A new poll of Canadian entrepreneurs and business owners finds that nearly nine-in-10 (87 per cent) are optimistic about the future success of their business.
But when it comes to the economy overall, they are far less upbeat, with 44 per cent listing it as their top concern for 2020.
The CIBC Business Optimism Survey, a poll of 1,005 business owners across the country, probed entrepreneurs on issues pertaining to the economy, their business and innovation.
“Canadian entrepreneurs are building financial security with 74 per cent telling us their current financial situation is much better than before forming their business,” says Andrew Turnbull, Senior Vice-President, Business Banking, CIBC. “But some worry about what’s ahead for the economy with 44 per cent of entrepreneurs listing it as a top 2020 concern.”
Other concerns for the new year include:
Sustaining and growing margins/profitability: 38 per cent
Business taxes and employees/staffing: 33 per cent
Administrative concerns: 20 per cent
Regulatory/trade obstacles: 17 per cent
When asked about the top five ongoing challenges their organisation faces, entrepreneurs listed rising costs (59 per cent), competition (43 per cent), future growth prospects (40 per cent), HR and talent (39 per cent) and managing cash flow (32 per cent).
“Every entrepreneur faces unique challenges for their particular business, but the commonality of rising costs and heightened competition necessitate innovation to stay ahead of their industries whether it is to elevate customer experience or to create business efficiencies,” said Turnbull.
Innovation investments on the horizon
Three quarters of business owners (75 per cent) said they were “likely to invest in innovation for their company” in the next 12 months.
When asked what innovation means to them, the three top answers stood out from the rest: “being able to evolve my business to meet my customers’ changing needs” (26 percent), followed by using “new methods or technologies to achieve efficiencies” (23 per cent) and “providing service in a better or more differentiated way” (14 per cent).
When asked about adoption of digital tools and digitally-enabled services to help manage and grow their business, entrepreneurs said they:
Frequently used digital tools and embrace them: 45 per cent
Sometimes uses digital tools, but only when they need to: 32 per cent
Uses digital tools in almost every aspect of their life, and try new digital apps/digital ways of doing things: 14 per cent
Rarely used digital tools and avoid them whenever they can: 9 per cent