Canadian small business owners optimistic about the future, but inflation and higher interest rates remain top of mind

Financial priorities include cutting costs and increasing sales through new channels; small business owners also focus on enhancing their digital capabilities

TORONTO, Oct. 11, 2023 /CNW/ - Despite the risk of a looming recession, and everchanging inflationary and interest rate pressures, most Canadian business owners are reporting a state of optimism, according to Scotiabank's fourth annual Path to Impact Report. Looking ahead, two thirds of small business owners (66%) say they're extremely or very optimistic about the future state of their business. Moreover, half of business owners surveyed (50%) say they're doing better than they were two years ago in the heart of the pandemic. While there is optimism, economic challenges remain a top concern for business owners.

  • More than half (55%) of small business owners say they're being challenged by increases in costs due to inflationary pressures or continually rising interest rates, a jump from last year (48%).
  • Other challenges businesses are facing include supply shortages (24%), keeping up with demand (23%) and hiring (23%).

"As a result of these ever-present financial concerns, more business owners are reaching out for guidance, support and advice," said Jascha Jabes, Vice President, Small Business, Scotiabank. "Scotiabank is familiar with the complex needs of small business owners, and while it's encouraging to see increased confidence, customers continue to seek tailored advice specific to their unique circumstances."

The Scotiabank Path to Impact survey also found:

  • Significantly more Small Business owners say digital enhancements are helping with increasing revenue and keeping up with higher demand with 18% of Canadian business owners accelerating their digital capabilities in the past year.
    • Of these 18%, 41% have installed programs for virtual meetings, 36% have introduced robotics to streamline operations, 35% have implemented a cloud-based data platform and 30% have introduced contactless payment.
  • AI technology (44%) and better access to financial advice (43%) are the top tools business owners believe would help effectively grow their businesses.
  • Business owners aged 18-34 foresee the need for more financing compared to business owners over the age of 55 (63% vs 21%).
  • 90% of small business owners have sought advice or support over the past two years. 30% have turned to their bank's digital resources – an increase over last year (24%).

As small business owners balance these financial concerns, Scotiabank can offer a variety of tips to help navigate your business forward:

1. Ensure access to capital to help grow or sustain your business and protect your cash flow

It's never too early to start a conversation with your small business advisor about your financing options to ensure that your business is set up for continued success.

In addition, before you even talk to a Small Business Advisor, Scotiabank's Small Business Planning tool can guide you through the stages of building your business plan, with helpful tips and definitions throughout the process. Once your plan is complete, you can share with your Scotiabank Small Business Advisor who can help you understand your financing options.

Scotiabank can also offer support on a number of grant and subsidy options through programs like the Scotiabank Women Initiative and the Black Entrepreneurship Fund. These programs aim to remove barriers and provide entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups with access to capital.

2. Secure financing options to help sustain future impact

With increasing inflationary pressures and a myriad of other economic challenges, it's never been more important to make sure your business is as streamlined as possible. A Scotiabank Small Business Advisor can offer advice to support your businesses' unique needs and help meet your financial goals.

3. Invest in digital tools, including AI, to find efficiencies and streamline operations

Whether you need support drafting a customer email, information on sales channels, or contact information for a vendor, Artificial Intelligence Technology can cut time and costs for your business. The time you invest in learning how to use it will provide significant dividends.

The Scotia Advice+ platform responds to the increasing digitization of the banking experience by offering small business clients step-by-step guides to financial planning, investing, budgeting and other advisory services. For more information, visit the Scotiabank Advice+ Centre for Business.

4. Lean on experienced and knowledgeable banking advisors for tailored advice

With financial challenges top of mind, small business owners continue to reach out for personalized financial advice through digital resources and from their Advisor.

Small Business Advisors can help you navigate a variety of topics including cash flow management, advice on how to pay back loans, and can introduce you to innovative Advice+ tools such as the Small Business Solutions Builder to help determine the best solutions based on your business needs.

To read the full Path to Impact Report, visit:


Scotiabank's annual Path to Impact Report was conducted on behalf of Scotiabank by Maru Public Opinion and its sample and data collection experts at Maru/Blue. A total of 1,691 financial decision makers at Canadian businesses with annual revenue between $50,000 and $5 million responded to the survey between June 26 and August 11, 2023. The survey was conducted in both English and French.

About Scotiabank:

Scotiabank is a leading bank in the Americas. Guided by our purpose: "for every future", we help our customers, their families and their communities achieve success through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of over 90,000 employees and assets of approximately $1.4 trillion (as at July 31, 2023), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: BNS) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit and follow us on X @Scotiabank.


Information contained herein is subject to change and is provided for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as financial, tax or investment advice or guarantees about the future, nor should it be considered a recommendation to buy or sell.

SOURCE Scotiabank

For further information: For Media Inquiries Only: Daniela Da Silva - Scotiabank,, +1 416-288-7655; Kaleigh Ambrose - Hill+Knowlton Strategies,, +1 416-413-4624