STUDY: Canadian small business owners feeling optimistic, confident and prepared for 2020

Canadian small business owners are feeling optimistic about 2020 despite the challenges facing them. Nine in ten (90 percent) are confident they will achieve their main goal in the upcoming year.

The study of 500 small business owners found their top 2020 objectives include substantially increasing revenue and growth and reaching new customers. Over one quarter (27 percent) are also focused on generating repeat customers.

Although more than one in ten said the main reason they started their business was to earn more money – 15% are yet to break even. As a result, one in 10 considers this to be their main goal for 2020, although one in six are aiming to simply ‘survive the next year’.

When asked how they are currently feeling about 2020, Canadian business owners are most likely to say they feel optimistic, confident and prepared. However, more than one in ten (13 percent) do feel apprehensive about what is to come.

The research also found a quarter of business owners admitted they see the upcoming year being a ‘struggle’. More than two fifths (44 percent) are worried about bills and expenses rising, while 29 percent predict that political changes will have an effect on their business. A further quarter (27 percent) are anxious about the cost of materials rising.

Simon Braier, Customer Strategy and Insights Director from Vistaprint said: “While 2020 will inevitably bring challenges for Canada’s small business owners, our research shows that Canadian entrepreneurs are feeling positive about the year ahead. It’s encouraging to see that business owners are feeling confident and prepared. The more businesses that reach their ambitious 2020 goals, the more chance they have of generating jobs for local people, boosting the local economy and providing significant value to customers.”

Despite these challenges, sixty-five percent of business owners admitted they don’t have a marketing plan in place for 2020, with nearly half (47 percent) saying ‘everything is going fine as it is’. A fifth (20 percent) would rather just ‘see what happens’.

More than half – 58 percent – believe the most important marketing channel in the upcoming 12 months will simply be word of mouth, while almost a third (31 percent) will rely on social media. A further one in ten think email marketing and search engine promotion will be most important for their business.

Vistaprint’s North America Market Lead Erin Shea said: “Even if business is going well, in increasingly competitive markets small business owners cannot afford to rest on their laurels. Having a marketing plan in place can help entrepreneurs reach their revenue and growth goals. Business owners should seize the opportunity to get the word out about their business by leveraging online and offline channels to reach new customers and ultimately drive more business revenue.”

It also emerged that on reflection, nine in ten (93 percent) business owners are pleased they took the plunge and started their own business.

For more than a third (34 percent) being their own boss was the main motivation for starting a company. This was followed by earning more money – with 15 percent wanting to decide their own hours – and flexible working hours according to more than one in ten (14 percent).