SOURCE: International Profit Associates

September 17, 2008 16:23 ET

Q2 Small Business Research Board Canada Key Issues Report: Small Businesses Report Economic Conditions Are Among Top Issues

Study Indicates Small Businesses Expect a Slightly Improved Economy in the Coming Year

TORONTO--(Marketwire - September 17, 2008) - The Small Business Research Board (SBRB) reported today that Canadian small business owners and managers have the same concerns as U.S. small businesses including economic conditions, energy/fuel costs and taxes. Businesses in Canada project a slightly improved economy for the next 12 months.

Of the respondents to the quarterly poll, completed in conjunction with Integrated Business Analysis (IBA) based here, 24% said that economic conditions were having the greatest impact on their businesses, followed closely by 19% reporting energy/fuel costs and 18% citing taxes.

In a slight improvement over last quarter, 65% of businesses expect a better or flat economy. This is an increase of three points from the previous poll. 41% report they are feeling inflationary pressures. For those businesses adjusting to inflationary pressures, 61% have raised prices and 27% have added or increased shipping/handling costs. Reducing other operating costs finished third among the poll.

The current Canadian Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI) for the second quarter of 2008 is 42. 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, providing the basis for these quarterly and annual comparisons.

"The Canadian SBCI has increased over the last three quarters in stark contrast to the U.S. SBCI which has taken an opposite track and is at a historic low," said Gregg M. Steinberg, President of International Profit Associates (IPA). "Key questions remain whether the Canadian, forward-looking viewpoint is a function of the weakening of the U.S. dollar or signs of a recovery on the horizon."

Based on the responses, 33% of business owners and managers in Canada expect to increase hiring in the next 12 months. Only 6% expect to decrease their workforce.

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

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 www.ipasbrb.com.

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.

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.

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)
2nd Quarter 2007 – 2nd Quarter 2008

2nd Q 2007   3rd Q 2007   4th Q 2007   1st Q 2008   2nd Q 2008
  44.1          45          36.67        37.33         42


    Small Business Research Board Canada Second Quarter 2008 Issues

Issues having greatest impact on business

1       Economic conditions
2       Energy/fuel costs
3       Taxes
4       Finding quality employees

Business response to inflation

1       61% Raising prices
2       27% Adding or increasing shipping/handling costs
3       21% Reducing other operating costs
4       19% Renegotiating customer pricing agreements
5       15% Reducing lead times

Contact Information