SOURCE: Small Business Research Board

May 08, 2008 11:44 ET

Q1 Small Business Research Board Canada Key Issues Report: Small Businesses Are Raising Prices in Response to Fuel Costs During First Quarter Says Latest SBRB Report; Economic Conditions Are Among Top Issues

Study Indicates Small Businesses Expect No Change to or Worse Economy in the Coming Year

TORONTO--(Marketwire - May 8, 2008) - The Small Business Research Board (SBRB) reported today that businesses are raising prices in response to increased fuel costs. Fuel costs and economic conditions were the greatest concern of small business owners and managers in Canada during the first quarter of 2008.

Of the respondents to the quarterly poll, completed in conjunction with Integrated Business Analysis (IBA) based here, 64% said they have raised prices in response to the increase in fuel costs. For those businesses adjusting to an increase in fuel prices, 53% have reduced other business costs and 45% have reduced business travel.

Economic conditions were cited as the single most significant issue during the first quarter, with 28% of the participants indicating that it was their most problematic concern. Taxes were the second most significant issue with 11% of the responses. Finding quality employees ranked third in the concerns owners and managers have regarding the greatest impacts on their businesses. Cost of materials and energy/fuel cost concerns finished fifth among the poll.

The current Canadian Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI) for the first quarter of 2008 is 37.33. The SBRB originally established a Canadian SBCI in the second quarter of 2007. The initial index of 44 denotes opinions and projections about business confidence. The strength of the economy, revenues and hiring looking forward 12 months are the three key ingredients to determining the SBCI and providing the basis for these quarterly and annual comparisons.

The universe of participants is developed from among small businesses across Canada. The SBRB study is a voluntary survey conducted via direct telephone contact.

"While the Canadian SBCI is at 37.33, it is slightly higher than the 36.67 registered in the previous quarter," said Gregg M. Steinberg, President of IBA. "It is clear that the impact of increased fuel costs, coupled with economic conditions, continue to have a major impact on the outlook for small- and medium-size businesses throughout Canada."

Based on the responses, 72% of business owners and managers in Canada expect no change to or a worse economy in the next 12 months. Only 28% believe the outlook for the general economy will be better.

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 SBRB, based in Buffalo Grove, Ill., has conducted similar quarterly studies in the U.S. since 2004. The latest information about the Small Business Research Board can be found at

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.

Note to editors: (Historical SBCI text and graphic charts beginning with the second quarter reporting period of 2007 through the first quarter 2008 reporting period follows.)

Small Business Research Board (SBRB)
Canadian Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI)
4th Quarter 2005 - 1st Quarter 2008
2nd Q   3rd Q   4th Q   1st Q
 2007    2007    2007    2008
 44.1      45   36.67   37.33

Small Business Research Board Canada First Quarter 2008 Issues

Issues having greatest impact on business
1    Economic conditions
2    Taxes
3    Finding quality employees
T-4  Cost of materials
T-4  Energy/fuel costs
Business response to fuel prices
1    64% Raising prices
2    53% Reducing other costs
3    45% Reducing business travel
T-4  23% Adding or increasing shipping/handling costs
T-4  23% Eliminating routes or reducing length of delivery routes
T-4  23% Boosting miles per gallon efficiency on existing vehicles
T-5  20% Ordering fewer materials
T-5  20% Ordering materials from sources closer to the business operations

Copyright 2008 Small Business Research Board (SBRB)

For more information about this poll, results of previous studies or other matters related to the SBRB, please contact Jennifer Cumbee, (847) 495-6786.

Contact Information

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    Jennifer Cumbee
    Small Business Research Board
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