Small Canadian businesses are feeling very optimistic about their future, according to Scotiabank’s fourth Path to Impact report. The report says 66 per cent of business owners are extremely optimistic about the future state of their business. Additionally, half of the respondents stated they are doing better since the peak of the pandemic.
Even with the majority of surveyed respondents stating their optimism about the future, 55 per cent of small business owners say they feel threatened by the increases in costs due to inflation or interest rates. Other business concerns include supply shortages (24 per cent), meeting demand (23 per cent) and hiring (23 per cent).
In the realm of tech, 18 per cent of Canadian business owners have implemented digital enhancements to keep up with demand. Among this nearly one-fifth of survey respondents:
- Forty-one per cent have installed virtual meeting programs
- Thirty-six per cent have introduced robotics to streamline operations
- Thirty-five per cent have implemented a cloud-based data platform
- Thirty per cent have introduced contactless payment
Concerning their growing business needs, small business owners believe AI technology (44 per cent) and improved access to financial advice (43 per cent) would be the most effective solutions.
The report includes these other survey results:
- Business owners aged 18-34 anticipate a greater need for financing compared to those over 55 (63 per cent vs 21 per cent)
- 90 per cent of small business owners have sought advice or support over the past two years.
- 30 per cent have turned to their bank’s digital resources – an increase over last year’s 24 per cent.
“As a result of these ever-present financial concerns, more business owners are reaching out for guidance, support and advice,” said Jascha Jabes, vice president, small business, Scotiabank. “Scotiabank is familiar with the complex needs of small business owners, and while it’s encouraging to see increased confidence, customers continue to seek tailored advice specific to their unique circumstances.”
Recommendations for small business owners
In its release, Scotiabank offered the following advice:
- Ensure access to capital to help grow or sustain your business, and protect your cash flow
- Secure financing options to help sustain future impact
- Invest in digital tools, including AI, to find efficiencies and streamline operations
- Lean on experienced and knowledgeable banking advisors for tailored advice
This piece was edited on October 11, 2023.