February 23, 2009 18:24 ET

Q4 Small Business Research Board Canada Key Issues Report: Small Businesses Report Economic Conditions Remain Among Top Issues

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

TORONTO--(Marketwire - February 23, 2009) - The Small Business Research Board (SBRB) reported today that Canadian small business owners and managers expect the economy to decline in the next 12 months and site economic concerns as the issue having the greatest impact on their businesses.

Of the respondents to the quarterly poll, completed in conjunction with IBA based here, 38% said they expect a slightly worse economy in the next year. This is an increase of three points from the previous poll, when 35% reported lowered expectations. Only 36% of small business owners and managers feel the economy will improve.

In regard to issues having the greatest impact on their businesses, 55% of respondents reported economic conditions remain the number-one concern. 13% said taxes were most affecting their businesses and 11% cited cost of materials.

46% of businesses expect an increase in revenue expectations. This is a decrease of nine points from the previous poll.

The current Canadian Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI) for the fourth quarter of 2008 is 37. 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.

"In looking at these numbers it would appear that the next 12 months are going to be trying for Canadian businesses," said Gregg M. Steinberg, President of IBA. "Canadian businesses started to feel the economic downturn later than U.S. businesses and when comparing U.S. and Canadian indexes, Canadian businesses believe they will be in a downturn until after the U.S. starts to recover."

Based on the responses, 29% of business owners and managers in Canada expect to increase hiring in the next 12 months, 39% expect their hiring practices to remain the same and 18% plan 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 and e-mail 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

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 1,600 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 2009 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 forth quarter 2008 reporting period follows.)

Small Business Research Board (SBRB)
Canadian Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI)
2nd Quarter 2007 - 4th Quarter 2008

2nd Q 2007   3rd Q 2007   4th Q 2007   1st Q 2008   2nd Q 2008   4th Q 2008
44.1         45           36.67        37.33        42           37

Small Business Research Board Canada Fourth Quarter 2008 Issues

Issues having greatest impact on business

1    Economic conditions
2    Taxes
3    Cost of materials
4    Interest rates

Expectations for hiring new employees during next 12 months

1    39% Remain the same
2    29% Increase hiring
3    18% Decrease workforce
4    14% Unsure

Contact Information