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Canadian Small Business Picking Up

With December almost here, the time has come to spread the holiday cheer. Undoubtedly, business owners across the country are looking to cash in this coming month as the holiday shopping season has taken off. With a strong end to the year, it is hopeful that small businesses throughout Canada will then be able to project a prosperous new year.

If you take BMO Financial Group’s word for it, Canadian entrepreneurs are already feeling optimistic about their business growth in the new year. As Sharon Singleton of QMI Agency reported this past weekend, a recent BMO poll found that small business owners in Canada are more confident about the growth of the economy than their American counterparts.

The poll discovered that nearly 90 per cent of American business owners feel that their national economy is still in a recession. Meanwhile, 45 per cent of Canadian entrepreneurs believe that their economy is experiencing a period of growth. As a result, it appears as if more will be taking advantage of opportunities to invest in their businesses and expand.

Cathy Pin, BMO’s vice-president of commercial banking couldn’t help but comment about the stark contrast of views from entrepreneurs in the neighboring nations. “What really stood out is how different the mindsets are between U.S. and Canadian owners,” said Pin, “It was so dramatically different.”

So different, says Pin, that no one should be surprised if Canadian business owners start heavily investing in the growth of their businesses very shortly. The growing sentiment that 2011 will be a lucrative year for the nation’s small business sector is an extremely positive sign for the Canadian economy.

Some of the factors encouraging optimism that Pin points out (there’s a pun in there somewhere) include “strong consumer demand in Canada, access to credit and healthy commodity markets, as well as a stockpile of cash in hand.” Adds Pin: “The message to get out there is to focus on productivity enhancements, on becoming more efficient, to maybe go global in the search for new customers and markets.”

Other findings from the BMO poll include 27 per cent of Canadian entrepreneurs feeling that the recession has not changed their retirement plans, with 62 being the average age to hang it up. Meanwhile 63 per cent of Americans said they had no plans to exit their businesses, likely retiring around age 68.

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