Despite concerns that the economy might be headed for recession, Canada’s small- and medium-sized business (SMBs) leaders are banking on big growth in the next three years, finds a new KPMG in Canada survey.
Although a recession is on their radar in the near-term, most SMB leaders (83 per cent) say they are optimistic about their company’s growth over the next few years. The survey of 503 small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada also found 82 per cent feeling confident about their industry or sector and 78 per cent holding a healthy outlook for Canada’s future economic growth, said the report, which was released on Thursday.
KPMG’s recent Global CEO Outlook found a similar sentiment with nearly all Canadian CEOs indicating they are also bullish about their long-term growth prospects, it said.
“Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses deserve full marks for responding effectively to more than two years of economic volatility and disruption,” said Mary Jo Fedy, National Leader, KPMG Enterprise. “The current economic turbulence is another test of their resilience as most SMB leaders prepare now to set up their businesses to weather the coming storm. Many are drawing on their recent experiences and have ambitious plans to grow rapidly as the economy rebounds.”
The report found:
- 73 per cent are feeling more confident about their growth prospects than a year ago. 77 per cent are planning to increase headcount in the next three years to drive their growth plans, with 20 per cent expecting a hiring increase of at least 11 per cent.;
- 61 per cent of SMB leaders indicated they have already taken pre-emptive action to recession-proof their business. Survey respondents identified their top three strategies as: boosting productivity (85 per cent); identifying operational inefficiencies and unnecessary complexities (83 per cent); and managing costs by increasing prices (82 per cent);
- 60 per cent have or expect to pause their digital transformation plans in the next six months to prepare for a potential economic slowdown. 69 per cent are concerned they will lose their competitive edge without ongoing investments in digital technologies;
- 70 per cent say one of the biggest things holding them back from making progress is managing the risk and compliance aspects of their digital transformation;
- 56 per cent lack people with the skills to manage the strategic/operational rollout required;
- 70 per cent also say they’re having difficulty deciding on the right technology (e.g. cloud-based ERP or more advanced technologies);
- 56 per centof SMBs agree it is difficult to recruit the talent of the future; an equal number feel they lack the skilled talent needed to transform their business.
- 79 per cent have diversified or plan to diversify their supply chain; and
- 79 per centhave already introduced or plan to introduce automation in the next six months.
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