Business Planning Statistics

One thing that often stumps researchers is statistics. Where to find them? What to search for? What is available, is it free?

When you are looking for statistics, one way to start is to think about who would collect that type of information, and would they publish it? If you are looking for statistics on people or businesses, the government is often a good place to start because they do collect information about people (whether through the census, or other ways of gathering information such as surveys) as well as businesses.

Statistics Canada is the obvious place to start looking for information, but think about other government agencies as well. Industry Canada offers statistics on Canadian businesses, and the SME Benchmarking Tool is a great place to find information to compare your business to others in the same industry. If you are looking for information about bankruptcies or business failures, The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcies is a good place to look for Annual Insolvency Rates by NAICS, by census metropolitan area, or by province and economic region. Think about Agriculture Canada if you are looking into businesses in that area, and so on… sometimes going right to the source is better than starting a search blind on the internet.

Some specific, freely available favourite resources of mine to help with business planning:

From Statistics Canada:

Are you looking for how much people spend on alcoholic beverages in restaurants or bars, as opposed to alcoholic beverages purchased in stores? The government tracks the spending habits of Canadians in the Survey of Household Spending… check it out, and use the Add/Remove tab to alter the data (by location, category of expenditure, or time).

If you are looking for how many people in Kelowna work in the mining, oil and gas industry, or for the income levels of people in the Central Okanagan, the National Household Survey Profiles are a great place to look. You can even find out what time they leave for work in the morning!

You can search Statistics Canada by subject or by key resource (Census, etc.)– you can also search by geography, if you are looking for statistics on a certain location.

It is much easier to find information for larger geographic locations– the smaller the population centre, the less likely you are to find reliable information. Look at statistical tables by metropolitan area to see a list of the tables available for Kelowna, Calgary, Vancouver, or other select areas in Canada.

Hope this helps! For more information on finding statistics, please check out the various library guides with more information and resources:

Data & Statistics guide

BUAD 293: Entrepreneurship guide

And of course you can always ask for help… happy hunting 🙂


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