An Angus Reid Strategies survey of Canadian
small businesses commissioned by STAPLES Canada has determined that small
businesses have more confidence in their own operations than they do in the
Canadian economy. Over half (58%) of Canadian small businesses expect to see
some improvement in their businesses over the next 6 months.

More than two-thirds (70%) of Canadian small businesses rate their own
financial status as good and only a third (30%) as poor. Conversely,
two-thirds (66%) of Canadian small businesses consider the economic conditions
in Canada to be poor while only a third (32%) think that conditions are good.

“The results of the STAPLES Canada Small Business National Quarterly
Confidence Poll are very thought provoking. Not so much that there is
scepticism when it comes to the Canadian economy, but that there is such
optimism for small business potential,” said Steve Matyas, president of
STAPLES Canada. “At STAPLES, we believe that much can be learned from what
small businesses see as challenges and potential opportunities because we
recognize that many of them are very adaptable during the current economic

“Small business owners tend to be able to react quickly to economic
conditions, have largely cash flow positive businesses and in general a
‘can-do’ attitude” says Brian Coupland, Director of Small Business Strategy,
STAPLES Canada. “This adaptability not only refers to fiscal matters, but to
the overall strategic business model that a small business operates from-such
as finding new and unique revenue streams and creative ways to cut costs.”

The top three challenges that Canadian small businesses are currently
facing are business development/sales (60%), reducing costs/expenses (58%) and
setting pricing to maintain profitability (47%). Not too surprisingly, the
primary ways that Canadian small businesses have adjusted over the past three
months were to cut costs (55%) and expand business offerings (29%).

Recognizing the challenges of Canadian small businesses, STAPLES has
several initiatives to help them compete and maintain legitimacy including
STAPLES BizLaunch Seminars-a series of National ‘how-to’ sessions aimed at
topics pertinent to small businesses.

The STAPLES Canada Small Business National Quarterly Confidence Poll will
be conducted quarterly in order to gauge:


– Shifting perceptions of the Canadian economy;

– The self-confidence and optimism of Canadian small businesses; and,

– Any changes in how Canadian small businesses are adjusting to
economic conditions.


“By conducting this poll quarterly we will be able to establish some key
indices on the status of Canadian small businesses. We will be able to monitor
changes in their confidence in the economy, their view of the business
opportunities they have and the things they are doing to adjust to the
economy,” continued Matyas.

The study was conducted by Angus Reid Strategies through online
interviews with owners and executives of small businesses (up to 50 full-time
employees) across Canada. 352 interviews were completed in total, from March
13-22, 2009.