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What Is Contributing To Canadian Small Businesses Optimism?

Last updated on June 5th, 2023 at 05:02 pm

We’ve seen another year of change for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) across Canada and globally. Just when business owners were starting to come out of the pandemic, they have had to battle a host of new challenges such as economic decline, soaring costs, supply chain disruptions, and shifts in labour markets. Given that, what is contributing to Canadian small businesses’ optimism?

The Canadian economy is built on the shoulders of small businesses, which represent more than 98% of all businesses in Canada, and are a critical engine powering Canada. When Canada’s small businesses succeed, Canadians succeed. Sage’sannual global survey Small Business, Big Opportunity sought to understand how SMBs are navigating current economic and business challenges. 

When SMBs Succeed, Canadians Succeed

As a vital foundation of the Canadian economy, they should not have to bear the burden of economic instability on their own. It is the duty of business leaders and the government to assist SMBs by devising strategies and providing incentives that empower them to drive efficiencies and productivity to attain sustainable growth. 

Thankfully, the study found that the majority of Canadian SMBs (72%) are confident in their business – which is up significantly from 63% in 2022. What’s driving the positivity? 

A lot can be attributed to strategic investments made by SMBs in cutting-edge technology, state-of-the-art equipment, and the best human talent – which have, in turn, paved the way for streamlined operations, time savings, and substantially reduced costs.

Given the positivity and optimism in the space, Canadian SMBs are looking to enhance their business with increased investment in technology, adopting the newest tech to increase productivity and create automated processes. SMBs are also looking to increase their staffing needs and look for new ways to foster a positive environment within their teams, in order to keep up with the growth they are expecting over the next few years.

While Canadians remain optimistic, many are growing more concerned about the rising cost of business in Canada and believe that they could be heavily impacted in the coming years.SMBs in Canada ranked above the global averages in three specific areas: raising salaries, office expenses, and marketing. However, each concern offers a unique ability for businesses to implement new technologies available to them to maximize efficiency and cost savings.

The challenge of the talent gap has persisted across various industries for the past 18-24 months and continues to evolve and widen. Most Canadian SMBs are currently happy with their workforce (66%), but only some (27%) report that they are able to recruit new talent, which is in contrast to the global figure (33%) and the US figure (43%). One way in which businesses are attempting to become more attractive to prospective employees is by integrating new technologies to help create a better ecosystem of work. 

Embracing technology to navigate uncertain times

To navigate the economic challenges, businesses are actively seeking ways to enhance efficiency by embracing new technologies. A significant majority of Canadian SMBs (53%) have adopted technologies with the intention of saving time on crucial processes.

Technology – whether it’s AI-enabled business applications or cloud-based financial platforms, continues to be an important factor for businesses to help close the talent gap. The rapid advancements in AI, digitalization, and online tools offer boundless opportunities for growth, enhanced efficiency, and a competitive edge. Many Canadian SMBs are already beginning to position themselves for sustainable growth, navigate future disruptions with confidence, and play a pivotal role in driving the overall economic recovery.

To achieve their objectives of business growth and improved profitability, while navigating the rising challenges, SMBs must adopt a strategic approach in leveraging technologies. Here are three areas that can contribute to driving efficiency and productivity.

Streamline Administrative Tasks

The extent to which mundane and repetitive administrative tasks consume our daily routine is quite astonishing. By implementing AI-powered financial software, organizations can automate processes such as payroll, invoicing, inventory management, and more. This automation not only saves substantial amounts of time and money but also liberates employees to concentrate on driving business growth.

Leverage the Power of Data

Modern financial and accounting tools are specifically designed to leverage a company’s data, offering valuable insights through readily available reports, dashboards, and analytics. Utilizing data for making real-time, business-critical decisions can unveil new efficiencies and potential revenue streams.

Embrace Cloud Solutions

Cloud-based business platforms empower SMBs to compete on a larger scale by providing a comprehensive suite of financial management solutions and applications. Embracing a cloud business platform enhances financial efficiency and visibility, strengthens data security for financial information, and reduces IT costs. Moreover, with the growing trend of hybrid workforces, a cloud platform facilitates seamless collaboration and can easily scale alongside business expansion.

The past three years have demonstrated the remarkable resilience of SMBs in Canada and worldwide, as they consistently find innovative ways to thrive amidst adversity. Technology can assist SMBs in addressing immediate needs while preparing them for long-term success and future growth.

By Mark Hickman, Managing Director, Sage in Canada

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