Impediments to SMB Growth

Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada released a detailed analysis on the profile of the recipients of the Canada Emergency Business Account.

The report presents a business profile of small and medium-sized enterprises that received loans from the Canada Emergency Business Account in 2020, a component of the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.   It provided partially forgivable interest-free loans to small businesses and not-for-profits to help finance their non-deferrable expenses.

The breadth of the database is statistically similar to the SMB community at large – giving us a unique insight into the sector. Key insights are helpful for us in managing our own businesses:

  • 38% of SMB’s reported zero or negative sales growth from 2019-2020, while 55% reported growth from 1%-20%.
  • In 2020, 33% implemented at least one new technology, and 31% implemented at least one new innovation.

The top 3 reported obstacles to growth in 2020 were:

  • Rising costs
  • Recruiting/shortage of labour
  • Retaining skilled employees

Strategic workarounds, as we see it:

  • Rising costs – diversify suppliers, optimize processes
  • Recruiting/shortage of labour – outsource to minimize labour costs
  • Retaining skilled employees – outsource to minimize labour costs