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November 29, 2002 Volume 5, Number 10


* Introduction - Editor's Comments

* What's New at

* Statistics Canada releases

* Researching a Craft Show

* Small Business: Today and Tomorrow

* Small Business Stats Facts

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Welcome to this issue of the BR Newsletter.

I am happy to say that Cogeco users can now view the site at For whatever reason, while the rest of the Internet
identified our new server, Cogeco did not update their system so anyone
using Cogeco (that includes us!) could not see the web site at the .com
address. Hopefully that ends the latest installment of server woes!

We continue to update and upgrade the site and will have a few exciting
announcements in the weeks to come.

Statistics Canada has released the 2002 edition of the Market Research

This annual compendium of socio-economic data is an authoritative source for
key information on local and national markets. Through accurate and timely
statistics on changing demographics, standards of living, and economic
characteristics, the handbook helps businesses locate target markets, track
their market share, and assess their competitive position.

Drawing on the latest data released from the 2001 Census and a wide range of
other surveys, the 2002 edition incorporates a number of features designed
to make it more user-friendly. Features include a user's guide, annotated
charts to reveal salient trends, help lines for each of the data sources,
and references to CANSIM, Statistics Canada's online database.

We are happy to again be able to offer a 20% discount on this publication.
Statistics Canada sells it for $125 but if you order through GDSourcing the
price is $100.00. To order or for more information see:

I hope you find this issue helpful.


John White







Site Summary:

Data on the number of Canadian students studying in the United States



Site Summary:

Students rank individual Canadian universities by selected criteria. (e.g.
quality of education, technology, student services etc.)



Site Summary:

Mergers & Acquisitions in Canada, Quarterly highlight data




The following statistics were released 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 related to these releases please see
our web site:

We offer a 20% discount on most Stats Can publications and a 10% discount on
Stats Can electronic products. For more information you can reach us at Put "StatsCan" in the
subject line of your e-mail.


2001 Census of Agriculture: Profile of farm operators

Honey and maple products 2002

Potato production 2002 (preliminary), 2000 and 2001 (revised)

Net farm income 2001


Biotechnology use and development 2001

Registered retirement savings plan contributions 2001


Charitable donors 2001


University spin-off companies 2001 (preliminary)

Reading performance of students in rural and urban schools 2000


Human activity and the environment: Annual statistics 2002


Low income cutoffs for 2001 and low income measures for 2000

Savers, investors and investment income 2001

Employment Insurance coverage 2001

Cumulative earnings among young workers 1973 to 1999


Census of population: Collective dwellings 2001

Market research handbook 2002 edition




'Tis the season for holiday craft shows. It is also the prime time for craft
business market research.

Finding appropriate data for the crafts sector is challenging. Statistically
artisans and crafts people find themselves lost either within "miscellaneous
manufacturing" or "other arts & culture". In both cases the resulting data
provide little if any insight into the reality of the crafts sector.

The limited Canadian data available is based mostly on the 1996 Census. It
provides only basic information such as in 1996 there were 18,685 artisan
and crafts people in Canada. At that time the average annual wage for this
occupation grouping was $16,943. These figures will be updated by the 2001
Census release on Feb 11, 2003 (for occupation data) and May 13, 2003 (for
wage data). For an overview on the lack of Canadian data and a thumbnail
sketch of the sector from existing data sources see: Study of the Crafts
Sector in Canada (CCF May 2001)

Due to a lack of existing Canadian data, entrepreneurs must rely on U.S.
benchmarks and primary sources (talking directly to suppliers, service
providers and other artisans). U.S. data for the crafts sector is also
limited however in comparison to Canadian figures it is much more robust. It
provides baseline insights into the sector which, when compared to anecdotal
evidence from Canadian artisans and crafts people, appear relevant to Canada
as well.

From a market research stand point the most informative data is that direct
retail accounts for 53% of crafts business sales while wholesaling accounts
for 27% and consignment to galleries is 11.2%. Among direct retailing, craft
shows/fairs are the primary venue (52% of total sector retail sales) while
studio sales are second at 27% and commissions are a distant third,
accounting for 15% of total retail crafts sales.

(For other insights from this survey such as sales/revenue from crafts by
medium see:

Given the significance of craft shows to most craft businesses, this should
be the primary area of market research. It is surprising therefore how few
artisans bother to investigate shows before they enter them.

Crafts shows are not like a chain of retail outlets. Each one has a unique
atmosphere and following. For some shows this is a reputation that has been
carefully developed over a number of years, for others it is an event
based-buzz created by spectacular advertising.

For a craft business to be successful, the entrepreneur must not only be a
skilled artisan but a savvy marketer. Even if you are operating a part-time
business, you need to understand how to reach the best market for "your"

When researching which craft shows are best for your business, you first
need to have a listing of all available craft shows. One convenient online
directory is: However it is targeted towards purchasers
instead of craft vendors.

You should contact your provincial craft council. (Web sites and contact
information are listed here:

Many produce an annual directory of craft shows, which not only provide show
dates and locations but also attendance figures, and number of vendors.

Another excellent source for craft show information is Craftlink magazine.
The offline version of this quarterly periodical includes detailed show
information including contact information for show promoters and booth

If you contact some show organizers directly they can also provide you with
further details on the nature of the show, attendance type, how it will be
marketed. (E.g. are certain products or mediums highlighted, does the show
have a specific theme (heritage)).

Another important piece of information is how long the show has been going
and whether it has been in the same venue, had the same name and same
sponsor/promoter the whole time. A change of venue or name can often
seriously hurt a show's performance. Also newer shows are often not as well
attended at long established ones.

This is not to say you should only enter long established, highly attended
shows. Rather, your total sales at the end of the show should not be a
surprise. On set up on Friday you should have a good idea of how much money
you are going to make for the weekend. Craft shows are not Casinos! Thorough
research will allow you to anticipate accurate results.

To operate a successful crafts business you must be able to know how much
merchandise you need on hand. If you run out of stock during a show many
promoters will not allow you back the next year. In your first year of
business, it can often be a good strategy to enter a few smaller or newer
shows at the beginning so that you can get some experience with the process.

The general rule of thumb among many professional artisan and crafts persons
is that you want a minimum benchmark sales level of $100 per hour at a craft
show. In other words if a two day week-end show that runs eight hours on
both days does not generate a minimum of $1600 you need to consider making
adjustments whether that be in product design, display or show venue. (The
$100 rule is for general crafts items.)

Do not judge a craft show by the booth fee. These figures can vary quite
wildly and often have more to do with who is organizing the show (private
company vs. a charity, or municipality) than with the expected revenue you
can generate.

The best and really only way to assess a shows potential is to actually
visit it. Talk to vendors on the last day of the show. Find out their
impressions. Will they return next year? How does the show compare to others
they have been in?

Crafters are a unique group of business people. Generally they are very
supportive and helpful. Talk to as many of your fellow vendors as you can.
What shows do they recommend? What have they done to help ensure their
business' success?

For further insight you can read profiles of other Canadian craft businesses
in Craftlink Magazine ( You can only access an
abridged version on the periodical online so you need to either find a
library that carries the periodical or subscribe directly. The profiles are
helpful but do not use them to replace talking to actual vendors.

After vendors, customers and the merchandise itself are your best sources of
information. Spend time observing the customers. Are they buying or looking?
Is there one type of product that more people have purchased (e.g. is every
one carrying carved wooden boxes)? Many craft shows often have a product
type "they are known for". What is the product mix like? Will your product
be an appropriate addition or will your product seem out of place.

Also what is the overall quality of the merchandise? Do not think of the
other vendors as competitors - my jewelry is much finer than theirs - but
rather as departments within the same store. If you consider the other
vendors' merchandise as inferior that does not identify an opportunity but
rather indicates the reputation of the show.

The real competitors are other shows. As you look through a craft show
directory, find all the shows that take place in your target town or city
within a three to four week period. Craft shows are generally seasonal in
nature and certain shows tend to get a reputation as being THE Christmas
show or THE Spring show etc. for a particular community.

Ask other vendors, members of the community, local Chambers of Commerce
which show is the "most famous". Popular craft shows will attract customers
from a greater geographical radius. The further someone travels specifically
to attend a show, the more likely they will spend. You want to be at
"spending" shows not "browsing" ones.

The number of visitors alone means nothing to your sales potential. The
Internet is viewed by some as a worldwide craft show with a massive
customer-base. However online success for craft businesses has been sporadic
and has relied more on the efforts and commitment of individuals marketing
themselves than on the inherent size of the Internet as a whole.

15% of respondents to an U.S. study did not make any money at all from their
e-commerce craft sites while another 30% made less than $500.00 a year
online. At the opposite end of the spectrum 11.7% of craft businesses made
more than $5000 in a year and 3.4% made more than $15,000 a year via the
Internet alone.

The difference between the profitable and the also-rans was not quality of
product but rather online promotion strategy and experience.

(See the U.S. report: Are Craftspeople Making Money on the Internet?

This result is no different from a craft business operating entirely
offline. Whether you are selling online or offline, to be a successful you
need to do more than set up a booth (or web site). You need to be more than
a gifted artisan. You have to be a smart entrepreneur who knows how to reach
their best market. In most cases this means knowing which craft shows to
enter. You can save yourself a lot of money in entrance fees and more
importantly earn yourself a great deal more in sales if you spend the year
before your start selling, visiting and learning which shows to enter and
which ones are not worth your investment of time and money.




Part of our daily ritual is to read down the previous day's news releases on
Canada Newswire ( It is a great source for finding
the latest reports, surveys and polls that have been released. Many studies
are announced here in the hopes that the mainstream media will pick them up
and provide the desired "free" publicity.

It is always interesting to see what gets covered up and what is ignored.
CIBC recently (Sept 26, 2002) released a wonderful study called Small
Business: Today and Tomorrow. The study was supported by 12 news releases in
Canada Newswire but surprisingly received very little media coverage. You
can see by the releases below that the depth and breadth of the report is
quite extensive.

The data includes Stats Can figures as well as other numbers unavailable
elsewhere. Of particular note is the section on micro and home-based
businesses which draws on data from an Ipsos-Reid SOHO syndicated survey.
Whether you are a small business or intend to sell to small businesses, this
is useful report.

You can download the full report free of charge at the CIBC web site:

The following are the news releases which supported the study. On their own
they act as highlight summaries.

Small business must embrace technology to succeed, CIBC reports

Less-educated leaving self-employment for the security of employment, CIBC

What's good and bad about working for yourself

Alberta races by all other provinces in small business formation, CIBC

Quebec to lead small business activity over next year, CIBC reports

B.C. leads country in home-based micro-businesses, CIBC reports

Manitoba/Saskatchewan show significant decline in bankruptcies, CIBC reports

Small business formations surge in Ontario, CIBC reports

Canadian small businesses affected by September 11 tragedy, reports CIBC

CIBC predicts one in five Canadian workers will be small business owners

CIBC says globalization, the Internet and demographics are major forces
affecting small business

Small business critical part of Canadian economic health: CIBC predicts
strong small business activity into 2003




Each Business Researcher Newsletter ends with a collection of five

statistics that every entrepreneur should be aware of.

1. According to U.S. study what % or craft businesses are home-based?


Source: CODA (May 2001)

2. What is the main barrier to the adoption of Internet Business Solutions
for Canadian Small Businesses (50-99 employees)?

Cost (cited by 60.9% of respondents). Uncertain return on investment was
second cited by 52.2%

Source: Canadian eBusiness Initiative (Nov 2002)

3. Which province has the highest small business corporate income tax rate
in 2002? (Average Annual Rate on Active Business Income)

Quebec: 9.04%

Source: KPMG, Scotiabank (May 2002)

4. What % of Canadian micro businesses (1-4 employees) purchase
goods/services over the Internet?


Source: IDC Canada (Aug 2002)

5. Between June 2001 & June 2002 which occupation group saw the fastest
growth in self-employment?

Paralegal, Social Service Work +49.5%

CIBC (Sept 2002)



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UPDATED: 08/06/03
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