Microsoft Canada

Microsoft Canada

March 30, 2010 09:30 ET

Growth is on the Agenda for Two-Thirds of Canadian Small Business Owners, Survey Finds

Steam Whistle Brewing, Cupid's Gourmet Cupcakes among SMBs who showcase power of technology to enable and manage strategic growth

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 30, 2010) - Innovation and growth are top of mind among Canadian small businesses, according to the results of an Angus Reid Public Opinion survey released today by Microsoft Canada Inc. Sixty-three per cent of small business decision makers say their companies will experience growth in the next six months, and they are looking to technology to help them better manage current growth while helping them proactively plan for future business success. The survey also found that lack of capital (45%) and qualified staffs (28%) are the top two barriers for business growth.

"Small business owners are the backbone of the Canadian economy and helping small business owners succeed and grow is a priority for Microsoft," said Neil Tanner, Vice-President, Small Business, Midmarket Solutions & Partners, Microsoft Canada. "It's gratifying to see so much optimism, but as a former entrepreneur, I know that growth can become unmanageable unless the right people, tools and processes are in place. Technology helps make it easy for business owners to plan and manage for growth, while empowering them to focus on what they do best, be it sell, brew or bake."

Empowering People at Steam Whistle Brewing

Toronto-based Steam Whistle Brewing, saw itself grow from what Greg Taylor, Co-Founder, calls "three guys and a dream" to one of Canada's largest micro-breweries, with 126 employees. With a 20 per cent year-over-year growth objective, Steam Whistle has even bigger plans for the future.

"Along the way, we learned that growth comes when you have dedicated employees armed with the right technology" said Taylor. "This way, we can ensure we are there for our customers and for each other, we can grow strategically, manage change, and stay true to our culture and our commitment to customers at each stage of our evolution."

Recently, Steam Whistle turned to the Microsoft® Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) to help employees better manage their time, allow them to work together easily and stay connected with customers from any location."It was a smart move. BPOS gives my employees the tools they need at a low monthly cost – I only pay for what I use and can easily add technology when the time is right. That means we spend less time worrying about technology, and more time focused on building our brand."

Cupid's Gourmet Cupcakes Keeps Costs in Check

In 2008, after 15 years as a math teacher, Niki Brinton decided she needed a break. She developed her own cupcake recipes, started baking from her kitchen and began selling through word-of-mouth. Shortly after, her daughter was diagnosed with a nut allergy, and Brinton adjusted her products accordingly. With this new competitive advantage came a surge in demand and a unique market opportunity.

"I used to do everything by hand and write things on paper – it was becoming too time-consuming and extremely inefficient," says Brinton. To help manage growth, Brinton invested in new technology, including Microsoft Windows® 7 and Microsoft Office 2007. Armed with a winning recipe, loyal customer following and the right technology, Brinton launched Cupid's Gourmet Cupcakes' on Valentine's Day, with four full-time and seven part-time employees.

"Today all our costing, conversions, recipes and inventory ordering are paperless. The time efficiency and costs savings that I get from this one piece of technology is invaluable, I'm certain that my doors would close without it," adds Brinton.

Small businesses are a barometer for an economy – and when they are growing and succeeding all Canadians benefit," said Tanner. "In an environment where resources are tight and costs must be contained, small business owners are leading the charge and taking calculated risks and investing in technology to help achieve their growth plans both today and in the future.

Additional National Statistics:

  • Today's SMB owners are focussed on maximizing employee effectiveness (89%), eliminating inefficient processes (86%) and reducing wasted time and cutting costs (84%).
  • Technology is an important enabler of growth for small businesses, especially in terms of its ability to facilitate communication with customers (79%), manage time (62%) and administer their business (49%)
    • Seventy-one per cent of small business owners in Quebec agree that technology helps improve their ability to communicate with customers. 
    • Over half of small business owners in British Columbia believe that investing in technology can help increase their customer satisfaction and retain their customer base. 

*The online poll of 1,004 small business decision makers who work in companies with 99 or fewer employees across Canada was conducted in March 2010 by Angus Reid Public Opinion.

About Microsoft Canada

Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT"), the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Microsoft Canada is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario with MSN.CA offices located in Toronto and eight regional offices across the country. The company supports local communities across Canada by creating innovative technology and partnerships that help people realize their full potential. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca.

©2010 Microsoft Canada Inc. Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark 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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