Business & Investment

Despite recent disasters, nearly half of Alberta businesses don’t carry interruption insurance, survey says

Despite having faced multiple disruptive disasters in recent years, a large number of small to medium sized businesses in Alberta are ill prepared for such events, a Business Beat survey by ATB Financial shows.

The survey found 23 per cent of SMBs in the province have experienced significant disruption in their business. Yet 45 per cent of those surveyed said they did not carry disruption insurance.

There is also a noteworthy gap in continuity planning: 78 per cent believe a continuity plan is important, yet only 47 per cent have followed through. Of those that don’t have a plan, 62 per cent said it wasn’t a priority.

Similarly, 91 per cent of respondents acknowledged the importance of succession planning, but only 58  per cent have a plan in place.

“We’re seeing a common theme in these survey results,” Teresa Clouston, ATB’s executive vice-president, business and agriculture, said in a release. “Business owners clearly realize the importance of continuity and succession planning, even identify such planning as a priority, but many don’t seem to have the time or resources to do either.”

She advises businesses owners compile a plan to deal with disruption that will allow them to be proactive rather than reactive in a crisis. “We recommend building a recovery plan into your business plan and revisiting that plan yearly.”

Millennials see themselves as disruptors and game changers

While most business owners are looking for some financial gain, millennial entrepreneurs say it’s the passion behind the idea that drives them to take risks to get a business off the ground.

In a recent survey, Millennial Entrepreneur Study, commissioned by American Express Canada in partnership with Startup Canada, called Motivations, Mindsets & Experiences of #MillennialSBOs, 88 per cent of millennial small business owners claim passion is what got them into business.

Confidence is not an issue for these business owners: The study shows nearly half have yet to turn a profit; yet 85 per cent are willing to take financial risks to grow their business. And 93 per cent of respondents plan to grow their business in the next year; 90 per cent believe their offering is superior to that of their competition; and 76 per cent aim to disrupt their industries.

Canadian millennials are also putting in the extra work and getting creative to fund their dream projects. For example, 42 per cent of those surveyed hold a second job; and nearly half pay themselves a below-market wage (if at all). And 52 per cent used their personal savings to start their company.

“Millennials are a significant force in entrepreneurism, so we wanted to hone in and look closely at what motivates them,”  Victoria Lennox, CEO and co-founder of Startup Canada, said.

She notes one attribute that differentiates millennials from the previous generation of business owners: “While other generations are more motivated to give back once they have been successful, millennials want to start to give back from the beginning. They are committed to building social purpose into their products and services, being active corporate citizens, and investing in the startup community.”

Businesses don’t succeed without passion, Lennox added. “And millennials certainly have that. That’s really exciting for the future because they are coming into their own as the business leaders of today. What motivates them will have an impact on our economy. They just have to learn how to convert that passion into a profitable company.”

Startup Canada and American Express will continue the conversation on millennial entrepreneurship on the Startup Canada Twitter program, #StartupChats, throughout the fall. On Nov. 2, noon to 1 pm ET, entrepreneurs and experts are invited to discuss Managing Small Business Cash Flow. On Nov. 21, noon to 1 pm ET, the topic will be combining Passion with Profit. Register for these events at startupcan.ca/events.

Roadmap for manufacturing in Canada sets goal of doubling output in the next 15 years
The manufacturing sector’s output and exports can be doubled by 2030 through strategic investments and government partnership, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, along with its strategic partners, said in a newly released Industrie 2030: Reinventing Canadian Manufacturing report.

CME consulted more than 1,250 leading industry executives and conducted detailed research to define specific recommendations to overcome challenges and create a roadmap for the future of manufacturing.

Many of the businesses that took part in the survey were small to mid-sized operations, Mathew Wilson, senior vice-president of CME in Ottawa, said. In speaking to businesses on what it would take to grow, there is general frustration with the lack of support from government, he noted.

“It’s not about cash or incentives. It’s more about broader mechanisms around them that get in the way of growth, such as regulations and tax regimes. Energy prices and approvals for permits for example are playing a huge role in undermining the ability of businesses to quickly adapt, innovate and grow.”

He also contends Canadian companies are not innovating enough. “If you’re not inventing and commercializing you’re probably not growing,” Wilson said.

“Our roadmap is to double output in the next 15 years in Canada. We can do that by focusing on the things that’s matter, such as raising awareness, bridging the skills gaps, increasing commercialization, supporting investment in manufacturing, and making Canada more competitive to encourage small and mid-sized manufacturers to stay in the country. We need to focus on solutions that can drive change long term.”

First published at http://business.financialpost.com/entrepreneur/small-business-digest/despite-recent-disasters-nearly-half-of-alberta-businesses-dont-carry-interruption-insurance-survey-says

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