RBC Poll shows majority of the small business owners are optimistic about the year ahead

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. 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.”
Advice for other 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.                
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.
Key stats for entrepreneurs born outside Canada:

  • More than half (53 per cent) of entrepreneurs born outside of Canada surveyed would advise aspiring business owners to research the market compared to 45 per cent of those born in Canada.
  • Thirty-one per cent of immigrant entrepreneurs say the biggest challenge they will face in running their business over the next two to three years is finding clients and developing their market. For Canadian-born entrepreneurs, that number falls to 21 per cent.
  • Sixty-five per cent of small business owners born outside of Canada do not think the recession is over yet
  • Asked what they would do differently if they were to start their businesses all over again, only 31 per cent of entrepreneurs born outside of Canada would develop a better business plan compared to 58 per cent of Canadian-born business owners.

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