Small business owners have no regrets: Scotiabank Study

Better time management and not doing everything at once are key learnings

TORONTO, Oct. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Just over two-in-five (42%) small business owners have no regrets about the actions they took (or did not take) when they first started their company, according to a Scotiabank Small Business Poll.  Looking back, small business owners admit they wish they would have better estimated the number of hours they would need to put into their business (19%) and to not have tried to do it all at once (19%).

Quick Facts:

  • When it came to seeking advice for their start-up, 32% of small business owners talked to their family or friends, 28% turned to their accountant, however 26% did not seek any advice.
  • Just over half (53%) of small business owners cite the ability to be one's own boss as their favourite aspect of being a small business owner followed by having creative control over the company (26%).
  • While the average age of owners at the time they started their business was 40, there are as many business owners who started their company when they were under 30 (22%) as there are owners who started their company at age 50 or older (24%).
  • The top reasons for starting a small business are jumping on an opportunity (24%), pursuing a lifelong dream to be their own boss (16%) and making a career/life change (15%).
  • Finding customers was the biggest obstacle that small business owners faced when they first started their company (32%), followed by balancing a family and business (19%), access to credit (16%), and managing cash flow (14%).


"Small business owners bring their unique mix of passion, innovation and vigor to the often challenging reality of running a successful small business," says John Roberts, Scotiabank's Vice President of Small Business. "Sometimes this same passion can create overly optimistic assumptions particularly if they are trying to do everything themselves. A team of trusted advisors like an accountant, a lawyer, and a small business banker, can help small business owners achieve success by challenging their assumptions, highlighting risks in their business plans and providing different viewpoints and strategies ."

Top 5 Tips for Starting a Small Business

1. Develop a sound business plan. Successful entrepreneurs do a lot of background
research before they sell their products and services. A business plan pulls it all
together. Your plan will include, among other things, the following:
  • The type of business you are creating.
  • The goals of your business — for both the short term and longer term.
  • How you intend to accomplish those goals.
  • An understanding of the marketplace, the competition, and your potential customers.
  • How you intend to finance your business.
2. Invest in your own education. Self-education could be as specific as learning how
the latest piece of software can help your business. Or it could be mastering the
different skills you'll need to run your business, such as marketing, finance, and
customer service. The more you can learn about the overall operations of your
business, the better your decisions may be - particularly if you run a smaller
company that requires you to wear more than one hat.
3. Get your finances in order. Save as much money as you can before you start your
business: You may need to draw on your savings in the early stages. You should
also establish and maintain a good credit history, which will help you when you
need to borrow money for your business.
4. Keep your overhead low. There are many stories of entrepreneurs starting out in
their garages until they have built up their business. Starting small and keeping
your costs low lets you make mistakes on a much smaller scale and gives you
the time to learn from them. Email and the Internet make it easy to start your
business from your home.
5. Learn from the experts. Take advantage of the expertise of an accountant and
your business banker. An accountant can help you with the books, find ways to
keep your costs low, and do your tax return. Your business banker can advise
you on cash flow, the use of credit, investments, and borrowing, among other
things. He or she can also share best business practices.

Small business owners can visit for free information, tips, blogs, whitepapers, videos, webinars and more to help them develop and grow their business.

About the polling data
For this survey, TNS Canada conducted online interviews among 501 owners/partners of small businesses with under $5 million annual revenue. In tabulation, data was weighted to be representative of the small business universe in terms of annual revenue and region. The survey was conducted between September 25 and 30, 2013.

About Scotiabank
Scotiabank is a leading multinational financial services provider and Canada's most international bank. With more than 83,000 employees, Scotiabank and its affiliates serve some 21 million customers in more than 55 countries around the world. Scotiabank offers a broad range of products and services including personal, commercial, corporate and investment banking. In December 2012, Scotiabank became the first Canadian bank to be named Global Bank of the Year and Bank of the Year in the Americas by The Banker magazine, a Financial Times publication. With assets of $743 billion (as at July 31, 2013), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (BNS) and New York Exchanges (BNS). For more information please visit



SOURCE: Scotiabank - Products & Services

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