Small business owners cite cash flow and sales volume as hardest hit by economic downturn; majority anticipate recovery in medium term: Scotiabank study

    TORONTO, June 22 /CNW/ - While the current economic downturn is a concern
for most small business owners, the majority are taking it in stride. A recent
study conducted by Scotiabank gauging the current mindset of Canadian small
business owners found that the economy captured about the same amount of
attention (12 per cent) as other core elements of operating a small business,
including keeping/finding customers (15 per cent), expense management (11 per
cent) and labour/staffing issues (10 per cent).
    Three-quarters (72 per cent) of small business owners reported moderate
to no concern at all about the long term impact the economy will have on their
companies. However, of the almost one third (28 per cent) who indicated great
concern, apprehension is highest among small business owners in Ontario (31
per cent) and Atlantic Region (30 per cent), followed by BC and the Prairies,
both at 27 per cent.
    "Not surprisingly, small business owners are concerned about how current
economic conditions may affect the long range success of their businesses.
However it is encouraging that most of this concern is more temperate in
nature. Successful small business owners are accustomed to making adjustments
to address challenges and capitalize on opportunities," said Kyle McNamara,
Managing Director and Head of Small Business at Scotiabank. "Another positive
sign is that the majority of business owners surveyed see light at the end of
the tunnel, with more than half (52 per cent) anticipating economic recovery
within the next six months to sometime next year, while another 11 per cent
believe it's already started."
    According to the study, small business owners cited cash flow (25 per
cent) and sales revenue (23 per cent) as being hardest hit by the economic
downturn, followed by new customer acquisition (19 per cent) and competition
(19 per cent).
    In an effort to manage current conditions, about one third (33 per cent)
of business owners have modified their business plans, focusing on expense
management (40 per cent) and adjusting employee hours/downsizing (19 per
cent). Thirty-five per cent of those surveyed said they don't have a plan.
    "In uncertain economic times, staying focused on solid fundamentals and
being flexible are keys to managing the challenges faced by small business
owners. It starts with having a sound business plan, which is really a
benchmarking tool to track whether your company is meeting your expectations
and goals," advised David Wilton, Director, Small Business at Scotiabank.
"It's important to review your plan at least once a year, and more often if
necessary in response to significant changes in your personal life, your
business or in the marketplace or economy. During a cross-country tour last
summer to meet with small business owners, this strategy was validated by
successful entrepreneurs from coast to coast. "
    Kyle McNamara and David Wilton have co-authored the new resource book,
Get Growing: Keys to Unlocking the Potential of Your Small Business, and are
currently traveling across the country to offer tried-and-true practical
advice to help small business owners grow their businesses. The book also
features best-practices from a number of entrepreneurs they met during their
five-month cross-country tour last summer.
    The Scotiabank Small Business Mindset Study was conducted using a
representative sample of Canadian small businesses obtained from InfoCanada
lists. Interviews were completed between May 25th and June 5th, 2009. All data
are weighted by region and annual revenue to correspond with the distribution
of InfoCanada's profile of Canadian small businesses. Results can be
considered to accurately reflect the opinions of Canadian small business
owners to within +/- four per cent, 19 times out of 20.

    Scotiabank is one of North America's premier financial institutions and
Canada's most international bank. With close to 69,000 employees, Scotiabank
Group and its affiliates serve approximately 12.8 million customers in some 50
countries around the world. Scotiabank offers a diverse range of products and
services including personal, commercial, corporate and investment banking.
With more than $513 billion in assets (as at April 30, 2009), Scotiabank
trades on the Toronto (BNS) and New York Exchanges (BNS). For more information
please visit

For further information:

For further information: Patty Stathokostas, Scotiabank Public Affairs -
Toronto, (416) 866-3625,; Deborah Spence,
Scotiabank Public Affairs - Prairies, (403) 601-4855,; Michelle Cobb, Scotiabank Public Affairs - BC,
(778) 327-5451,

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