Thursday, April 23, 2009

Survey finds entrepreneurs take hit to keep paying staff

A new survey from American Express finds Canadian small business owners digging deep to overcome economic recession. Amex says they are taking “bold and sometimes extraordinary steps, like cutting their own salaries, to keep afloat.”

The good news: nearly a third of Canadian small businesses plan staff increases over the next six months. And 70% believe that their business situation will improve over the next six months.

The American Express Small Business Monitor finds that even in today’s tough times, 76% of entrepreneurs believe that the rewards and opportunities of running their own business outweigh the risks and challenges.

Startlingly, the survey found that one in four Canadian small business owners have stopped taking a personal salary. Another quarter have invested personal funds in order to continue to support employees during the current economic downturn.

More traditional cost-saving tactics include cutting back on expenses (60%),curbing personal spending (48%), and increasing customer value (46%) to improve cash flow during the downturn.

Attesting to the long-held belief that a business's greatest asset is its employees (see previous post), the survey's respondents indicated a willingness to sacrifice to retain talent and keep employees happy, including the continuation of bonuses (30%) and pay raises (28%).

Respondents to last fall’s Small Business Monitor said they were hoping to ride out the downturn making many changes to their plans or practices. Now entrepreneurs report that they have already taken steps to protect their business, such as:

- Hiring freeze (38%)
- Salary freeze (34%)
- Stopped taking a personal salary (25%)
- Investing personal assets in the business (34%)
- Introduced flexible work hours for employees (26%)
- Reduced employee hours (25%)
- Re-evaluated supplier relationships (29%)

Still, the survey finds only 17% have resorted to laying off staff, and only 8% expect to do so over the next six months. Instead, 28% expect to be hiring over the next six months, even if it's part-time or contract staff.

You can read the full press release here.

1 comment:

Sharon Wilson said...

Even in this downturn it's good to hear that entrepreneurs aren't having to lay off employees and are optimistic about the future.