with data that can enable you to make informed decisions about your business and help put your business in the best position to succeed.

There are two types of market research, Primary Research and Secondary Research:

Primary Research - Information that you that obtain directly from the source – your current or potential customers. Examples include customer surveys, observation, focus groups, and website analytics.

Secondary Research - Involves gathering information from secondary sources, such as government statistics, trade publications, articles, studies and the internet.

Whether starting a new venture, or making ongoing decisions about your business, conducting market research will help you stay on top of trends impacting your industry, as well as help you identify new and/or improved products and services that could meet the needs of your customers.

The Innovation Canada has prepared a comprehensive guide to market research, including a list of additional resources for Canadian businesses.  This guide is intended to help you better understand market research and its importance. It provides information on how to conduct a market research project, specifying several options that are available to you regardless of your market research budget.

Canada Business Ontario, a division of the Canada Business Network, provides a free secondary market research service that can help you start or expand a small business.  The search may take up to 7 days and you may need to speak with a CBO Information Officer to access the service. Visit the web site to learn more.

The Small Business Centre has provided a listing of Market Research Tools is available online here.

We have also provided a guide to conducting your Market Research Survey. Click here to view the guide.

If you need help with your market research contact an Advisor at the Centre for assistance. Complete a Request for Service Form and a Business Advisor will connect with you as soon as possible.

Financial Performance Data

This online tool created by Industry Canada, provides access to more than 1000 industries across Canada, including more than 30 performance benchmarks to help small businesses determine how they measure up to their competitors. Whether you are putting together a formal business plan or seeking to make an operational decision, the Financial Performance Data can provide insight on the operations of similar small and medium-sized businesses in your industry.

Click here for guidelines on how to use the tool.

A Business Advisor at the Small Business Centre can provide additional assistance in using the tool and interpreting the data for your business.  

Complete a Request for Service Form and a Business Advisor will connect with you as soon as possible.