Survey finds entrepreneurs optimistic despite economic uncertainty

By Maddie Johnson | October 31, 2019 | Last updated on October 31, 2019
2 min read
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Entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future success of their business, but some worry about what’s ahead for the economy, according to CIBC’s latest Business Optimism Survey. 

The survey polled 1,005 small business owners across the country about their outlook on issues related to their business, the economy and innovation. 

It found the economy remains a top concern for business owners going into 2020, with 44% of respondents naming it as their greatest concern. Sustaining margins and growing profits, as well as business taxes and solid staffing, followed closely behind, at 38% and 33%, respectively. 

When asked about ongoing challenges for their businesses, respondents named rising costs (59%), competition (43%), future growth prospects (40%), HR and talent (39%) and managing cash flow (32%).

Despite an uncertain economic outlook, positivity prevailed among the entrepreneurs surveyed. Almost nine in 10 (87%) said they were optimistic about the future success of their business, and 75% said they were likely to “invest in innovation” in their company within the next year. 

“Every entrepreneur faces unique challenges for their particular business, but the commonality of rising costs and heightened competition necessitate innovation to stay ahead of their industries whether it is to elevate customer experience or to create business efficiencies,” Andrew Turnbull, CIBC’s senior vice president, business banking, said in a release.

Respondents said important aspects of innovation include evolving in order to meet customer needs (26%), adopting new methods and technologies to enhance efficiency (23%) and improving service in differentiated ways (14%). 

When asked about incorporating digital tools into their businesses, entrepreneurs were torn: 45% said they embraced digital tools, while 32% said they used the tools, but only when necessary.

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Maddie Johnson

Maddie is a freelance writer and editor who has been reporting for since 2019.