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Being the "Boss of Me" appeals to Canadians: RBCPoll

Top challenge isn't financing

TORONTO, May 25, 2011 - One-third (32 per cent) of Canadians who don't own a business like the idea of being their own boss and one-fifth (20 per cent) are thinking about starting up their own business within the next five years, according to the most recent RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook.

"Considering 12 per cent of Canadians are currently self-employed, seeing another 20 per cent interested in being their own boss is indeed significant," said Mike Michell, national director, Small Business, RBC. "Getting a business started can be challenging: you have to have passion for what you're doing, seek out good advice and be prepared with a well-developed business plan."

When it comes to starting a business, the top two challenges identified by those who don't own a business are getting enough money to start or expand (28 per cent) and finding clients (14 per cent).

However, existing business owners say different. According to the latest RBC Small Business Survey, 66 per cent of business owners said finding enough clients was a key challenge. Only 15 per cent felt that a key challenge was getting enough money to start or expand their business.

The experience of existing business owners also contradicts the perception of 40 per cent of Canadians who think it would take up to three years for a new business to start making money. In fact, 41 per cent of business owners from RBC's small business survey said that it took less than a year for their business to break even or make enough money to cover costs.

"It appears most Canadians have a fairly realistic view of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, although there are a few misconceptions," said Michell. "The message for would-be small business owners is that financing should not hold them back. We are open for business and more than ready to help Canadians with the right advice to turn their great ideas into great products and services."

Top business-building tips, according to Canadian business owners:

  • Focus more time on networking - develop alliances, join industry associations, attend as many events and seminars as possible.
  • Aggressively solicit clients - spend more time marketing your business. Understand the clients' needs and how your business will meet those needs.
  • Seek as much help or advice as possible - find a mentor or look to other business owners to draw on their experience.
  • Develop a comprehensive business plan and review it regularly, especially in growth phases.
  • Obtain financial advice early in your planning to secure financing in advance.
  • Know your competition well and research the market.

The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook survey was conducted online via Ipsos Reid's national I-Say Consumer Panel to 3,073 Canadians who do not own a business. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Data collection was March 11 to 15, 2011. 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 ±2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of Canadians who don't own a business been polled.

The RBC Small Business Survey was conducted by Ipsos Reid from September 7 to 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 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±3.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Small businesses in Canada want flexible banking choices, convenient payment options and simple ways to manage their cash flow. Whether they are starting a business, managing growth, or succession planning, the RBC Advice Centre can help answer their questions. Free interactive tools and calculators provide customized information covering many facets of business finance and online advice videos are updated regularly to answer questions that are top of mind with small business owners. With the guidance of RBC business advisors, small business owners have access to free, no obligation professional advice about RBC products and services. For more assistance, please visit

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For more information, please contact:

Margie McNeil, RBC Corporate Communications,
(416) 388-3697

Angela Gordon, RBC Corporate Communications,
(905) 816-5650