New Capterra research reveals Canadian small businesses have faced a variety of operational challenges over the last year, including supply chain disruptions, the national labour shortage, and increased cybersecurity risks. The company surveyed over 500 managers of SMEs on their experiences and approaches to these problems.
Supply chain disruptions
More than three quarters of SMEs surveyed said they have experienced supply disruptions over the past year. And 61 per cent of surveyed managers reporting issues say the supply-related disruptions they’ve faced are moderate, while 17 per cent say their business has been significantly impacted by them. When asked what caused the disruption to their supply, many respondents pointed to the instability of supply chains.
Other factors included supplier-enforced order limits, as well as uncertain fulfillment and delivery times.
To help offset the impact of the supply chain challenges, managers adjusted their product offerings based on availability, which helped prevent unfilled orders and unsatisfied customers. Thirty four per cent of managers purchased products to ensure sufficient inventory, and 33 per cent ordered larger upfront quantities in advance. About 32 per cent worked with local suppliers.
The majority of surveyed business owners have already, or plan to, increase retail prices to offset rising supply chain costs.
Canada’s ongoing labour shortage is another obstacle many Canadian businesses faced this year. Of the company leaders surveyed, more than a third said problems recruiting and retaining employees affected their business.
Thirty five per cent of managers struggled to hire talent and had difficulty finding customer service workers. In addition, many also had a hard time finding employees for other departments, such as customer experience, IT, and general management.
To help solve this problem, surveyed SMEs increased salary offerings, considered candidates outside of their typical criteria, and advertised open jobs in new ways.
As cybersecurity threats continue to remain a problem for many businesses, 69 per cent of those surveyed were aware of at least one current vulnerability in their business. However nearly a third felt confident they did not have any.
The most common cybersecurity software used included anti-virus software, which 67 per cent of those surveyed cited. Others include firewall software, data backup tools, and email security managers.
In fact, the most common cyber threats Canadian companies faced in 2022 were email-related incidents, which impacted 36 per cent of companies. Additionally, 12 per cent have had their account taken over by hackers, and eight per cent had experienced a ransomware attack within the last 12 months.