Nonprofit Guide

Welcome to the Nonprofit Guide.

Use the navigation to explore four sections designed to help you focus your secondary market research.  

This guide will not only help you to become more efficient with your research time but it will also save you money by directing you to reputable sources to learn about your market.  But first, take a deep breath because secondary market research is a journey and it will require work. The definition of a market can vary from a broad industry to a specific market niche.  Also, the geographic scope of your market may vary across a municipality, a region, a country or the globe. In new or emerging markets there may be very little information or data published so you will have to dig and possibly look at comparable, more established markets. This guide will help you to organize your work and prioritize your research questions. We aim to save you time by directing you to the information you can use to make better business decisions. Feel free to jump into whatever section is most applicable to your business goals now.

Related Guides

Categories

Business Models

Getting Started

Start Right

  • Read books related to your industry and business planning
  • Review sample business plans for ideas
  • Find capital

Checklist

  • What does a comparable business or marketing plan look like?
  • Are there books about running a business in this industry?
  • What funding or financing opportunities might be available to me?

 

 

 

Find Books

Need Inspiration? Pick Up A Book!

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This section will introduce several "how-to" books on business to help you get started with your research. These books will primarily introduce you to business plan writing. These books will also introduce general business types such as retail and service business models.

 

 

Find Books Using Relevant Subject Headings

  • Management.
  • Nonprofit -- Canada
  • Nonprofit organizations -- Management.
  • Nonprofit organizations -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Google Books 
Google Books is a search feature offered by Google. It enables users to search the full text of approximately 10 million books that Google has scanned and stored in its digital database. It also offers previews of books that are currently still in print.

Worldcat 
A global catalogue of library collections from various libraries around the world. You can search for books on business planning, new enterprises, start-ups, or your specific industry. You can search for all the locations with copies of a specific item, and then locate the item in a nearby library. In Worldcat, you can also view research articles and other digital content directly online.


Search for an item in libraries near you:
WorldCat.org >>

 

Outlook Online
A search portal to BC's post-secondary and public library collections (93 libraries). 

 

Find Business Plans

Review Sample Plans for Ideas

In the page below you will find examples of successful business plans. Researching your business plan can be a very time-consuming experience, but it is an essential and worthwhile investment. Your business plan will become your most important day to day operating tool. The information resources and strategies in this guide will help you create an effective plan and increase your chances for business success.

Review Sample Plans for Ideas

Most books about starting a business will include examples of business plans, as well as business planning templates. In addition to books, online business resources frequently include sample business plans. Here are a few to get you started.

Business Plans

Bplans.com
This site offers a selection of free sample business plans, as well as articles on business planning. Bplans.com also sells business planning software.

Business Plans Handbook, Gale Publishing
This is a database of actual business plans written by North American entrepreneurs seeking financing for their businesses. Includes examples of many start-up business ideas. Access is available through many BC public libraries, made possible by a generous donation from the Sutherland Foundation. Affiliates of UBC can start here.

Marketing Plans

Mplans.com
This site provides a selection of free sample marketing plans. Mplans also sells marketing plan building software.

Find Capital

In this section you will find links to information on funding for your business. No business can function without money to pay for overhead expenses and production or product costs. It is also unusual for a business founder to have the capital to fully fund their business. The sources in this section will help you consider the best source of funding for your business.

Suggestions for Obtaining Capital

With proper planning and a few resources to guide you on your way, identifying and securing capital to start and grow your business becomes a much smoother and gentler process.

There are several ways to secure the capital needed to fund your business:

  • Government Funding: This is money that the government gives you to fund your business, based on your application to the funding grant. There are other types of government assistance you might wish to explore here: Business Grants and Financing.
  • Personal Savings: This involves saving your money from your current employment to invest in your business.
  • Personal Loans: This option means using your personal credit to secure a loan or using your personal credit card for business expenses.
  • Crowdfunding/Micro-Lending: Crowdfunding and micro-lending are both alternative ways of raising capital that involve having large groups of people pre-buy your product before it is launched or loan you small amounts that you can then use to finance your business.
  • Private Financing/Equity Financing: This types of financing come in the form of loans from banks or individuals. It is obtained through your business’ credit availability or through providing equity in your business in exchange for money. This financing involves going into debt or giving up some control of your business.

Need More?

Funding & Financing Page

Check out this page in the Learn Business Basics section of our site to review a growing list of different ways to raise capital for Canadian businesses. It has many funding resources to explore that fall into the categories above, and well as sections with opportunities specifically for Indigenous, women, and youth entrepreneurs, as well as regional funding opportunities.

Below, we have some resources that can help you find funding options for your business:

Find Industry Info

 Conduct Your Industry Research 

  • Find information specific to your industry to help you succeed
  • Write your industry overview
  • Start your market analysis

Checklist

  • What are NAICS or SIC codes for the nonprofit industry?
  • What are the risks, trends, opportunities and outlooks for the nonprofit/charity industry?
  • What is the forecast for the Canadian nonprofit industry? What trade associations, magazines, agencies and websites are connected with the nonprofit industry?
  • Have there been regulatory or technological changes in the nonprofit industry that could affect my business?

Tip: Make a note of any questions you have, the resources in this section can help you answer these and complete the checklist. For more help, check out our Business Research Basics guide.

Industry Codes

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

At the start of your research, it may not be clear what specific industry you should be examining. A good strategy is to find out if your business idea is classified in an industrial classification system. These systems organize industries by assigning them a numeric code. The most commonly used system is the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  Once you know your Industry Classification Code you can use this number to:

  • Find industry-specific statistics on government websites or in library databases
  • Generate lists of competitors in company directories

Another common classification system is the Standard Industry Code (SIC). NAICS have most replaced the SIC, but the SIC is still used by some commercial databases. Finding and using these classification systems to effectively search can be tricky, so don't hesitate to ask a librarian for help.

Try These

Type Code Description
NAICS 81 Other Services (except Public Administration)
NAICS 813 Religious, Grant-Making, Civic, and Professional and Similar Organizations  
NAICS 8139 Business, Professional, Labour and Other Membership Organizations
NAICS 813210 Grant-Making and Giving Services 
NAICS 813310 Social Advocacy Organizations 
NAICS 813410 Civic and Social Organizations 
NAICS 813910 Business Associations 
NAICS 813990 Other Membership Organizations 
SIC 8699 Membership Organizations
SIC 8399 Social Services

»Search or browse all NAICS or SIC codes on the NAICS Association website. Some NAICS codes are different in Canada, you can search by keyword or browse Canadian NAICS codes at Statistics Canada or Canadian Industry Statistics. To search for a SIC code using a NAICS code and vice-versa use the NAICS & SIC Crosswalks.   

For more information about planning your industry research and industry codes, check out the video tutorial for Module 3: Planning Your Industry Research.

Library Databases

The Expensive World Of Business Information

Believe it or not, you cannot find everything in Google! Have you ever done an online search and found the perfect industry report only to find that it costs over 5K? Did you know that libraries pay for many expensive databases that could be helpful in your secondary market research? Search engines like Google can only provide direct access to freely available information. Most of the web, including business information, lives in databases behind expensive paywalls. This paywall protected section of the internet is known as the deep web. Fortunately, some libraries pay to subscribe to databases so they can provide free access to their patrons - and many business databases can contain useful information such as articles, market research, and company reports.

There are several strategies you can use to access relevant business information on the deep web. First, we urge you to look up what business resources your local public or academic library can provide access to. Each database has its own arrangement, with unique interfaces and search features. It helps to know the structure and search terms of the specific database you are working with in order to retrieve effective results. Also, it is important to know that library databases are restricted by specific usage agreements. It can help to consult with a librarian if you have trouble navigating a specific database. They may also be able to help you find comparable information elsewhere. Libraries with robust business collections might also have useful e-books, directories and trade journals. As you conduct your secondary market research you will likely need to consult both free and deep web resources.

For more information about how and why to use business databases, check out our video tutorial, Module Four: Conducting Your Industry Research.

Business Resources at Academic Libraries 

Colleges and Universities with business programs will have useful business collections you may be able to get access to through their academic library. Often these academic libraries can provide the general public with access to their collections, which include electronic resources like databases and e-books. For example, they could have alumni or community cards, and can provide temporary "guest" passes in certain situations. Contact your local college or university library to see what they can provide. Please note: you probably will not get access to their electronic resources with remote access.

Databases For Industry Research

Business Source Complete
Provides access to journal articles, books and videos related to business, management, economics, banking, finance, and accounting. Use for finding articles, case studies, and company and industry information.

UBC Library Business Databases

How to access: If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you may have access to business databases through the David Lam Management Research Library and Canaccord Learning Commons through the links below.

Full Listing By Title or Full Listing By Subject

There are two different ways to identify databases, use 'by title' if you already know the name. Otherwise, you can use the list 'by subject' to find starting places for doing market research, finding articles or researching companies. To learn more about how you can access library resources if you are a community user or temporary visitor check out the UBC Library Community Users & Visitors Guide. Community users and temporary visitors may have additional access restrictions to specific databases because of license agreements.

Provincial Library Database Partners

How to access:Check out the database list and note the License Participants to find out which institutions have access. Otherwise, contact your local post-secondary library to see what they offer.

BC Electronic Library Network (ELN) Research Databases

ELN licenses databases with partner academic libraries. These include LexisNexis, Canadian Newstand, Hoovers, CBCA Business, ABI/INFORM Complete and others that may be of interest to business researchers.

First Research Industry Profiles

How to access: If you are UBC student, staff, or faculty you can access many of these reports through ABI/INFORM.

Covers over 900 industry segments. Updated on a quarterly basis, these industry profiles contain critical analysis, statistics and forecasts to help you engage key prospects, coach key clients, and deepen customer relationships. You can search for reports by NAICS, SIC or keyword or browse by category.

IBISWorld Industry Reports

How to access: If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you can access this resource.

IBISWorld research is an independent, professional publisher of high-quality market research reports. These reports analyze the underlying structure and external forces that drive an industry.

Newspapers and News Sources - UBC Library Research Guide

How to access: The guide can be viewed through the link below. Individual resources and databases will have different access requirements.

UBC Library has an excellent collection of current and historical newspapers from B.C., Canada, and around the world. UBC affiliates will have access to these resources.

Industry News

In this section we have gathered some of the most popular information sources, such as trade journals, magazines, blogs, and association websites. Industry information is always changing. For the latest news, current issues and popular opinions, try following one or more of these sources. In addition, interacting with the websites that provide this information through commenting and asking questions may also provide you with more information.

Associations

Trade associations often publish free industry newsletters that are excellent sources of information for your business plan. Such newsletters often have articles that cover in-depth topics on business management, manufacturing practices, how-tos, and current industry news.

HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector | Human resources in the nonprofit sector in Canada.

Imagine Canada | Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization whose cause is Canada’s charities and nonprofits. Their nonprofit Library is a great website to assist with the planning and implementation of a nonprofit organization. Start here: Non-profit Newswire from Imagine Canada

Social Enterprise Council of Canada (Enterprising Non-Profits) | The Social Enterprise Council of Canada (SECC) is an alliance of social enterprise leaders who leverage their networks, knowledge and experience in order to build a strong and enabling environment for social enterprise.

Foundation Center | The Foundation Center is a national (US) nonprofit service organization for organized philanthropy. They aim to  connect nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools and information they can use.

National Council of Nonprofits | This US nonprofit network does advocacy and provides an extensive collection of resources for non-profits, also helpful for Canadian based organizations. Start here: Nonprofit Knowledge Matters Archive

Canadian Community Economic Development Network | CCEDNet is a national member-led organization committed to strengthening Canadian communities by creating economic opportunities that enhance social and environmental conditions.

Magazines & Trade Journals

Trade journals (often called magazines or trade publications) can be very useful in helping you find current articles relating to business research. Contact your local research library to determine which trade journal subscriptions they have. There are also free trade publications that you can access online. 

The Philanthropist | Quarterly journal focused on the Canadian philanthropic sector.

Village Vibes | A online newsletter put out by CharityVillage.com. This resource features how-to articles, tips for nonprofits, sector trends, funding sources and much more.

Nonprofit Management & Leadership | A quarterly peer-reviewed journal that publishes quality scholarship on all aspects of management and leadership important to nonprofit organizations and leaders.

Nonprofit World Magazine | Nonprofit World is a bi-monthly magazine - published since 1983 - that provides nonprofit leaders with concise and practical articles whose advice can be easily implemented.

The Nonprofit Times | As The Leading Business Publication for Nonprofit Management, The NonProfit Times, published 24 times a year, will provide you with useful information on the business of managing your nonprofit organization.

Nonprofit Quarterly | Publishes articles on issues that are affecting the non-profit sector. Has been around since 1999 and is based out of Boston, MA.

Blogs

Charity Village | Charity Village contains regularly updated information for News, Human Resources, Management, Communications, Fundraising, Giving, Volunteer Engagement, and Special Reports pertaining to the nonprofit sector.

Social Velocity | Social Velocity has great analysis of nonprofit obstacles and tips for how organizations can change for the better.

Beth's Blog | Beth Kanter is a well-established international nonprofit thought leader. Beth has over 35 years working in the nonprofit sector in technology, training, and capacity building and has facilitated trainings for nonprofits on every continent in the world (except Antarctica). She’s great at sharing her knowledge from the nonprofit sector in easy-to-read, often bite-sized, articles!

NonProfit Pro | NonProfit PRO is the go-to source for nonprofit management and strategy. Developed for thought leaders and innovators, we cover topics ranging from internal issues such human resources, board and volunteer management to technology to tax and legal matters, news and, of course, raising funds.

Wild Apricot Blog | The Wild Apricot blog is about technology for non-profit organizations: how to do more with less; Usability issues; how to properly select and implement technology; and general non-profit industry information.

Consultant Websites

MarketWatch - Industry Analyzer
The Industries section contains current data on Dow Jones Industry Sectors. Aggregate data as well as company-specific data is available.

Vault Industry Profiles
A free source of industry information. Use the Industry Profiles to research news, company information, and industry-specific sample professions. Basic monthly membership is free and offers access to blogs, discussion forums, and job listings.

Social Enterprise Council of Canada
Social Enterprises Council of Canada is a national non-profit member based organization dedicated to support the development and growth of social enterprises across Canada. They run a national conference, and offer a suite of resources useful to social enterprises. They also are connected to individuals and groups across the country with a similar mission.

  • Check out Social Enterprise Council of Canada Community Links page for resources.

Charity Village
Canada's supersite for the nonprofit sector.

Imagine Canada
This a must-use portal into all resources needed for non-profits, offering research insights and strategic advice for non-profits in Canada.

LearnHowToBecome 
This site gives advice on starting a career in a variety of industries.

As with all sources, news articles and blogs should be carefully evaluated. For information on how to evaluate your information, watch video tutorial Module Five: Using Information Responsibly.

Government Websites

In this section we have gathered some of the most reliable freely available online government and employment websites for you to use in your research.

Canadian Websites

WorkBC | Find current employment outlooks, labour market information, relevant links, and a geographic representation of the BC workforce. Start by searching your Industry Profile.

Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada
Provides market research, industry statistics, licensing information for intellectual property, and information about doing business internationally. The Industry Canada site features interactive applications such as customizable trade reports, cost calculators, and online business planning guides. You can also search broad Canadian industry statistics.

The Daily - Statistics Canada
The premier source for Canadian statistical information, including census information. Search 'The Daily' releases by subject to identify corresponding census tables, latest news, and publications. Similarly, you can browse by data source, including surveys & questionnaires relevant to your market research, which also link to census tables, latest news and publications.

Start here: Giving, Volunteering and Participating (GVP) (survey, conducted every 5 years)
Start here: Society & Community (statistics by subject)

Canada Business
Provides resources and information to help Canadians get their businesses going and growing.

US & International Websites

Small Business Administration: Free Small Business Data
This site is created and managed by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) and provides a list of free sources of information that you can use to obtain data about markets in the US.

US Census Bureau: Industry Statistics Portal 
Provides access to high level US Industry overviews and statistics. Searchable by 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code or keyword.

Regulations

Learn More About Compliance Issues

When it comes to starting a business, one of the first decisions you need to make is the legal structure of your business - sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited company. You'll also need to register your business and you'll need to be aware of many municipal, provincial or federal regulations. The websites in this section will help you.

Registered Charity vs. Nonprofit Organization: What's the difference?

This Government of Canada website explains the difference between a registered charity and a nonprofit organization.

Not-for-profit Corporations Act

The Not-for-profit Corporations Act contains the latest regulatory information for nonprofits in Canada.

Operating a federal not-for-profit corporation

This Government of Canada contains all the information required for operating a not-for-profit corporation including by-laws; Canada Corporations Act, Part II; and next steps following incorporation.

Societies Act - British Columbia

Specific legislation and regulations govern how societies (not-for-profit corporations) are created and run in B.C.. The Societies Act was revised and came into affect on November 28, 2016.

Nonprofit Exemption British Columbia

The BC Human Rights Code allows some non-profit groups to make distinctions that would otherwise be discrimination. Generally, a non-profit organization can give preference to members of a group whose interests are being advanced by the organization.

General Business Resources

Small Business BC (SBBC)
SBBC is a great place to start for information on BC specific regulations and guidelines, for whatever stage you are in your business development. This is a great post on the topic.

BizPaL
This is the one-stop website to assist Canadian businesses that are just starting up, or expanding into new areas. BizPaL asks you a short series of questions about the nature and scope of your current or proposed business. Based on your answers, BizPaL provides you with a customized list of government permits and licences that you may require to operate your business. All of the information that you provide is kept anonymous, and you may save or print your results for future reference.

Canada Revenue Agency - Business
This section of the Canadian federal tax agency's website contains important taxation and documentation requirements that businesses operating in Canada must adhere to.

The Province of British Columbia
Provides information on programs and resources available to small business owners in British Columbia. Includes information on taxes and industry regulations. Start with the Permits, Licences & Registrations section.

BC Business Registry
Offers comprehensive information on starting a business in BC, including essential foundational understanding about different categories of business registration and the differences between them.

Start here: OneStop Business Registry
Start here: Permits, Licences & Registration

Start here: Society (non-profit) registry services
Start here: Community Contribution Company (BC Ministry of Finance)

Canada Revenue Agency - Charities
This section of the Canadian federal tax agency's website contains important taxation and documentation requirements that businesses operating in Canada must adhere to.

Start here: Applying for Registration
 

 

Find Competitive Info

  Conduct Your Competitive Research

  • Gather and analyze competitive information
  • Define your competitive edge
  • Use benchmarking tools to create your financial analysis
  • Find competitor information for your own organizational plan

Checklist

  • Who are my direct or indirect competitors? Where are they located?
  • Who are the leading nonprofits in my area?
  • Are there any nonprofits operating in BC that target similar issues?
  • What are my competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and how can I add unique value?

Tip: Make a note of any questions you have, the resources in this section can help you answer these and complete the checklist. For more help, check out our guide to competitive analysis.

 

Tips On Company Research

Company Research Tips

An in-depth investigation and analysis of your competition is one of the most important components of a comprehensive market analysis. A competitive analysis allows you to assess your competitors' strengths and weaknesses in the marketplace, and to implement effective strategies to improve your competitive advantage. Here are some research strategies for doing your competitive analysis:

  • Company directories can be used to create lists of competitors by industry, product line, size, etc.
  • Doing a company name search in a general research database is an excellent way to learn more about your competitor’s products, services, prices, and media coverage.
  • If your competitors are public companies, learn more about them by reading their financials and annual reports.
  • News archives provide a range of competitive information on both public and private companies.
  • Patents are a good way to learn about the technical and design features of a competitor's products. You can refer to this UBC Library Research Guide, created by UBC Engineering Librarians, if you are looking for patent information. Most of the resources listed are freely available.

For information on primary and secondary market research, as well as common sources for secondary market research, watch our video tutorial Module One: Introduction To Market Research.

Finding information on public companies is considerably easier than finding information on privately-held companies. Information on public companies is readily available online, or at your local library. Another good starting point is the list of resources in the next section of this Accelerator Guide: Find Competitors. Unlike public companies, private companies are not required to file with the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR). Searching for private company information is considerably more difficult and will require a lot of patience, and a healthy dose of creativity. 

Find Competitors

Learning About Competitors

To create a list of competitors and find basic information about them (e.g. number of employees, contact information) you will need to consult business directories. Many directories are available online for free, while others are fee-based commercial databases. You can find directories that are particular to an industry or geography. Your local library will likely have a good collection of directories that you can consult in person.

For further information about secondary market research, see our video tutorial Module Two: Secondary Market Research for Industry Analysis.

If you know of some public companies in your industry than annual reports can provide a great deal of useful financial information including sales volume, revenue increases, and total market share. You can search the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR) for Canadian Company filings. If the competitor you are researching does business in the USA than you search the Security and Exchange Commissions equivalent, EDGAR, which provides free public access to corporate information including financial information and operations by reviewing registration statements, prospectuses and periodic reports filed on Forms 10-K and 10-Q. You also can find information about recent corporate events reported on Form 8-K that a company does not have to disclose to investors. You can use advanced search features to search by Standard Industry Classification (SIC) codes.

Business Directories

CharityVillage
Contains an extensive directory of nonprofits in Canada, organized by category.

BC211
Also known as the Red book online, an online directory of organizations and resources (including social, community and government programs) in BC.

Canada Revenue Agency - Charities
This section of the Canadian federal tax agency's website contains important taxation and documentation requirements that businesses operating in Canada must adhere to.

Start here: Charities Directory

B.C. Business Network
The B.C. Business Network is a a dynamic directory of leading B.C. businesses interested in new opportunities and expanding markets. Search companies by keyword or select the sector from the drop down menu to view all companies in a given sector.

Frasers
A comprehensive industrial directory and search tool, with information on products and services provided by Canadian industrial wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors. You can search by product name, company name, or brand name.

ThomasNet
A listing of manufacturers in the US and Canada. Includes links to product catalogs.An excellent free source to research your competitors or find suppliers.

Library Resources

Access to the following sources may be available through your local public or academic library. For information on how to obtain a library card, and for additional information on using libraries in BC, please visit our Getting Access to Library Resources page.

Online maps such as Google Maps or Bing Maps  and popular directories such as Yelp are a fast way to locate nearby competitors, and to get a better sense of the region your business operates within. Try searching for the name of your product or industry and narrowing your results by focusing the map on a specific location, such as a city or neighborhood.

Business in Vancouver, Book of Lists
Comprehensive collection of BC business data compiled annually as the popular BIV Book of Lists. Provides data on over 1000 companies including: websites, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, top executives' names, company age, revenues, profits and much more. UBC affiliates and in-person community researchers can obtain access to a print version (here are details on how to locate it) or you can get your own online subscription

The Blue Book of Canadian Business
Detailed profiles for over 60 Canadian corporations, including missions/values, history, operations, social responsibility and executive biographies. Also contains directory type information for 2,500 Canadian companies, a ranking of the top 500 companies and a list of the top 400 Canadian stocks. UBC affiliates and in-person community researchers can obtain access to a print version of this periodical (here are details on how to locate it at UBC in Vancouver).

Reference Canada
Provides information on more than one million businesses throughout Canada. Includes name, address, phone number, contacts, number of employees, annual sales volumes, line of business, and credit rating. Vancouver Public Library subscribes to this online directory so check with your local library about access.

Attending trade shows is an excellent way to learn more about your competitors. Contact local associations or read trade publications to find out what trade shows are coming to your community.

10Times.com
The largest worldwide online directory of trade fairs, business exhibitions, trade shows, conferences, and seminars for various industries. Search for trade shows by industry, country, date, organizer, or venue.

TSNN.com
Online directory of trade shows, exhibitions, public events, conferences and seminars.  Please note: free registration required.

Proprietary Business Directories

Business in Vancouver, Book of Lists
Comprehensive collection of BC business data compiled annually as the popular BIV Book of Lists. Provides data on over 1000 companies including: websites, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, top executives' names, company age, revenues, profits and much more. UBC affiliates and in-person community researchers can obtain access to a print version (here are details on how to locate it) or you can get your own online subscription

The Blue Book of Canadian Business
Detailed profiles for over 60 Canadian corporations, including missions/values, history, operations, social responsibility and executive biographies. Also contains directory type information for 2,500 Canadian companies, a ranking of the top 500 companies and a list of the top 400 Canadian stocks. UBC affiliates and in-person community researchers can obtain access to a print version of this periodical (here are details on how to locate it at UBC in Vancouver).

Reference Canada
Provides information on more than one million businesses throughout Canada. Includes name, address, phone number, contacts, number of employees, annual sales volumes, line of business, and credit rating. Vancouver Public Library subscribes to this online directory so check with your local library about access.

UBC Library Business Databases

How to access: If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you may have access to business databases through the David Lam Management Research Library and Canaccord Learning Commons through the links below.

Full Listing By Title or Full Listing By Subject

There are two different ways to identify databases, use 'by title' if you already know the name. Otherwise, you can use the list 'by subject' to find starting places for doing market research, finding articles or researching companies. To learn more about how you can access library resources if you are a community user or temporary visitor check out the UBC Library Community Users & Visitors Guide. Community users and temporary visitors may have additional access restrictions to specific databases because of license agreements.

Mergent Online

How to access: If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you can access this resource.

Provides access to US and international public company data. This database also contains data on companies that were acquired, went bankrupt, liquidated or merged out of existence from 1995 forward. Users can compare companies and export data into programs like Excel.  

Mapping Competitors

Online maps such as Google Maps or Bing Maps  and popular directories such as Yelp are a fast way to locate nearby competitors, and to get a better sense of the region your business operates within. Try searching for the name of your product or industry and narrowing your results by focusing the map on a specific location, such as a city or neighborhood.

SimplyAnalytics

This is an Internet-based mapping application that enables users to develop interactive thematic maps and reports using thousands of demographic, business, and marketing data variables. Check your local public or academic library for access. UBC affiliates can learn more and get access.

Trade Shows, Conferences and Learning Events

Charity Village Event Listings

Search for nonprofit events, fundraising events, and nonprofit networking events by postal code and region all across Canada and internationally.

Canadian Economic Development (CED) Conferences and Learning Events

Contains information about conferences and learning events across Canada and internationally.

Attending trade shows is an excellent way to learn more about your competitors. Contact local associations or read trade publications to find out what trade shows are coming to your community.

10Times.com
The largest worldwide online directory of trade fairs, business exhibitions, trade shows, conferences, and seminars for various industries. Search for trade shows by industry, country, date, organizer, or venue.

TSNN.com
Online directory of trade shows, exhibitions, public events, conferences and seminars.  Please note: free registration required.

Find Financial Benchmarks

One thing you will need to do in the financials section of your business plan is discuss how you will price your products and/or services, and how this compares to your competitors. You will need to develop a financial plan that includes your projected revenues and net income. The following resources will help you find financial information on competitors in your industry.

Free Tools For Finding Financial Info

SEDAR
A collection of corporate filings that are required by securities regulators, from companies operating in Canada. This website is an excellent source for information about a company's plans, competitive environment, markets, products, and assets. SEDAR is the Canadian equivalent of EDGAR.

EDGAR
Filings with the US Securities & Exchange Commission by companies listed on US exchanges. 10-K Formsinclude detailed information on company history, structure, financial statements, and other relevant data.

Finding Benchmarks & Ratios

Financial Performance Data (formerly SME Benchmarking Tool)
Tool for benchmarking your financial reports with others in your sector. Website also includes a collection of financial data and annual reports of various Canadian companies. For instructions on using the Financial Performance Data click here. To create a report using Financial Performance data click here.

Ratios are tools that allow you to plan and assess your company's progress over time, and to compare it to other companies in the same industry. There are different kinds of ratios, including operating ratios, financial ratios, performance indicators, and benchmarks.

  • Sector NAICS Code: 813 - Religious, Grant-Making, Civic, and Professional and Similar Organizations
  • Industry NAICS Code: 81321 - Grant-Making and Giving Services

Other relevant industry codes include:

  • 813310 Social Advocacy Organizations
  • 813410 Civic and Social Organizations

Financial Performance Indicators for Canadian Business
Offers current financial ratios by industry, based on data provided by Statistics Canada. The indicators are designed to serve as financial performance benchmarks against which individual firms and industries can be compared. Affiliates of UBC, UNBC, UVic and SFU have access through Abacus Dataverse. If you are visiting, please contact your local library about access.

Proprietary Tools For Finding Financial Info

UBC Company Research Guide
This research guide was created by UBC business librarians. Follow this link to go directly to the section of the guide that features various UBC Library electronic resources that are recommended for searching for financial information on competitors, such as credit rankings, stock prices and invest analyst reports. You can explore the navigation on the right-hand side to find more recommended research sources on the general topic of company research.

Library Resources

Access to the following sources may be available through your local public or academic library. For information on how to obtain a library card, and for additional information on using libraries in BC, please visit our Getting Access to Library Resources page.

Mergent Online

How to access: If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you can access this resource.

Provides access to US and international public company data. This database also contains data on companies that were acquired, went bankrupt, liquidated or merged out of existence from 1995 forward. Users can compare companies and export data into programs like Excel.  

Tools For Calculating Your Own Financials

Market Share & Size

Both market size and market share held by competitors are key factors when assessing the competitive environment. Keep in mind that there is no single source of market size and market share data. Market information is usually pieced together from various sources and is not often readily available for niche or emerging industries. One strategy is to combine a competitor's name or a comparable, established industry with the term market share in article databases or read market research reports. You will need to identify and describe your market – who your customers are and what the demand is for your products and services.

Library Resources

Access to the following sources may be available through your local public or academic library. For information on how to obtain a library card, and for additional information on using libraries in BC, please visit our Getting Access to Library Resources page.

ABI/INFORM Collection

How to access: If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you can access this resource.

Created by ProQuest this database contains full-text articles from over 1,000 business magazines and journals that track business conditions, trends, management techniques, corporate strategies, and industry-specific topics.

Business Source Ultimate

How to access: If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you can access this resource. Otherwise, contact your local library to see if they provide access.

Includes financial data, books, videos, company profiles, SWOT analyses, industry profiles, country reports, market research reports and case studies.  Also includes information on industry trends, forecasts, outlooks, competitors, how to run a specific business and much more.

eMarketer

How to access: If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you can access this resource. Or, contact your local public or academic library for their access details.

Global market research and trend analysis database that focuses on Internet, e-business, online marketing, media, and emerging technologies. Contact your local public or academic library for their access details.

UBC Library Business Databases

How to access: If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you may have access to business databases through the David Lam Management Research Library and Canaccord Learning Commons through the links below.

Full Listing By Title or Full Listing By Subject

There are two different ways to identify databases, use 'by title' if you already know the name. Otherwise, you can use the list 'by subject' to find starting places for doing market research, finding articles or researching companies. To learn more about how you can access library resources if you are a community user or temporary visitor check out the UBC Library Community Users & Visitors Guide. Community users and temporary visitors may have additional access restrictions to specific databases because of license agreements.


IBISWorld Industry Reports

How to access: If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you can access this resource.

IBISWorld research is an independent, professional publisher of high-quality market research reports. These reports analyze the underlying structure and external forces that drive an industry.

Try Primary Research

The main point of this guide is to introduce you to a wide range of secondary market research resources but keep in mind there is great value in analyzing other information including:

  • Advertising, blogs and sales brochures
  • Your personal network and employees
  • Direct observation and interviews

 

 

Find Customer Info

 Conduct Your Customer Research 

  • Create your customer analysis
  • Identify your target customers
  • Demonstrate how your products and services satisfy your customers' needs

Checklist

  • Who is going to use or receive my services?
  • What is the future outlook of my target market (developing issues?)
  • What do people donate towards specific charities / nonprofits?
  • What is demographic data and how can it help me research my customers?
  • How can I effectively spread a message to stakeholders?

Tip: Make a note of any questions you have, the resources in this section can help you answer these and complete the checklist. For more help, check out our guide to business research basics.

Demographic Data

The resources listed in this section will help you identify population characteristics, and help you develop your customer profile. This research will also help you identify geographic areas where the largest number of your potential customers live. This can be very useful when determining a location for your business, and also when formulating your marketing strategy. Don't forget that trade associations and trade journals collect information about customers and can be great information sources for this area of your research.

Community Information Database (CID) - Government of Canada’s Rural Secretariat
The Community Information Database (CID) is a free internet-based resource that provides access to socio-economic and demographic data for all communities across Canada. Sample data includes: population, education, income, employment, families, and much more. The CID also includes an interactive map for displaying and accessing data. Learn more in the FAQs and the Community Information Database (CID) Tutorials

2016 Canadian Household Spending  - Statistics Canada
This table provides statistical information about household expenditures by Canadians broken down into a variety of categories. You can refine the table by region. You can view the full list of data tables from the 2016 census here

Socio-Economic Profiles - BC Stats
The socio-economic profiles consist of charts and tables for the various regional districts, health areas, college regions and school districts. Each region contains a map, demographic profile, economic hardship, labour market structure, education concerns, crime, health problems, children at risk, and youth at risk. The profiles are presented in a format that allows comparison to other regions in the province and to BC overall.

Census Profile - Statistics Canada
Provides Canadian community profiles from the latest Census of Canada. These profiles are very useful for comparing statistics on different municipalities or regional districts. Includes details on family characteristics, primary language, mobility, educational attainment, marital status, labour force activity, earnings, and mode of transportation to work.

Find latest data from the 2016 Census

Search type

 

Thanks to Catie Sahadath at the University of Ottawa Libraries for building this widget.

 

Library Resources

Access to the following sources may be available through your local public or academic library. For information on how to obtain a library card, and for additional information on using libraries in BC, please visit our Getting Access to Library Resources page.

Canadian Advertising Rates and Data (CARD)
Advertising rates and related data on significant Canadian and international media. Use this resource to obtain statistics on the subscriber population for a particular publication that serves your target market. May be available online through your local academic or public library. Very little information is available for free but you can find more information about CARDonline here. UBC 

PCensus
Provides access to detailed Canadian demographic information including population, income, and spending levels by province, city, or postal code. PCensus can also generate custom reports using Census data. Contact Vancouver Public Library or your local research library to obtain access.

Your Target Market

Survey of Household Spending - Statistics Canada
Raw data in table form from the Survey of Household Spending (SHS). Report includes detailed information on Canadian spending patterns, household equipment, and housing conditions. Also includes the ability to view data from British Columbia only; click on "Add/Remove Data".

  • The Survey of Household Spending found that in Canada the average spent on gifts of money, support payments and charitable contributions in a household has increased from 2011 to 2015.

Library Resources

Access to the following sources may be available through your local public or academic library. For information on how to obtain a library card, and for additional information on using libraries in BC, please visit our Getting Access to Library Resources page.

Vividata (formerly "Print Measurement Bureau")
Includes information on Canadians' usage of over 3500 products and services. Information includes demographics, attitudes, media consumption, retail outlets, frequency of usage and brands used. UBC affiliates and in-person library patrons can learn more about the resource here.

Marketresearch.com/Freedonia Focus

How to access: Check your local public or academic library to see about access. If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you can access this resource.

While you can search this website only some Canadian libraries provide full-text access to the market research reports on industries and demographics for North American industries. They can range from 50 to 400+ pages in length, and contain charts, tables, and graphs, and key facts. Marketresearch.com has varied industry coverage and includes US and international information.

  • Start here: Packaged Facts. (2008). Generational Market Research Bundle: Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y. Retrieved from Marketresearch.com Academic database.
  • Start here: Packaged Facts. (2008). Holiday Spending in the U.S.: Spending on Gifts and Charity. Retrieved from Marketresearch.com Academic database.

UBC Psychology Research Guide

Sometimes it can be useful when researching consumer behaviour and other marketing topics with psychological dimensions to consult article databases in that research area. This is an online guide to print and online resources about psychology in the UBC Library collection. UBC affiliates will have access to all the resources listed. 

Public Opinion Polls

Roper Center for Public Opinion
Preserves the data from polls conducted by many leading survey organizations for the use of researchers, students, and journalists. Includes a section on how to analyze polls. Only for those affiliated with UBC.

Ipsos
Links to Canadian, U.S. and international polls. Includes polls on consumer goods.

Primary Research

Sometimes doing your own market research is the only way to learn about your potential customers. If this is the case, you may need to conduct focus groups, interviews, surveys, or some other form of data collection. But before you commit time and energy to this kind of research, be sure to try the sources listed in this section.