The Business Gateway
The Business Gateway
Building a solid business plan or
researching a business idea can be both challenging and rewarding. There
is, of course, the development of the entrepreneurial idea that may come
in a flash of insight or after long consideration. Whether the starting
point was an invention, the strong desire to be your own boss, or
anything in between, there is little argument that you need to do your
homework before committing your time, energy and money to the venture.
Over the years, BC Stats has been
approached by many hundreds of clients engaged in researching a business
plan. In some cases we have developed standard information products that
can be plucked off the shelves. In others, our depth of knowledge of the
data sources can shorten your search. Sometimes we will tell you to stop
looking for data that does not exist in the public domain. Generally we
will be of some help.
As often as not,
your inspiration and need for figures will come outside of our regular
business hours. With the growing array of tools and pages on our web
site, this is not necessarily a problem. While many of the pages have
long existed, we recently developed a tool we call the
to better help you self-serve. The business gateway is a
web page that presents links to dozens of useful pages and sites, all
organized under headings intended to speed up your search for business
planning information and resources. When looking at this page you will
soon realize that we have designed it from your viewpoint – as you step
through the headings, subtext and links, it should read a little like
your own thoughts, for example:
The place to start your
research is with the classification systems that we use to delineate
industries, occupations, goods (products), services, and geographic
units. If there isn’t a code for it, there is little chance for data
in the public domain. First off, find the most appropriate industry
code under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).
Do this using the search routine on Statistics Canada’s site by
clicking on our first link: What industry am I in? Note both the
code and the name. Once you have these, the search for data becomes
Numbers of business
establishments by industry and region provide some indication of
saturation. Summary figures are posted at our link: How many similar
firms are there?
The most current review of
profitability, balance sheet and financial ratios comes from the
small business profiles that can be found, by detailed industry for
several years and provinces, through our link: Compare to
Writing a Business Plan
The single most important
element for success is a proper, current plan that is the basis for
operations. The random pursuit of opportunity relies on luck, which
sooner or later fails.
Our business planning guide
has a numbers focus—coding schemes, data and information resources.
There are links to other informative sites including ones that
simplify start-up and filing requirements – the technical and legal
side of getting into and staying in business.
While mindful execution of
the plan is central to success, it is essential to be constantly on
watch for external shocks. These may be positive or negative and the
difference may depend upon your reaction. Some are temporary, while
others more permanently alter business conditions. Some arise
dramatically and others form so incrementally that they are
sometimes missed from the plan.
We have a
number of reports and publications to help keep you abreast of
conditions in British Columbia and its regions. Our weekly synopsis,
is the most widely read document we produce and can
form part of any basic news kit for business leaders.
My Customers Are . . .
understand and anticipate their customers. They pitch for maximum
penetration in each market segment and analyze the demographics of
current and potential customer groups. If sales are not keeping pace
with growth in the market place, then you are losing ground –
whether to changing market demand or more nimble competition – and
need to address the problem.
The Consumer Trends Report
and Spending patterns look at consumer behaviour.
Demographic details for
neighborhoods, communities and regions takes you to our census
pages. Our small area population projections will tell you what
areas are growing the fastest so that you can get out in front of
the growth curve or anticipate a flat or falling market.
If your receipts are
augmented by visitors then there is some useful information on our
tourism page. Knowing annual and seasonal expenditure patterns can
help you manage the tourism-related part of your business.
We can help you sell to BC
manufacturers or look for foreign buyers. There is also a section on
doing business with the BC government, local governments in BC or
the federal government.
My Products Are . . .
Knowing the correct product
classification for your goods will greatly ease the search for
production, export and import figures.
My Suppliers Are . . .
We can help you find local
suppliers which should help pare transportation and inventory costs.
Our on-line directory makes it easy to narrow your search right down
to your own community.
My Business Thrives on . . .
When you know just what
invigorates your business it may possible to sleuth out hot spots
that should figure into your expansion plans. We have set out a
dozen links by way of example. If you want more, or something else,
there is the internet or you could contact Data Services at BC
Open a New Location!
The risk of opening a new
location can be reduced by making informed choices.
You might look first at what
areas are growing fastest. Each year, BC Stats projects population
and households for areas in British Columbia. Shouldn’t you be using
the same quality data that the health and education ministries rely
Perhaps you are looking for
concentrations of particular demographic characteristics in your new
location. We can map data for you to pinpoint areas that deserve a
more rigorous examination of demographic details and Data Services
can provide detailed profiles of any area in the province.
Our labour and income page
highlights earnings and labour market information available through
Didn’t find it here?
If your requirements go
beyond our web site or complimentary service, we service requests
for a fee. You can also search our wider web site. When you want to
talk to us, or email us you have direct access to our individual
phone numbers and email addresses for every person in the
However, initial contact
should be made with Data Services:
(250) 387-0327 or