With willingness to take a risk at the lowest level in almost two years,
SBOs are focused on improving their current product line instead of
developing net new products.
MARKHAM, ON, Dec. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - In an economy where business is a
rapidly changing environment, gaining a sustainable edge has become top
of mind and more important than ever for small business owners
(SBOs).However, as small business owners look to a variety of sources
for innovative ideas, they are reserving their efforts to further
expand their current product offerings.
The quarterly American Express Small Business Monitor revealed small
business owners continue to experience a negative outlook on their
business' potential. However, they recognize the longevity of their
company's success hinges on their current products or services. While
innovation remains a priority, improving their current product line
(43%) is emphasized as the most important factor to the future success
of their company. SBOs understand that while bringing new products to
the market is important; but delivering fresh thinking to their current
offerings is key. This takes greater precedence over creating new
Small business owners show a willingness to invest in research and
development, yet a knowledge gap exists for available resources
It is evident SBOs value research and development as they spent an
average of 11% of their total revenue on this in the last year. SBOs
also reported they plan to increase this budget to 12.7% in the next
year. However, SBOs are neglecting to explore the full extent of
government resources specifically designed to alleviate their
The survey revealed while Canadian SBOs are eligible for the Scientific
Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit, more than
half (58%) of businesses have never heard of it. Furthermore, over one
fourth (28%) have heard about the SR&ED tax credit, but don't apply.
Canadian SBOs are missing the opportunity to gain valuable resources
and funds as the average grant for the SR&ED tax credit is $67,832.
"While it is positive to see SBOs investing largely in research and
development, it is surprising to see the data reveal the complacence
when it comes to taking advantage of financial breaks," says Athena
Varmazis, Vice President and General Manager, Small Business Services,
American Express Canada. "As a result, they are missing out on robust
government resources that can help their businesses thrive."
SBOs rely on their instincts yet welcome feedback from their employees
The Monitor revealed over half (61%) of SBOs identify sales, marketing
and branding as an area where innovation is most required, yet they
continue to recognize the need for further investment in customer
For that reason, 66% of SBOs report they have implemented ideas in the
past two years focused on improving their existing products and
services. Over half (63%) of Canada's SBOs rely on their instincts when
testing the effectiveness of a new product or service.
While SBOs most often place serious consideration on their own ideas
(42%) for new products/services, they acknowledge the insight their
employees and current clients offer their business. Nearly half (47%)
of SBOs report customer suggestions as the source that provides the
best ideas for improving products and services.
Entrepreneurs are also acknowledging their employees in relation to
internal business processes. Over one fourth (34%) of SBOs report
employees provide the best suggestions for improving how the company
operates day to day from accounting to administration practices.
"It is refreshing to see SBOs embracing the feedback from both their
clients and employees alike," says Varmazis. "This allows them to not
only inherit valuable insight into their business strategy, customer
service model and their internal operations, but presents the
opportunity for them to successfully evolve."
Optimism about the financial state of their business continues to
decline amongst SBOs leading into the last quarter of the year
In terms of the quarterly index portion of the survey, the Monitor
reveals there is a continued decline in SBOs optimism levels. While
over half (52%) of SBOs remain hopeful about their future financial
position, this is down 5 points from last quarter (57%).
Although over four in five (81%) SBOs remain confident their business
will grow over the next six months, there continues to be a decline
from last quarter in the overall perception of their business'
financial state. Thirty-eight per cent of SBOs report their business'
current financial position is improving, down 8 points since last
quarter (46%) and down 11 points since November 2011 (49%).
About the American Express Small Business Monitor
From October 26th and November 6th, 2012, Rogers Connect Market Research conducted an online survey on
behalf of American Express Small Business Services with a sample of 535
Canadian small business owners each employing between 2 and 100 people.
The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 4.2%, 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,
control 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:
For further information or a full copy of the report, please contact:
Isabella Mise, (416) 644-2293
Christina Peck, (416) 644-2295