Microsoft Canada Co.

Microsoft Canada Co.

September 17, 2007 09:00 ET

Boomers Seek Ways to Reduce Risk, While Younger Business Owners Seek Growth Opportunities

New survey reveals generational differences in technology priorities for SMBs

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 17, 2007) - Age isn't the only characteristic that separates Boomers from younger business owners - they also have different attitudes toward technology, according to survey results released today by Ipsos Reid(i) on behalf of Microsoft Canada Co.

Fifty-nine per cent of experienced SMB owners (55+) believe "a security solution that ensures my data is safe and not at risk" is top of their list as the technology they can't live without to run their business. This age group is also more likely to resort to a "backup tool to ensure their business records are safely stored" (57%) and utilize the "contacts/address book in my email application" (47%) to keep track of business records within their organization.

On the other hand, younger generation entrepreneurs (18 to 34) place more emphasis on newer technology that can help generate strategic growth opportunities. This generation was most likely (53%) to say they can't live without a "website that helps raise awareness of my business offerings both locally and globally." They are also the most likely generation to say they can't live without "mobile devices to help employees stay connected" (50%). Finally, the younger generation wants to go beyond the basic contact/address book to ensure business records are safe; as many (38%) rely on customer relationship management software.

The survey found that two thirds (63%) of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada have what would be described as multiple age generations of employees within their business, and over half (52%) of all small business owners agree that "as small and medium business owners retire, technology will help sustain and grow their business for the next generation."

Lawrence Barns, CEO of the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise, agrees that technology can help the next generation business owner manage and promote business growth.

"Younger entrepreneurs are usually more focused on growing the business while the previous generation is thinking about transferring management or ownership," says Barns. "The key for SMBs is finding the right mix of technology - this is what will help them both grow and ensure that important knowledge transfer takes place."

Started over 27 years ago by Bob Simpson, Canadian SMB The Pool Shoppe continues to thrive today with the assistance of his daughter, Dana, who helped her father realize the value of technology and how vital customer information needs to be easily accessible to all employees.

"The success of our business is built on my father's strong, long lasting customer relationships," says Dana Simpson, The Pool Shoppe. "Since implementing Microsoft based technology we have been able to build on his efforts, allowing my dad to take a step back from the day-to-day management of the business while continuing to maintain and grow the information base and customer relationships he built over the years."

Considering the multi-generational landscape of today's small and medium businesses it is important for technology companies to offer solutions designed to meet the unique and changing needs of all SMB owners.

"Small and medium businesses play a vital role in Canada's marketplace as they continue to be a key driver in our economy," says Vu Ngo, SMB Segment Manager, Microsoft Canada Co. "Microsoft is committed to providing technology solutions to help continue this momentum and assist SMB owners in sustaining and growing their business for the next generation."

Microsoft understands the challenges that SMB business owners face and has created a breadth of technology solutions designed to meet their specific needs. From enhanced security and back up capabilities of Windows® Small Business Server 2003 R2 and the Windows Server System™ to customer relationship management solutions like Microsoft Dynamics™ CRM, business owners have access to the right solutions to help manage and grow their business. Microsoft is delivering solutions to help SMBs succeed now and in the future.

Additional survey results (all generations):

- 69% believe that "the next generation of SMBs use technology to increase profits and grow their customer base"

- 63% agree that a "younger generation of employees bring fresh insight on how technology can improve business productivity"

- 54% agree that "younger employees are generally more enthusiastic about technology"

- 57% believe "more experienced employees have more business savvy while younger employees have more technology experience"

(i) These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of Microsoft from August 10-August 27, 2007. For the survey, a randomly selected sample of 1,230 small and medium size businesses were interviewed online. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ±2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of business owners with 2-250 employees been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's regional and employee size composition reflects that of the actual Canadian small and medium size businesses according to Census data.

About Microsoft Canada

Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Co. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has 10 regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca.

(C) 2007 Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft, Microsoft Dynamics, Windows and Windows Server System are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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