American Express Small Business Monitor reveals 75 per cent of small
business owners believe competition makes them work harder for their
MARKHAM, ON, July 15, 2014 /CNW/ - Competition in the business landscape
ensures small business owners (SBOs) continue to innovate, stay
motivated, and provide great customer service, according to the most
recent American Express Small Business Monitor. Often challenged with
standing out from the crowd, SBOs say they actually rely on competition
to shake off complacency within their business.
The quarterly Monitor reveals an overwhelming 98 per cent of SBOs admit
competition is an integral part of any business. In fact, over three
quarters (77%) of business owners state competition keeps them on top
of their game and most (79%) consider it an opportunity to be
"Competition forces business owners out of their comfort zone, and
that's what often makes a run-of-the-mill business become great," said
Athena Varmazis, VP and General Manager of Small Business Services,
American Express Canada. "It forces business owners to really define
what truly sets them apart from other players in the market."
SBOs leverage service to get ahead
SBOs recognize that great customer service not only helps generate
sales, but differentiates them from their competition, and while their
products or services may have similarities to other businesses, it's
the customer service experiences they offer that puts them ahead of the
pack. In fact, 97 per cent of SBOs believe that excellent customer
service is the best way to gain a competitive edge. They understand
that customer service is more complex than just one positive
interaction. Outstanding customer service is about building and
sustaining long term relationships, so it comes as no surprise that 97
per cent of business owners say it is their number one priority.
SBOs monitor competition big and small
While competition amongst SBOs is expected, many business owners also
consider large businesses their direct competition. In fact, 35 per
cent of SBOs dub this segment the most significant barrier to gaining a
Taking this into consideration, SBOs acknowledge the need to equip their
business with the tools necessary to stand out against a larger crowd
and are prioritizing tactics to flourish alongside large businesses.
Over half (58%) of all SBOs monitor all aspects of their competition on
a monthly basis, while 42 per cent specifically monitor their
competitors' advertising. As such, it's not surprising that 37 per cent
of business owners say they want to increase promotion and advertising
to stay competitive in the future.
"Small business owners are eager to play with the big guys," says
Varmazis. "Instead of looking at large businesses as an obstacle,
they're welcoming the competition."
SBOs display a substantial increase in their business outlook
Continuing to plunge forward, SBOs experience a higher optimism level
than last quarter and a significant increase from this time last year.
The increased willingness to take risks also demonstrates a sense of
stability from business owners.
"The drastic increase in business owners' optimism level speaks
volumes," says Varmazis. "The confidence boost is the latest sign that
SBOs have shifted into high gear."
Over half (52%) of SBOs report their business' current financial
position has increased, a significant increase since May 2013 (39%).
Almost two-thirds (64%) of SBOs remain hopeful about their future
financial position, and an overwhelming 89 per cent of SBOs remain
convinced that the advantages of running a business by far exceed the
risks and challenges.
About the American Express Small Business Monitor
From May 5 and May 15, 2014 Rogers Custom Research and Media Insights
conducted an online survey on behalf of American Express Small Business
Services with a sample of 633 Canadian small business owners each
employing between 2 and 100 people. The margin of error for the total
sample is +/- 3.8%, 19 times out of 20. In order to ensure the results
are representative of the entire population of small business owners
in Canada, the data have been statistically weighted for small business
by region according to Statistics Canada. Respondents were located
across Canada and came from a variety of industries, including health,
social services, education, tech, sales and skilled trades. Due to
rounding, some results may add to over 100 per cent.
About American Express Small Business Services
American Express Small Business Services (SBS) is dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners
and their companies. SBS supports business owners with exceptional service. We offer tailored products and services that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, cash flow management and rewards to help customers run their business. Specifically,
business owners can leverage an enhanced set of products, tools,
services and savings, including charge and credit cards, robust online
account management capabilities and savings on business services from
an expanded line-up of partners. To obtain more information about SBS,
visit www.amexforbusiness.ca or www.facebook.com/AmexforBusiness.
SOURCE: American Express
For further information:
or a full copy of the report, please contact:
Christina Peck, (416) 644-2295