TORONTO, October 14, 2010 Despite operating during one of the worst recessions since the 1930s, more than half (56 per cent) of Canadian entrepreneurs say the recent recession had either no impact or a positive impact on their business, according to a recent survey by RBC.
In fact, the majority (72 per cent) are optimistic about the success of their companies over the next year, even though six-in-ten (58 per cent) small business owners do not think the recession is over yet, and just one-in-four (23 per cent) indicate that they will be adding staff in the next year. Most entrepreneurs (65 per cent) believe the outlook for the Canadian economy is positive, ranking it 'good', 'very good' or 'excellent'.
"Entrepreneurs are optimistic which is consistent with what our clients are telling us and this is reflected in their plans for the future," said Mike Michell, national director, Small Business, RBC. "Small business owners feel as though they have weathered the storm well, but are still prudently approaching the future by reviewing their business plans and assessing their financing options. Accessing sound financial advice can help in setting realistic goals and ensuring the right financial support is in place even during an economic downturn."
Challenges experienced by business owners
Small business owners say that the biggest challenges they currently face are finding clients and developing their market (22 per cent), keeping a steady workload (13 per cent), and maintaining sufficient cash flow and financing growth (11 per cent). Of the 36 per cent of entrepreneurs that experienced a negative impact as a result of the recession, 72 per cent say that sales revenue decreased, and 54 per cent say there are fewer business opportunities.
Advice for other business owners
Half (50 per cent) of the business owners surveyed would advise aspiring entrepreneurs to network and develop alliances in order to grow their business. Forty-seven per cent say it's important to know your competition and 46 per cent recommend getting to know your market.
Many entrepreneurs (34 per cent) appear to have learned from their mistakes as well, admitting they would do things differently if they were to start over again. For example, almost three-quarters (73 per cent) say they would do more networking or more aggressively solicit clients (67 per cent). Sixty-six per cent would seek more advice, 54 per cent would develop a better business plan, and 60 per cent would have preferred to start their business at a younger age.
RBC commissioned a similar survey in 2005 and 2007 to small business owners. The analysis over this five-year period shows few significant changes in the attitudes of small business owners; however, some key trends were identified:
These are some of the findings of an RBC /Ipsos Reid survey conducted from September 7 - 15, 2010. This online survey of 1,273 entrepreneurs, who were either self-employed or owned their own small business, was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's national online panel. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample. An unweighted, probability sample of this size, with 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ± 3.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We are Canada's largest bank as measured by assets and market capitalization, and among the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America's leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking and transaction processing services on a global basis. We employ approximately 78,000 full- and part-time employees who serve close to 18 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 51 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.
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For further information:
Margie McNeil, RBC Corporate Communications,
Angela Gordon, RBC Corporate Communications,