Optimism Reigns Amongst Canada’s Small Businesses



Confidence amongst small businesses in Canada is on the rise. Although not as negatively affected by the global economic crash of 2007/8, the recession which affected much of Western Europe and the United States also had a knock-on impact on Canadian home soil. Now, however, it appears that small Canadian businesses are beginning to feel more optimistic about the future and about the potential for growth in 2014.

This good news comes ahead of two key reports from the Bank of Canada expected on Friday 11th 2013. One will look into confidence amongst Canadian executives, the other will record loan lending levels amongst Canada’s senior loan officers. The latter report will not concentrate on lending from payday loan online lenders like Wonga.ca, instead it will focus on the finance available from Canadian banks which had in previous years taken a hit as difficult economic times forced many banks to tighten their belts and take a more cautious approach to lending.

The results of these two reports will speak volumes about where Canada is financially and how well recovery is working. Yet early signs are good. This early survey amongst small businesses shows that optimism is not just concentrated in Canada’s key economic hubs, but is spread evenly and widely across the country.

Who’s feeling optimistic?

Well, everyone! Pretty much…Overall the Bank of Montreal’s confidence survey showed an average of 62% of small businesses were feeling positive about their economic prospects in 2014 and believed that growth would pick up next year. Meanwhile 55% believed that their own business would grow next year. Amongst the more pessimistic businesses out there, just 6% believed that their business would shrink. Here’s how the statistics weigh up across the country: 

British Columbia – 66% of small businesses believe 2014 will be better for business
Ontario - 65% of small businesses are feeling optimistic about 2014
Quebec – 60%  think the next year will be one for growth
Atlantic Canada – 59% anticipate better business in 2014
Alberta – 58% are expecting to see positive effects next year

And what about consumer confidence?

Of course, this optimism could prove to be unfounded. Consumer confidence in Canada does not currently reflect optimism of the country’s small businesses. Although consumer confidence had been steadily growing throughout 2013, the US budget hoo-hah over the border has lead Canadian consumers to lose confidence in the economy for the first time in over a month. Tied inextricably to the fiscal outlook in the United States, Canadian buying power could take a dive if North American budgetary tomfoolery continues.

Fortunately these rattled consumer nerves are yet to impact the outlook of small businesses in Canada for the coming year and the US situation could all yet prove to be a posturing, pointless flash in the pan. With so much turmoil afoot, the results from the Canadian executive confidence and loan officer reports should make very interesting reading indeed. Indicating the availability of traditional loans for consumers and small businesses too, and suggesting how accessible finance really is in the country – a factor pivotal for ongoing growth. Keep your eyes peeled…

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