Small Business Month: #SuccessStartsWIth
Running a business

#SuccessStartsWith Lessons Learned From Small Business Owners

In honour of Small Business Month this October, we will be compiling the learnings and lessons of fellow entrepreneurs, advisors and thought leaders to share what has powered their success as they’ve built their business. Our #SuccessStartsWith hub will include an abundance of resources designed to help small businesses navigate their most pressing pain points. 

As Canada braces for another wave of economic uncertainty, small businesses will continue to face roadblocks and challenges. Staying on top of business operations and finances will be critical to prepare for economic uncertainty. 

Forty-nine percent of small businesses foresee a recession before the end of 2022. What’s more, three in five respondents say they don’t see a resolution to inflation this year, adding another layer of challenges to the hardships small businesses will face. 

Whether you’re an experienced small business owner that’s been in the industry for decades or began your journey of entrepreneurship within the last 24 months, staying on top of your business and evolving as the world does is important.

Being willing and able to weather another wave of economic downturn will be important to business survival and success. And who better to share what #SuccessStartsWith as an entrepreneur than entrepreneurs and small business owners themselves. 

Survey findings, success and lessons learned from Canadian small business owners are outlined below.

What Keeps Small Business Owners Up at Night

  • Early Start respondents’ top concern as they prepare for economic climate changes is ensuring sufficient cash flow for the business to survive, noted by over 1 in 3 (34%).

  • Other external factors are also top of mind. 1 in 4 (25%) are most concerned about increased shipping costs, while 1 in 5 (20%) are most worried about maintaining their inventory.

  • When starting up a business, 3 in 10 Early Start respondents (29%) say technology that enables online business operations is the most valuable resource when it comes to business growth and survival.

Successes and Lessons Learned

  • Success isn’t always about the numbers, with 3 in 5 Early Starts (59%) value creating products or services that have a positive impact on the local community

  • The top thing Early Start respondents wish they knew when they first started their businesses was to develop strategies that would help them better prepare for scaling their businesses (30%).

  • Looking back at the early stages of their business, the most common mistake Early Start respondents report making when starting up is expecting to make a profit right away, noted by nearly half (47%).

Growing Together

  • Learning among small business owner networks is valuable, with 95% of Early Start respondents saying they’ve learned something from fellow entrepreneurs.

  • Early Start respondents are most interested in receiving advice from other small business respondents when it comes to managing cash flow/payroll (27%).

  • Early Start respondents are more likely to say that expanding their business offerings to meet new demands in the market is the number one thing they’ve learned from other small business owners (23%)

Small business owners, if you’re reading this, know that you’re not alone. No entrepreneurial journey is alike and by learning from each other’s past successes and failures, the small business community can only grow stronger, together. We’re here to support you every step of the way. As the source of truth for your business, we are committed to continue innovating to provide you with the tools you need to power your business forward. Learn more about our Cash Flow Planner and other tools here

Be sure to join us all month long on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok for resources, anecdotal tips from fellow business owners, and advice from accounting advisors and industry thought leaders, and join in the conversation by telling us what your #SuccessStartsWith. 

Glossary of Terms

Our survey explored the evolving entrepreneurial landscape, including the similarities and differences between two audiences. 

  • Early Starts - defined as small business owners and entrepreneurs who started a business within the past two years
  • Established Owners – defined as small business owners and entrepreneurs who started a business over two years ago

About the Survey

The study, conducted leveraging Pollfish on behalf of Intuit QuickBooks Canada, was completed by 961 Canadian respondents. All 961 respondents identified as small business owners. Of the total, 762 identified as being in business for less than two years (Early Start) and 179 identified as being in business for over two years (Established Owners). The study took place online between September 1 - 22, 2022.

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