TORONTO, Oct. 13, 2021 /CNW/ – Canadian small business owners are optimistic about their future, according to Scotiabank’s second annual Path to Impact Report which surveyed over 900 businesses from coast to coast. Despite ongoing uncertainty and rising case rates across several Canadian provinces, over half (54%) of small business owners feel they are doing the same or better than they were pre-pandemic.
Notably, Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) small business owners reported that 31% are seeing an improvement over their pre-pandemic performance, compared to 14% of non-BIPOC small business owners. To stay competitive during the pandemic, BIPOC small business owners offered more online products, expanded their customer base, and improved their digital capabilities to a greater degree than their peers.
“Canadian small business owners have found ways to adapt their business, investing heavily in digital and prioritizing flexibility to meet the expectations of customers,” says Jason Charlebois, Senior Vice President, Small Business, Scotiabank. “BIPOC small business owners have demonstrated their adaptability and fortitude by reaching new markets and incorporating new technologies to grow their businesses. While uncertainty remains, small business owners can benefit from seeking qualified advice, taking advantage of the various tools and supports, and looking broadly for new talent and customers as they pivot to succeed in the new normal.”
The Scotiabank Path to Impact Report found:
- 77% of small business owners feel well equipped to survive a future wave.
- 69% of BIPOC small business owners say they feel extremely or very optimistic about their business’ future, compared to 55% of non-BIPOC small business owners.
- 47% of BIPOC small business owners are still disproportionately faced with systemic barriers that disadvantaged their businesses, despite the strong growth they reported this year.
- 40% of the small businesses who invested in enhancing digital capabilities enabled remote work and 37% launched an app or a website.
- 79% of small business owners said they turned to someone for advice during the pandemic, but only 36% of business owners turned to an advisor through a financial institution. However, those who did saw their fortunes improve much more than those who did not.
- 51% of small businesses expect that they will need more financial support in the future to continue business operations.
“Scotiabank is committed to supporting businesses of all sizes. Small businesses have been a crucial component in moving Canada’s economy forward, and it’s heartening to see their resiliency during our pandemic recovery,” said Dan Rees, Group Head of Canadian Banking, Scotiabank. “In the face of uncertainty, sound advice is necessary. Scotiabank’s Small Business advisors can help plan and prepare businesses for the new economic reality they face. Through a team of dedicated advisors, Scotiabank provides personal and business banking solutions, personalized advice, and dedicated programs that cater to a business owner’s unique needs and future goals.”
Despite the optimism felt by small business owners, they still feel uncertain about the months ahead. Scotiabank offers several key tips for small businesses as they move forward.
- Build a Business for the New Normal – COVID-19 will not be around forever – but consumer expectations have permanently shifted. The pandemic has supercharged the e-commerce landscape. Touchless payments, contactless pick-ups, mail-in returns, and same-day deliveries are now expected. Businesses that invested and continue to invest in their digital capabilities are better positioned to withstand future headwinds and prepare themselves for expected growth in the second half of 2021 and throughout 2022.
- Remain flexible as things can change – Small businesses know it better than most that just when we think we are done with the virus, it can rear its ugly head again. In an environment so uncertain, flexibility is key. Small businesses need to offer multiple channels to do business and maintain a range of touchpoints with customers, so that when one channel closes, others remain open.
- Use the tools available – Our research shows that those small businesses that took advantage of government support programs in 2020 were in a much better position in 2021. They were not only able to survive, but they were also able to make the necessary investments to adapt. If your business is to thrive, you need to take advantage of every tool available.
- Look everywhere for talent and for customers – A new, digital business environment means new markets to service and new sources of talent. Consider broadening your reach beyond your immediate environment, not just for sales, but for recruitment. Remote work is quickly becoming part of the new normal, and your next great employee might live miles away.
- Get a trusted advisor – You don’t have to navigate a complex, and constantly-changing environment alone. A trusted advisor – whether a financial institution, a consultant or even a close friend – can provide valuable advice and an independent perspective. Knowledgeable advisors can point you towards the financing you needed to invest, pivot and succeed.
Visit the Scotiabank Advice+ Centre for Business for more details: https://www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/small-business/advice-centre.html
To read the full Path to Impact Report, visit https://www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/small-business/advice-centre/growing/operating-in-the-new-normal.html
Scotiabank’s annual Path to Impact Report was conducted by Maru/Blue on behalf of Scotiabank. A total of 901 completed surveys were collected from a random sample of small business owners from across Canada.
Scotiabank is a leading bank in the Americas. Guided by our purpose: “for every future” we help our customers, their families and their communities achieve success through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of over 90,000 employees and assets of approximately $1.2 trillion (as at July 31, 2021), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: BNS) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit http://www.scotiabank.com and follow us on Twitter @ScotiabankViews.