BMO Financial Group
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BMO Financial Group
BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

September 29, 2014 06:00 ET

BMO Small Business Confidence Report: Business Owners' Confidence Up from Spring

- Majority of business owners' expect their business to grow in 2015

- Business owners in British Columbia have the highest Confidence Index score heading into this fall

- More than half of Canadian businesses believe 2015 will be better

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 29, 2014) - According to the semi-annual BMO Small Business Confidence Report released today, Canadian business owners' confidence in the state of the economy and their business prospects has risen compared to earlier this year, with more than half of entrepreneurs expecting 2015 will be a better year for their company.

The BMO Small Business Confidence Report produces an index score that measures the level of confidence small business owners have in the economy and their business prospects based on a series of key indicators, including their predictions for performance, economic outlook, growth expectations and plans for investment. As a single-figure snapshot of small business confidence, the current index score registers at 68 out of 100 - up slightly from this past spring (65 out of 100).

"Small Business Month is around the corner, and according to the semi-annual outlook, Canadian small business owners believe their organizations are in good-health and are picking up momentum in order to rebuild the solid business foundation of previous years," said Steve Murphy, Head, Canadian Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Of particular interest, business owners from nearly every province, have an increased level of optimism compared to earlier this year."

BMO Small Business Confidence Index Scores:

OUTLOOK NATIONAL BC AB PRAIRES ON QC ATL
Confidence Index Score Fall 2014 68 75 69 65 66 64 66
Spring 2014 65 69 70 61 67 58 63
Fall 2013 70 74 73 60 70 70 68
Spring 2013 59 64 59 54 59 57 62

2015 Expected to be Better for Business: Business owners across the country share a positive outlook for the year ahead; up three points from March 2014.

Overall B.C. AB PRAIRIES ON QC ATL
Believe 2015 will be better for business 59% 64% 66% 61% 56% 55% 63%
Believe 2015 will be worse for business 14% 6% 15% 24% 20% 7% 18%

View on the Economy: More than half of Canadian business owners believe the economy will be better for the remainder of 2014; up from 47 per cent in the spring.

Overall B.C. AB PRAIRIES ON QC ATL
Expect the economy to be better for the rest of 2014 51% 61% 58% 65% 47% 41% 56%
Expect the economy to be worsen for the rest of 2014 9% 4% 5% 12% 11% 11% 10%

Growth Prospects: Businesses owners are five times more likely to expect their business to growth rather than shrink, up 5 per cent compared to this last spring.

Overall B.C. AB PRAIRIES ON QC ATL
Expect business to grow in 2015 51% 59% 48% 40% 54% 45% 56%
Expect business to shrink in 2015 8% 7% 6% 12% 9% 7% 10%

Investing in 2015: One-quarter of business owners plan to invest more in their business in 2015, down from 28 per cent earlier this year.

Overall B.C. AB PRAIRIES ON QC ATL
Plan to invest more in 2015 25% 38% 20% 22% 25% 19% 24%
Plan to invest less in 2015 16% 8% 9% 21% 18% 20% 15%

Mr. Murphy noted that Canadian business can get a head start with the BMO® Biz Starter for Small Business. With the tools and expertise to simplify your finances, BMO can be a big part of growing your business. Find out more at www.bmo.com/bizstarter.

Business owners' who sign up for BMO® Biz Starter for Small Business will also get access to an innovative new product called PAYDTM‡ Pro - Canada's first smartphone-based mobile Interac® Debit and credit payment solution using EMV®+ Chip & PIN and contactless technology - which enables BMO customers to accept debit and credit card payments on the go.

For more information on BMO and PAYD Pro, please visit our website or drop by a local branch.

Results cited above come from a Pollara telephone survey with 502 Canadian business owners, conducted between August 11th and 28th, 2014. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 4.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services organization based in North America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had more than $586 billion in total assets and approximately 47,000 employees at July 31, 2014.

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