SOURCE: Small Business Research Board

March 26, 2008 11:30 ET

Fewer Small Businesses in Canada Considering Expansion Says Latest Small Business Research Board Study; Second Consecutive Quarterly Drop Parallels Decline in Business Confidence

TORONTO--(Marketwire - March 26, 2008) - The Small Business Research Board (SBRB) reported today 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.

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.

The Small Business Research Board ascertains and reports the opinions of small business owners and managers on a wide variety of topics related to their own businesses as well as national and international issues that may impact their operations. The SBRB conducts these studies for the benefit of small business owners and managers. The SBRB also provides opportunities for third parties to gain real time insight into the attitudes of small businesses nationwide through the independently conducted research.

The universe of participants is developed from small businesses across Canada. The SBRB study is a voluntary survey conducted via direct telephone contact. The SBRB, based in Northfield, Il., has conducted similar quarterly studies in the U.S. since 2004. The latest information about the Small Business Research Board can be found at www.biznus.net.

Integrated Business Analysis, Inc. (IBA) along with affiliate companies is the largest privately held provider of management consulting services to small and medium-size businesses in North America. The more than 1,800 professionals in North America offer a wide range of proven and innovative methodologies to help businesses grow and prosper regardless of the economic cycle. IBA either provides directly or through its affiliated companies a comprehensive array of business advisory services, tax and estate planning services or merger, acquisition and other financial advisory services in Canada and the United States.

For more information about this poll, results of previous studies or other matters related to the SBRB, please contact Raymond D. Minkus, (847) 441-4192.

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