RBC Survey shows most Canadian small business owners optimistic about economy
Yet many taking steps to succeed in today's economic environment
TORONTO, September 24, 2008 — With talk of an
economic slowdown continuing, one might assume that Canadian
small business owners are worried about their future. But
a recent RBC/Ipsos Reid survey shows that over half of those
surveyed (57 per cent) are optimistic about the Canadian economy
(36 per cent are positive and 21 per cent are neutral). In
fact, almost half (48 per cent) think that the next six months
would be a good time to grow or expand their business.
Despite these positive sentiments, the survey results also
showed that business owners are taking steps to ensure their
success. In particular, the majority of business owners (52
per cent) are cutting back on unnecessary expenses; working
to provide extra value to customers (47 per cent); finding
ways to reduce energy/fuel consumption (31 per cent); and
increasing marketing efforts (27 per cent).
Only three per cent of those surveyed who have employees
would consider laying off staff; four per cent would reduce
work hours; and seven per cent would consider lowering prices
for products or services.
"I think it's really important to note that small business
owners across the country seem to have a good handle on the
importance of managing through uncertain times," said
Rina Pillitteri, national director, Small Business, RBC Royal
Bank. "Building a successful small business is always
a challenge. Now, more than ever, having a solid business
plan is important and should include ways to deal with economic
and market volatility so that business owners can succeed
and grow no matter what obstacles may be in their way."
Of those business owners surveyed, 76 per cent believe they
could handle doubling their sales in the next year. When asked
what they want to focus on this year,, 51 per cent of small
business owners say they are focusing on keeping their existing
customers as well as gaining new ones, and 16 per cent say
they are ensuring their business is running as efficiently
"Ups and downs are part of the normal course of business
for the majority of business owners," added Pillitteri.
"What the survey results have shown us is that many small
business owners are going out of their way to improve the
value of the service and products they are already providing
to their customer base, while working to attract new ones
to ensure this growth and continued success."
It's not surprising that from a regional perspective, small
business owners from the Prairies (15 per cent) and British
Columbia (13 per cent) are more likely to describe the Canadian
economy as 'growing' compared to other provinces. Small business
owners from Ontario (36 per cent), Quebec (26 per cent) and
Atlantic Canada (29 per cent) are more likely to describe
the Canadian economy as 'going through a rough patch' compared
to those on the Prairies (17 per cent).
These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid/RBC Royal Bank poll
conducted between August 5 and August 11, 2008. For the survey,
invitations were sent to a representative sample of Canadian
small business owners with 10 or fewer employees, and reporting
less than $1 million in annual revenue, resulting in 1,145
completed online interviews. An unweighted probability sample
of this size, with 100 per cent response rate, would have
an estimated margin of error of ±three percentage points,
19 times out of 20. Margin of error for subgroups will be
RBC Royal Bank delivers a wide range of financial services
and practical advice to small and medium-sized businesses
and their owners. RBC is Canada's leading financial institution
for small business, serving one in four small businesses.
For practical advice and information about starting, owning
and managing a small business, visit: www.rbcroyalbank.com/business/resources.
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Jackie Braden, Media Relations, (416) 974-2124
Janet Gibson Eichner, Corporate Communications,
For full tabular results, please see the Ipsos Reid website