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One-third of Canadian small business owners planning growth or expansion: RBC poll

TORONTO, February 26, 2010— Small business owners are focusing on growth in 2010, with one-in-three (34 per cent) planning to expand their business over the next six months and 26 per cent indicating that they are at the start-up stage, according to a new RBC Small Business Poll.

Only 14 per cent of respondents said that they will require access to credit in the next six months to finance and grow their businesses.

"We are pleased to see that small businesses are confident in their ability to finance growth in the next six months as this sector plays an important role in the Canadian economy," said Mike Michell, national director, Small Business, RBC. "For the business owners that are considering credit or are unsure of their options to support business growth, we are here to help them achieve their goals. Our lending to small businesses actually increased last year and we will continue to support business development in 2010."

RBC's credit solutions are designed to meet the unique needs of small businesses and help owners build a foundation for success and take advantage of growth opportunities, adds Michell. Here are a few things for small business owners to consider when looking to obtain credit to support their business:

  • Starting a business? Determine how much money you need. Opening your own business means creating a variety of realistic cash flow projections, taking as many factors into account as possible. That way, you're better prepared and can react quickly if things don't turn out as expected. For example, when calculating your business start up costs, be sure to account for day-to-day expenses and cash needs during the first three to six months before sales and revenues build.

  • Consider what types of credit financing you need. There are a number of financing options available that address short and long term business needs. Understanding which option best fits your need is an important starting point before applying for credit. For example, operating lines of credit will help cover short-term expenses like supplies, payroll and rent. Business credit cards can help cover and track short-term expenses like office supplies, business travel and utility payments. Term loans can help buy hard assets necessary to operate the business, such as buildings, vehicles and equipment.

  • Create or fine tune your business plan. Your business plan represents how you see your business evolving. It should detail your initial requirements and long-term goals. If you plan on securing higher levels of credit, or have complex financing needs, you may be asked to bring your business plan to your appointment. No matter what stage your company is in, a business plan should be an integral part of your management approach.

  • Keep your personal credit in good standing. Depending on the type and amount of business credit you require, your ability to get credit can be based on your personal credit score. Having a solid personal credit rating will improve your chances of obtaining the credit you require.

In an effort to help Canadian small business owners (from start-up to growth to business succession) succeed, RBC recently launched a new online advice centre. The site provides free, no-obligation professional advice and answers to common questions business owners have. It covers many facets of running a business, and includes interactive tools, calculators, videos, articles and tips. Visit www.rbcadvicecentre.com for more information.

These are some of the findings of RBC's Small Business poll conducted by Ipsos Reid between February 2 - 8, 2010. The survey tracks Canadian small business owners' attitudes and behaviours around access to credit. It is based on online interviews with a random sample of 1,049 Canadian small business owners. All businesses had fewer than five employees, and an annual revenue under $1 million. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±3.0 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of small business owners in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

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Media contacts:

Matt Gierasimczuk,
416-974-2124, matthew.gierasimczuk@rbc.com

Janet Gibson Eichner,
416-974-7622, janet.gibson-eichner@rbc.com