Small businesses optimistic about prospects for future

The leaders of Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses are feeling optimistic about their prospects for the next three years and about the state of the Canadian and global economy despite being in the grips of the fourth wave and uncertainty about the continuation of federal support programs, according to a KPMG in Canada survey released on Wednesday.

The survey found that 92 per cent are confident they have the right strategies to overcome these and other hurdles allowing their business and industry to grow over the next three years. This is consistent with the positive outlook among Canadian CEOs of large corporations.

“Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses are more optimistic about their growth prospects over the next few years, and are poised to accelerate the pace of digitization and hire workers with in-demand tech skills,” said Mary Jo Fedy, National Leader, KPMG Enterprise.

 “The majority of private enterprises and family businesses that have made it through the tough times are getting back on their feet, although many have not recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Overall, the long-term outlook is more hopeful, even as economic uncertainties and risks remain.”

KPMG’s Business Outlook Poll found:

–  31 per cent of SMBs forecast between 2.5 per cent and 4.99 per cent per annum earnings growth for the next three years;

–  26 per cent have a more aggressive growth outlook, anticipating five per cent to 9.99 per cent per annum earnings growth, while 17 per cent anticipating less than 2.5 per cent;

–  82 per cent of SMBs recognize they need to be a much more digitally integrated company;

–  85 per cent are investing much more in new technology; and

–  54 per cent plan to make further digital investments a priority to bolster growth.

“The last year and a half clearly demonstrated that going digital is essential for success,”  said Fedy. “Companies that will lead the way forward will be able to adapt rapidly to emerging risks and capitalize on the digital opportunities realized during the pandemic through sustained tech investment and adoption.

“The war for tech talent isn’t going away anytime soon. Our poll confirmed that SMBs are finding it harder to attract candidates with the tech skills so critical to their future competitiveness and ability to innovate. SMB leaders may fear losing out to large corporations that have bigger budgets to recruit and pay top dollar for these highly skilled workers.”

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