Microsoft Canada Co.

Microsoft Canada Co.

October 11, 2006 00:05 ET

Small Business Owners Recommend Having the Right Technology Before Starting their Business

Microsoft Canada Co. survey finds 88 per cent agree that technology is like a silent partner that helps them deliver better customer service and close more sales

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 11, 2006) - Microsoft Canada Co. captured small business owners' views in a new national survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid(i) and found that 90 per cent of women vs. 85 per cent of men recommend having the right technology in place before launching a small business. But both agree (81 per cent) that technology allows them to compete with bigger corporations better than ever before.

Although female small business owners see the value of investing in technology up front, both sexes agree that technology increases their competitiveness because they can access relevant and timely business information (75 per cent) and use it to manage and win new customers (71 per cent). Interestingly enough, majorities of both men (85 per cent) and women (88 per cent) believe that mobile technology gives today's small business owners the flexibility to balance business with pleasure and 45 per cent agree that they save at least an hour a day by being able to get their work done while on the road.

For many Canadians achieving work/life balance is a top priority. Seventy-two per cent of small business owners agree that this is the most common reason to leave the corporate world while 46 per cent leave to follow their passion. Kari Smith chose to leave her corporate job ten years ago to spend more time with her family while pursuing her passion for wedding planning and cake decorating. In order to manage her growing business, Magical Moments, Smith invested in Microsoft® office productivity software and turned to Microsoft Small Business + (www.microsoft.ca/sbplus), a free online resource that provides access to business and software training, to get the most out of her IT investment.

"Microsoft software and Small Business + gave me the competitive advantage I needed to get ahead and helped me strike the right balance between my work and my family life," says Kari Smith, President, Magical Moments. "By using technology to help organize my day and meet the needs of my customers I had enough extra time to open a second business called Elite Party Rentals and start teaching a course at Georgian College."

Microsoft understands the challenges that small business owners face and has created technology solutions, free online resources and a partner ecosystem to help entrepreneurs get the most out of their technology investment. From server technology like Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 to Microsoft Small Business Technology Specialists - today small business owners can access the right people and technology to help them grow their business and achieve greater work/life balance.

"Balance is a key factor for most entrepreneurs when deciding to become self-employed, but this is especially true for women. Entrepreneurs recognize that today's technology can help them to find work/life balance while still providing them with the tools and resources they need to grow their businesses more efficiently and effectively," says Ruth Bastedo, President, Women Entrepreneurs of Canada (WEC).

"To succeed in today's competitive marketplace, small business owners must be equally as strategic about their business ventures as they are passionate," said Eric Gales, Vice President, Small and Mid-Market Solutions & Partners, Microsoft Canada Co. "Microsoft is committed to helping Canadian small businesses better manage and grow their organization by providing them with affordable technology solutions and resources that they need to compete."

Interesting stats:

- A strong majority (95 per cent) of female small business owners agree that they must be more technologically-savvy than ever before to run a small business.

- If offered a software wish-list, men (42 per cent) are more likely than women to upgrade their productivity software.

- Women were more likely than men to agree that technology helps them promote their business (77 per cent vs. 68 per cent).

- Mobile devices and software are most popular among 18-34 year old small business owners (45 per cent vs. 32 per cent over the age of 35).

- Men (23 per cent) are more likely than women (16 per cent) to want greater flexibility and be able to share files with colleagues in and out of the office.

(i)The online poll of 1054 small business owners (small business was defined as 15 or fewer employees) across Canada was conducted in September 2006 by Ipsos-Reid.

About Microsoft Canada

Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Co. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has 10 regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca

(C)2006 Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark of 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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