Planning Your Growth.

B.C. business owners split on short-term business climate

As B.C. continues to boast the strongest economy in Canada, a recent survey has revealed that small business owners appear divided when it comes to the province’s business climate over the next five years. A survey of 500 B.C. small business owners conducted by First West Credit Union found that 35 per cent of respondents feel the economic climate will worsen at least a little, while 47 per cent feel that the business climate will improve at least a little.

The feelings of the business owners surveyed appears out of joint with some recent economic reports, which are calling for continued strength of the B.C. economy over the short term.

“Certain factors like expenses and the economy will always be top-of-mind concerns for small business owners,” says Marek Buryska, regional manager of business banking at Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union. “That said today’s market moves fast—business owners have to keep up with new business regulations, tax or investment rules and face fiercer competition than ever before. Likely, positive economic forecasts do nothing to ease their sense of security given these present-day challenges.”

The survey also found that small business owners’ top three fears were:

  1. rising costs of operating expenses
  2. slow or declining economy
  3. weak cash flow

Buryska suspects pessimistic attitudes towards the economic future could also be attributed to a knowledge gap.

“It’s not uncommon for a business owner to be a jack-of-all-trades,” Buryska says. “All too often, they don’t have the luxury of time to look beyond present needs to consider the economic climate and understand how it could impact their business. For these business owners, seeking guidance and support from other professionals can really be advantageous. Accountants, lawyers, business banking advisors, marketers and other experts all have deeply specialized skills and should be considered an indispensable part of a business’s team.”

Many small business owners appear to embrace this truth, as the survey showed that close to half of the small business owners surveyed said that strategic and other business planning advice is one of the top three things their business banker should provide.

First West Credit Union’s Small Business Month survey was conducted using Google Surveys (August, 2017). Complete survey results are available by clicking here.

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