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What Are Calgarians Purchasing?

Researching your potential business is hard work – it takes strategy, consistency, time and money. Add a service to that mix and have the additional task of finding a specific audience that wants to use one, especially yours.

Market Research

The most important thing to do early on is to get out and talk to people. This means your prospective customers, other entrepreneurs, advisers—anyone who can give you key insight into your customers, competitors, and industry. Not limiting yourself to your own perspective and seeking a variety of opportunities to learn from others is key.

Let’s zoom out and take a look at all the different avenues you can pursue to conduct research.

Ideas for Research Sources

There are lots of ways you can go about conducting research. Here’s a quick list of different avenues you can pursue.

Potential customers. These are your most relevant and valuable resources—and they’re all around you. Reach out to the types of people you think need or want your product or service, and listen to what they have to say.

Industry experts. These are people who’ve been there before and who may know your market better than anyone else. You can find their insights in books, articles, online videos, and conferences.

Other entrepreneurs. Having already taken the leap themselves, other entrepreneurs have experience identifying business opportunities and are alert to industry changes and market needs.

Your personal network. If you maintain good relationships with people throughout the business community, your network may clue you in on market opportunities you wouldn’t find on your own.

Social media channels. You have near-instant access to thousands of people (or more) through social media. Think about how you can use Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, blogs, and other channels to gain insights from a variety of voices.

Trade and industry associations. Review trade and industry information and join associations and conventions that serve your industry.

Vendors and suppliers. Through their close work with customers, vendors and suppliers can be a valuable source for information about new products and services as well as customers’ needs.

Entrepreneurial infrastructure (accountants, lawyers, bankers). These professionals can provide valuable information about changes or the latest trends affecting their industries and the marketplace.

Governmental agencies. The government has a host of agencies whose mission is to collect and report information on the economy and society. Others provide assistance to entrepreneurs launching and growing businesses.

Academics and business librarians. These experts stay current in their specific fields and can have in-depth knowledge of trends and problems in their area of study.


Ask Yourself

Which of these avenues will you pursue? Are there others you can think of that would be valuable?


Click on the image directly above to open the infographic, then consider the following:

  1. As you read through the main trends, consider which ways you can adapt your business idea to the emerging trends. There is space in your workbook for your notes.

How to Identify and Cash in on Consumer Trends


If you can identify an upwards consumer trend, you can build a highly profitable business around it. Consumer trends are determined by the habits or behaviors currently popular among consumers. Data is often collected on these trends that includes information like how a consumer uses a product, and how they communicate about a brand.

Determine the needs of your potential audience in terms of:

  • demographics
  • buying behaviour
  • service or product needs
  • cash flow/financial situation


Canadian entrepreneurs will be facing a different business landscape in coming years – one shaped by shifting demographics and an unprecedented adoption of digital technologies.

Here are five emerging trends that will transform your company, with expert tips to help you adapt. Check out the Consumer Trends Report for details: Consumer Trends Report (PDF)

The above report may have differet statistics than the infographic. Both are correct, but choose to focus on differet aspects of consumer trends.

What are people buying in Calgary?

In researching the industry, look for the latest trends. Compare the statistics and growth in the industry. What areas of the industry appear to be expanding, and what areas are declining? Is the industry catering to new types of customers? What technological developments are affecting the industry? How can you use them to your advantage? A thriving, stable industry is key; you don’t want to start a new business in a field that’s on the decline.

Amazon is by far the most popular online destination for Canadians when it comes to groceries/household consumables, used by 77% of shoppers. Walmart is second at 46%.


After observing consumer behavior, in your workbook answer the questions about New Business Ideas. Check out the following PDFs for more info!

Alberta Online Spending Habits – Part 1 (PDF)

Alberta Online Spending Habits – Part 2 (PDF)

Answer the reflective questions in your workbook:

  1. Consider your online presence. What tools and platforms do you think will reach your intended audience? You can all deal online in some way regardless of your service or product (i.e. service and product info, contact info, payment gateway, selling online, etc.)

The Digital Economy Survey

Results from the Digital Economy Survey (PDF)

A simple website is no longer enough. A structured, proactive and tailored multi-platform strategy has become critical in today’s business environment. A website and an active social media presence are both required. Posting routinely and being attentive to customers across all popular forms of social media is key. Responding in real-time to customers via social media is no longer simply for big businesses; customers now expect to message a business’ Facebook page and receive a reply from an employee immediately. It is also vital to research and follow the social media trends of your target market to ensure your business is always present on the most popular platforms.

  1. Search social media to learn about people’s comments and needs:
    1. Join related Facebook groups (Housekeepers, Business Coaches, etc.)
    2. Check out Amazon books on your topic and read the reviews people give about it and what they need to learn or need help with
    3. Ask 3 people you know who fits your audience profile about their needs, demographics and response to your biz idea

Additional Resources

Online: How to Identify and Cash in on Consumer Trends (and 3 Products Trending Right Now) (PDF)

This resource can be used as a model for how to identify upwards trends. Other searches that could help you include, ‘what is trending on Amazon’, as an example.

Next Steps

In your workbook, there are some tips for doing a preliminary market survey, and space for you to write answers to some reflective questions.


Thinking locally does not mean you can’t or should not market globally. You can do both! But we tend to understand our local terrain, trends, culture, peeps and industries much better and can take strategic steps to engage with them.

This also produces marketing muscle for when, or if, you want to launch your course into the big ol’ online world. Think of the testimonials you can collect from local students!

Why not leverage local markets to share your knowledge and skills? Someone may be waiting for it right now.

Tip: You can't move on to the next lesson in the workshop until you've marked the current one complete. When you click "Mark Complete" you'll automatically be taken to the next Lesson!