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Ownr Survey: Entrepreneurial Sentiment Remains Strong in Canada Despite Cash Flow Worries

In Ownr’s second entrepreneurship survey of 2023, we asked over seven hundred small business owners in Canada about their current challenges and outlook for the future. With their help, we found that while cash flow and rising costs remain a big concern for a majority of small business owners, a large percentage are still optimistic about their future. Canadians of a variety of backgrounds are still pursuing entrepreneurship as a pathway to financial success. 

Here are the major takeaways from our latest survey: 

  • Optimism Despite Cash Flow Concerns– While almost half (47.5%) of the survey participants cited cash flow as a significant concern, almost half (49.7%) also feel more optimistic about their plans now than they did six months ago.
  • Price Increase to Manage Rising Costs and Inflation – Over half of small business owners (53.1%) have raised their prices to battle inflation and rising costs.
  • Growing Reliance on New Technology – A large majority (69.4 %) of small business owners say they rely significantly on technology to run their business operations.
  • Diverse Paths to Entrepreneurship – 39.9 per cent of small business owners started their business after the age of 45 and only about half had any formal business education 

We break down how each significant finding is affecting entrepreneurs across Canada and how they impact new and existing small businesses.

Small business owners remain hopeful and optimistic about their future—despite rising economic and cash flow concerns

While cash flow and economic conditions remain primary concerns among our survey participants, almost half (49.7%) of respondents say they feel more optimistic about their business plans now compared to six months ago—even as they are forced to raise their prices. 

Our survey reports that about half (53.1%) of small business owners increased their prices and 28 per cent reported raised prices by more than 10 per cent. This is a slight increase from earlier 2023, and further how inflation and rising costs continue to impact small businesses. 

Leveraging new technology as a business tool and educational resource

With the current influx of new technology and tools available for small business owners, it’s no surprise that new and existing entrepreneurs are taking advantage. An overwhelming majority (69.4%) say they rely on technology to run their businesses, and more than half use online educational resources to learn more about business and entrepreneurship. These resources include online courses or workshops (57.6%) as well as YouTube videos and blogs (55.7%). 

Forging your own path to entrepreneurship

One of the greatest strengths of the small business community is its diversity and variety. With almost 40 per cent of respondents saying they launched their business after the age of 45, our latest survey reflects how there is never a “right age” to launch your dream business. 

And despite the conventional notion that a formal business education is necessary, our survey directly challenges that belief. Only half (54.1%) of our surveyed small business owners say they received any formal business education, proving that business ownership can be achieved by all types of educational backgrounds. And with the growing supply of accessible education available online and in-person, it’s never been easier for prospective business owners to start their entrepreneurial journey. 

Part of Ownr’s mission is to empower entrepreneurs with as many tools and resources as possible so they can find easier paths to achieving their goals. Along with our streamlined legal services and centralised platform, we are always building our library of articles, guides, and business eBooks. So seeing how small business owners are increasingly seeking and capitalising on these services is extra gratifying for our team. 

Our CEO, Shane Murphy says, “I’m encouraged to see small business owners adapting to the inflationary environment and rising costs. They’re finding creative ways to navigate the challenges and maintain a positive outlook for their businesses,”

“It’s clear that technology is playing an increasingly crucial role in supporting small business owners by reducing costs and boosting efficiency. At Ownr, we’re excited about our contribution to their entrepreneurial journey, both as technology providers and as an educational resource. We’re committed to empowering entrepreneurs at every step of their business growth, and we look forward to innovating our service offerings to support their needs.”

The survey, conducted between August 17, 2023, to September 13, 2023, captures the responses of 762 participants based in Canada via an online questionnaire provided to Ownr’s customer database. Every participant identified that they have started their business. The results of this report have an estimated 3 per cent margin of error.

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