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The Globe and Mail

Major concerns for small and medium-sized businesses

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business polled its membership in January asking which of the following were major concerns. The survey had 967 respondents.

Fuel, energy costs

  • Identified by 64 per cent
  • Rising oil and electricity prices are the most significant cost concern. This measure has risen rapidly over the past year and is of chief concern in Ontario as a result of climbing electricity costs.

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Tax, regulatory costs

  • 63 per cent
  • Small businesses feel their total tax and regulatory burden is extremely high and worsened on Jan. 1, 2011, with an increase in employment insurance premiums.

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Insurance costs

  • 49 per cent
  • Small businesses have remained concerned about the cost of insurance for the last several years.

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Wage costs

  • 47 per cent
  • During the recovery, wage pressures have begun to build, fuelled in part by rising minimum wages in some provinces

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Bank account and processing fees

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  • 43 per cent
  • This issue has gained prominence over the past two years as a result of rising merchant processing fees and the growing popularity of premium credit cards

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Product input costs

  • 23 per cent
  • The cost of various inputs including commodities has begun to rise in recent months, for items such as natural resources and components parts. The costs vary by business sector.

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Occupancy costs

  • 23 per cent
  • These reflect the cost to either lease or purchase a business premise. These real estate costs can vary widely by location and tend to be higher in large cities.

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Borrowing costs

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  • 22 per cent
  • While interest rates have risen slightly in recent months, this remains a lower-level cost pressure for smaller businesses given that borrowing remains near historic lows

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Foreign currencies

  • 11 per cent
  • The rising Canadian dollar has made it less expensive for companies to purchase goods and services abroad

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Capital equipment, technology costs

  • 21 per cent
  • The high Canadian dollar and certain government incentives have helped keep this cost concern in check.

Source: CFIB

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