For most Canadians, coming up with an idea for a successful small business is the easy part. Finding the money to get started is what’s hard. Nearly 70 per cent of Canadians believe the idea is easy, but even more, 72 per cent, say they’re concerned about finding start up money.
These are among the findings of a second Canada-wide survey commissioned by Intuit Inc., maker of QuickBooks, to determine Canadians’ attitudes around entrepreneurship. The latest effort coincides with the start of Canada’s Small Business Week 2010.
Several key motivators were cited by poll respondents who were interested in starting a small business:
– A desire to no longer work for someone else (43 per cent)
– Control of their own destiny – (43 per cent)
– A means to a better quality of life – (35 per cent – up six points
– Starting something new – (33 per cent – up nine points from February)
But they’re concerned with the challenges of getting started. These include
– Finding the money for start-up costs – (72 per cent)
– Convincing lenders that they’re a good risk – (71 per cent)
– Navigating the tax and finance requirements – (61 per cent)
HST is also a big factor in Ontario and British Columbia. Half of those surveyed in those provinces believe it will do more to discourage people from starting a business, while only five per cent say it would have a positive impact. This may be why a slight majority of Canadians (51 per cent) believe it’s harder to start a business today compared to a decade ago.
Younger Canadians seem more optimistic about starting a business. Forty-two per cent of respondents between the ages of 18-34 say it’s more difficult to start a business today compared to 61 per cent of Canadians age 55 and over.
Despite this, more than one third of all respondents say they are interested in starting their own business, and 43 per cent of those say they plan to do that within the next two years.
“There’s no shortage of reasons for Canadians to stifle entrepreneurial pursuits but, we’ve found that simply isn’t happening,” said Barb Anderson, Intuit’s product marketing leader for financial management software. “The market uncertainty, grim headlines and general anxiety of the past six months haven’t affected the entrepreneurial drive.”
Canadians have gained more self confidence since the last poll in February. Sixty-three per cent say it will be easy to manage their finances and 60 per cent say the same about marketing the business. Both represent a 5 per cent increase.
In this area, Canadians aged 55 and older are more inclined to say that coming up with a successful business idea is easy (84 per cent) versus their younger (18-34 year olds) counterparts (62 per cent).
In addition, respondents were confident they could manage the business themselves. A total of 91 per cent who were likely to start a business in the next two years said they would hire their own staff, and 82 per cent said they would manage client service.
While confident in managing their business, respondents also had their limits. Sixty per cent would hire someone else to handle accounting tasks, such as invoicing, payroll and taxes. Nearly half (48 per cent) would hand off things like GST and HST paperwork.
“It’s encouraging to see so many entrepreneurially minded Canadians recognize their limitations, but off-loading processes to a third party may be an unnecessarily risky move,” said Anderson. “Businesses tend to fail because of poor cash flow management. But there are tools that simplify and make accounting easy. So, it only makes sense for them to benefit from software that can put that very control back in their own hands.”
Intuit has teamed up with Impact Entrepreneurship Group and George Brown College for The Spirit of Canadian Entrepreneurs – an interactive panel discussion that will explore the many sides of business ownership and management in Canada which will take place at the college.
Leading minds from Intuit, Impact and George Brown, along with youth and veteran entrepreneurs, discuss survey findings as well as their insights, highlights and maybe even some low-lights while engaging directly with audience members. Space is limited for the October 20th event. To find out more or to reserve your seat, please contact Michael Thomson or Laura Casselman at Edelman.