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Business Growth Slows


May 23, 2008
By Cam Wood


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NEWS HIGHLIGHT


Business Growth Slows

The Small Business Research Board (SBRB) recently reported that only 22% of the small businesses in Canada are considering expansion the next 12 to 24 months.

The Small Business Research Board (SBRB) recently reported that only 22% of the small businesses in Canada are considering expansion the next 12 to 24 months. It is the second consecutive quarter that the percentage of owners and managers considering expanding their businesses has declined.

According to the fourth quarter report issued today, the percentage of business owners and managers considering expansion dropped five points from the 27% who were considering expansion during the third quarter of 2007. During the second quarter, 34% said they intended to expand their businesses.

The study parallels the findings of the previous released SBRB report that the Canada Small Business Confidence Index (Canada – SBCI) declined to 36.67 or more than 8 points (18.5 %) during the fourth quarter of 2007 from the prior poll of business owners and managers.

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The fourth quarter 2007 SBRB study co-sponsored by Integrated Business Analysis (IBA) indicated that decreased plans for hiring during the next 12 months was the principal reason for the decline, even though declines also occurred in the two other categories comprising the index. The overall SBCI last reported during the third quarter of 2007 was 45. Nearly 150 businesses participated in the SBRB poll.

Of the 22% who said they intend to expand, most owners and managers said they will concentrate on product and service offerings as well as customer service enhancements to grow their operations. Nearly one-third (31%) of the participants said they will provide more services, 27% will add new products and 19% will enhance their customer service.

Concurrently, the same owners and managers will depend most heavily on staff training and implementation or enhancement of employee incentive programs to improve productivity. Improvements in existing automation and technology, adding more staff and adding more automation and technology trailed as the next three most important ingredients to increasing near term productivity.