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THE BUSINESS RESEARCHER NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES

June 25, 2001 Volume 4, Number 6

 CONTENTS

* Introduction - Editor's Comments

* What's New at www.gdsourcing.ca

* Statistics Canada releases

* Target your sales

* Where do we go from here

* Small Business Stats Facts

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INTRODUCTION - EDITOR'S COMMENTS

 

Hello,

Welcome to this issue of the BR Newsletter.

Summer has finally arrived! Hurrah! We will give it a few weeks before we start complaining about the heat and humidity! Just kidding.

The response to the latest issue of Researching a Small Business 2001 has been phenomenal especially from Business Development Centres across the country. We would like to thank everyone who patiently waited until we got our paper copies back from the printers. All orders will now be shipped within two business days. Of course on-line copies can be downloaded immediately. The cost for all 676 pages is only $35.00 electronic and $65.00 paper. For more information or to place an order please see our web site: http://www.gdsourcing.ca/gdstart.htm

The Statistics Canada publication we are featuring over the next few weeks is:

Annual Demographic Statistics - 2000 (including estimates & projections)

This publication provides the most recent population estimates and projections to 2005 by age group and sex, plus data on births, deaths, migrations and other demographic components. The data is grouped by province and territory, census metropolitan area and census division.

It is the authoritative source on demographic projections in Canada.

Included with the publication is a CD-ROM which contains historical information and projections. These time series can be easily manipulated to create customized demographic analysis in any spreadsheet program. The population figures can be used to calculate per-capita rates for market research, quantitative analysis and planning.

This publication was released April 2001

We are currently offering a 20% discount off the cover price.

Statistics Canada Price: $125.00

GDSourcing Price: $100.00

To place an order fax us at 905-332-3740 or order from our home page: http://www.gdsourcing.ca

We offer a 15% discount on all other Statistics Canada publications and a 10% on electronic products. Contact us for details on other publications. (contact@gdsourcing.com)

Finally, we are conducting a readership poll (see article below). After four years we think it is time to take stock of the newsletter. Let us know what you would like to see in the BR Newsletter. The short survey (7 questions) is available on-line at: http://www.gdsourcing.ca/survey.htm

Thank you for your subscription.

I hope you find this issue helpful.

John White

Editor, BRN

 

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WHAT'S NEW AT www.gdsourcing.ca - TRUCK ACCIDENTS, HEALTH COSTS & CHARITIES

 

The following web sites were added to the GDSourcing index over the last three weeks. GDSourcing is a reference point for free Canadian statistics on-line.

 

CRASH - CANADIANS FOR RESPONSIBLE AND SAFE HIGHWAYS

http://www.web.net/~crash/

GDSourcing Site Summary: http://www.gdsourcing.ca/works/CRASH.htm

- CRASH Facts on Truck Safety and Bigger Trucks

- Canadian safety blitzes find 23% of big trucks with defects

- Angus Reid Poll on Canadian attitudes towards trucking

 

INSTITUTE OF HEALTH ECONOMICS

http://www.ihe.ca/

GDSourcing Site Summary: http://www.gdsourcing.ca/works/HealthEconomics.htm

- Drug Cost List (Provides a list of costs for specifics drugs by province. EXCEL format. )

- Strategic Orientation and Benchmarking in the Canadian Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries

 

 MUTTART FOUNDATION

http://www.muttart.org/

GDSourcing Site Summary: http://www.gdsourcing.ca/works/Muttart.htm

- Talking About Charities Public opinion results released October 2000. National and provincial data available.

 

 

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STATISTICS CANADA RELEASES

 

The following statistics were release by Statistics Canada over the last three weeks. We have listed those releases we feel are of the most interest to Canadian entrepreneurs.

Very few of these statistics are available on-line. The URL listed is a direct link to the press release associated with the data. It provides contact and ordering information.

If you want to purchase any publication or electronic products related to these releases please contact us. We offer a 15% discount on Stats Can publications and a 10% discount on Stats Can electronic products. You can reach us at contact@gdsourcing.com. Put "StatsCan" in the subject line of your e-mail.

 

AGRICULTURE

Fruit and vegetable production 2001 and 2000 (revised)

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010615/d010615e.htm

 

Grain trade of Canada 1999/2000

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010529/d010529h.htm

 

Net farm income and farm cash receipts 2000 and first quarter 2001

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010528/d010528a.htm

 

Per-capita food consumption 2000

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010614/d010614d.htm

 

 

ARTS, CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & RECREATION

International trade in cultural goods and services 2000

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010620/d010620f.htm

 

National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth: Participation in activities 1998/99

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010530/d010530a.htm

 

 

CONSTRUCTION

Housing stock - 2000

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010601/d010601h.htm

 

Maintenance and repair expenditures in housing

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010619/d010619d.htm

 

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Report on the demographic situation in Canada

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010622/b010622b.htm

 

 

ENERGY

Electric power capability and load - 1999

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010608/d010608e.htm

 

 

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Deposit-accepting intermediaries: Activities and economic performance - 1999

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010525/d010525a.htm

 

 

HEALTH SERVICES

Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey 2000

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010529/d010529c.htm

 

Impact of smoking on life expectancy and disability

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010622/d010622a.htm

 

 

JUSTICE SERVICES

Youth court statistics 1999/2000

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010530/d010530c.htm

 

Problem behaviour and delinquency in children and youth 1996/97

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010612/d010612d.htm

 

Statistics Profile Series

The objective of these profiles is to provide data analysis on the

experience of various groups as victims and offenders in the

criminal justice system.

http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/85F0033MIE/free.htm

 

 

MANUFACTURING

Annual Survey of Manufacturers - 1999

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010601/d010601k.htm

 

Manufacturing industries of Canada: National and provincial areas - 1998

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010620/d010620g.htm

 

 

TRANSPORTATION

Characteristics of international travellers 2000

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010529/d010529b.htm

 

Direct services for domestic air travel - 1999

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010607/d010607h.htm

 

Survey of the couriers and local messengers industry 1998 (revised)and 1999 (preliminary)

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010607/d010607g.htm

 

Trade and aviation passenger transportation 1966-1998

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010605/d010605a.htm

 

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TARGET YOUR SALES

 

Market research is not simply a tool for assessing market size and potential. More than any other factor, it the most effective way to maximize a sales campaign.

The key to selling any product or service is recognizing who is going to buy your product or service TODAY.

You may have a product that every woman in Canada needs but to have a successful sales campaign you must identify which segment of the female population will immediately recognize the benefits of your product/service and have their money in hand ready to make a purchase.

Your sales and marketing materials should not try to convince your customers they need your product/ service. Your target customers should already know they need it. Your sales and marketing materials should merely confirm what your target market already recognizes as the advantage of making the purchase. They should reassure your customers that by deciding to buy from you they are making the right decision.

Locating these "target" customers is the challenge. However it is not enough to simply know who your target market is and where they are located. Timing in most cases is ever more important than customer type. You need to not only identify which particular market to target but exactly when to target it.

For example the average Canadian moves at least three times in their life. Within this national market there are particular age groups, occupations and income levels that are more likely to hire moving companies. However if a moving company is to have a successful sales campaign they need to not only target a specific demographic niche but at the exact moment that niche is moving.

We will be moving from our condo into a new house at the end of July. Our condo was listed on MLS and was sold within 10 days but within 3 days of this listing we received a telephone call from a moving company. The timing was perfect. Moving was at the top of our minds (who am I kidding it was the only thing on our minds). The next day we received a brochure by mail for another moving company. It was also effective. I read it over and considered their services.

Then about 3 days later I got 5 more brochures at the same time all of which I threw out without even looking at them. Now we are certainly not the optimum market for a moving company (we plan on buying a case of beer, a pack of hot dogs and shaming friends and relatives into helping us - we don't have that much stuff… honest!) but it is interesting how the timing and uniqueness of a marketing campaign greatly influenced how seriously we considered the message.

Although all the companies used the same source - the MLS listing - to identify us as potential customers, the first two contacts carried the power of empathy - companies who recognized our unique needs. However once the flood of advertisements poured in their effectiveness was completely undermined. They were suddenly just more junk mail trying to take advantage of our situation. The line between success and failure in marketing is a fine one.

Another great example is Buckley's Cough Medicine. They used to advertise nation-wide during the entire cold season which was an expensive and oftentimes ineffective strategy. Within the last few years however they have been using medical surveillance data to target their advertising. This database is maintained by doctors and is primarily used by medical researchers to track and identify diseases.

From Buckley's point of view this data could tell them in which cities colds were particular prevalent and more importantly forecast which cities would be hit next and when. This way they could target their product to the right market at exactly the right time and saved considerably on their advertising costs.

To identify your own target market and the best time to approach it, first consider the benefits of your product/service. Then decided who is going to benefit the most from them? And more importantly when are they most likely to recognize they need it?

Now you need to determine who else might collect information that can confirm or refocus what you already know. Successful research is a creative process. Your competition and industry associations are excellent sources for business information but few of them will provide you with niche data. You need to find "parallel sources" - organizations that collect information relevant to your market but not with the intention of conducting your market research! Consider the examples above: MLS is a real estate database for agents trying to help their clients find the perfect home to buy. It just so happens that it also provides current Canadian movers. Similarly, the Medical Surveillance database is designed strictly for medical research, not as a forecasting tool for cough syrup sales.

The best ways to find these "parallel sources" is to conduct periodical/Internet keyword searches on the benefits of your product/service and to talk to people in your industry and market. I realize this advice is not very specific but keep in mind that a business' research strategy will be as unique as the business itself.

The most important thing is not to give up. Research is a blue chip investment. The time and money spent on selling to an ill-defined market can never be recovered but every minute you spend researching your target market will pay off with increased sales.

 

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WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE

 

We have had a number suggestions regarding the format and content of the BR Newsletter over the last few months so we thought perhaps it was time to take stock of things and perhaps change the newsletter around. We have therefore set up an on-line survey for BR newsletter readers:

http://www.gdsourcing.ca/survey.htm

In the world of e-newsletters we have noticed a number of new trends.

First and foremost is in relation to formatting. I personally still use a very old e-mail program. It allows for HTML formatting but it takes a while to do it and to be honest, the colour and fonts have very little impact on whether or not I read a newsletter. If a newsletter is informative I print it up in draft mode on a black and white printer. If it is not informative I delete it.

Another approach to improved formatting is to have an on-line version of a newsletter and use the e-mail component as a table of contents that links back to the web site. The advantage here is that your e-mail server space is not filled up with a lengthy newsletter. The disadvantage is that an extra step is involved to actually view the content and to quickly scan for relevant articles or information.

We have also noticed that with the proliferation of on-line newsletters there has not been a similar proliferation of newsletter content. Most act as a news filter and deliver links or recycled articles. We want to try to avoid this type of newsletter and continue to provide original material. We would appreciate any suggestions you might have for future topics.

I realize many people would like to see articles on their specific type of business. While we love to provide specific advice, we also want to keep the newsletter of interest to every type of entrepreneur. One option to address specific business queries is to have a question and answer section where we provide brief but specific advice to an individual query. Let us know if you think such a section would be of interest.

We would really like to hear from you. So let please take a moment to fill out our short on-line survey:

http://www.gdsourcing.ca/survey.htm

Thanks!

 

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SMALL BUSINESS STATS FACTS

 

Each Business Researcher Newsletter ends with a collection of five statistics that every entrepreneur should be aware of.

 

1. What percentage of Canadians experience a "great deal of stress on the job"?

Up an astonishing 15 percentage points since February 2000, slightly more than six in 10 (62%) respondents in the survey, sponsored by Aventis Pharma Inc., report that they are experiencing "a great deal of stress" on the job.

At the same time, up nine points from last year, 34 per cent of Canadians with health benefit plans agree with the statement: "Workplace stress has been so overwhelming that it has made me physically ill at times."

In fact, those who say they are experiencing a great deal of stress at work are five times more likely to say that they have been physically ill because of stress.

The Aventis Healthcare Survey, Ipsos-Reid (May 2001)

 

 

2. Do employers help their employees manage stress?

Forty-one per cent, equal to last year's finding, say their employer does not do nearly enough to help them manage stress at work.

The Aventis Healthcare Survey, Ipsos-Reid (May 2001)

  

3. How much time do Canadian office workers spend in meetings each week?

On average, 5.2 hours each week are spent in meetings.

Workers in larger organizations (500 employees or more) spend much more time on average in meetings than those in smaller (less than 50 employees) or medium organizations (50-499 employees) -- 6.9 hours versus 3.8 and 4.6 hours respectively.

Montreal workers spend less time each week in meetings (3.8 hours) than their counterparts in other major urban centres (5.7 hours).

Ipsos-Reid (June 2001)

 

4. Do Canadian office workers collaborate on documents or electronic files?

Most workers (91%) report that they collaborate with others in their organization on the same documents or electronic files (52% frequently and 39% sometimes).

Collaboration is even more common among workers in larger organizations (60% frequently collaborate versus 42% in smaller organizations and 53% in medium organizations).

Ipsos-Reid (June 2001)

 

5. Do small business use notebook computers?

 

In a study of 400 small- and medium-size businesses last year , Toronto-based Evans Research Corp., found that although just over 25 per cent of the companies surveyed had notebook computers, 17 per cent will purchase at least one 2000/2001.

Although the consumer notebook market exploded through the channel in 1999, with vendors aiming their products at households and students, that sector has reached a plateau. Small Business is now the target market for notebooks.

Computer Dealer News v.16(23) N 17'00 pg 29,30

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You may circulate this newsletter freely as long as GDSourcing is clearly credited as the source. We encourage people to subscribe directly. There is no charge for this newsletter. A subscription and unsubscription form is available at http://www.gdsourcing.ca