/R E P E A T -- Media Advisory - Tips for Small Business on Surviving an Economic Downturn/

    Small Business Week starts today, are you ready?

    TORONTO, Oct. 19 /CNW/ - Every economic cycle presents unique
opportunities. The following provides a list of tips on managing through
turbulent times for small business owners and those planning on opening a

    Small Business Tips

    1.  Map out a business plan. Detail both short-term and long-term goals,
        taking into account as many factors as possible.

    2.  Create an Advisory Council. Build a close relationship with a
        commercial banker who can help you understand industry risks, provide
        advice and even networking opportunities. Creating an advisory
        council with a banker, lawyer, accountant and others can be a great
        way to collect information and generate ideas.

    3.  Thinking of Starting a Business? Consider a Franchise.

         -  Franchises are often backed by corporate offices with access to
            market research, competitive analysis, marketing and advertising,
            so new owners don't have to do it all on their own.
         -  Nearly four times as many franchises succeed, compared to
            independent small businesses.

    4.  Secure Finances. Small businesses have unique borrowing needs. Look
        for financing products designed with flexible features to meet small
        business objectives.
         -  Small Business Line of Credit/Small Business Homeowners Line of
            Credit. Small Business Lines of Credit can provide a
            variable-rate credit facility with a very competitive interest
            rate. Since you borrow only what you need, when you need it, you
            control your interest costs.
         -  BMO's Commercial loan insurance plan can help business owners
            prepare for every twist and turn that the future might hold.

    5.  Avoid the Pitfalls. Entrepreneurs are optimistic by nature - which
        is a good thing. While a recent Harris/Decima report commissioned by
        BMO Bank of Montreal showed that 92 per cent of small business owners
        believe they can withstand financial difficulties, almost two-thirds
        were so confident that they had no contingency plan in place in the
        event of an economic downturn.
         -  Contingency planning should be of paramount importance
            particularly in times of economic volatility.
         -  Small business owners should seek advice from a commercial banker
            on how to develop a contingency plan that is best-suited to their
            business needs.

    6.  Networking. Look for networking opportunities in your area that are
        specific to your industry. Remember, your banker, lawyer and
        accountant can be great sources for business contacts.

    7.  Stay informed. Regardless of the economic conditions it's critical
        for small business owners to stay on top of current affairs.
        Subscribe to your local and national newspapers, trade publications
        and online resource guides. Take advantage of free and credible
        information sources.

    For time-pressed business owners, download the free BMO Business Coach
podcast series featuring PROFIT Magazine editor Ian Portsmouth. Check it out
at www.bmo.com/podcast.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Kasia Lech, kasia.lech@bmo.com,
(416) 867-3996; Laurie Grant, laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596; Lucie
Gosselin, lucie.gosselin@bmo.com, (514) 877-8224

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