According to the GoDaddy Global survey, external elements such as technology disruption, societal, political, future of work and innovation changes can pose challenges, but embracing these disruptions can often help small business owners grow their business.  Small business owners and entrepreneurs who are able to embrace disruption and innovation, stand to benefit by using these challenges as a lever of growth. More than a quarter (32 per cent) of Canadian small businesses surveyed, forecast at least 50 per cent of their sales will come from online drivers over the next three to five years.

Small business owners and entrepreneur respondents believe they are insulated from the impacts of the rise of automation, artificial intelligence and robots. In Canada, 72 per cent of those surveyed do not feel these new technologies are a threat, recognizing that they have control over how these technologies support their ventures.

Despite the challenges, small business owners and entrepreneurs remain optimistic, with 48 per cent expecting their business to grow at least 25 per cent in the next three to five years. And 81 per cent of those said if given the chance, they would start their business all over again.  A strong 73 per cent say they are happier since becoming an entrepreneur. Canadians ranked being their own boss as the number one reason for starting a business (46 per cent). The best thing about being a small business owner, they said, is the flexibility it allows (62 per cent).

When asked about their technology use, 50 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they either had their own website or were planning to build one soon.  While 24 percent of respondents said they rely on social media and marketplace platforms to grow their brand online. The survey also shows that 36 per cent of Canadian small business respondents cite the continual drive to find new customers as a most necessary factor for their success, which can be impacted by having an online presence to help make ventures become more visible to reach new customers.

Regarding growth prospects, small business owner respondents who already had websites said they were more optimistic about their growth prospects, as compared to those who have yet to have a website presence for their business online. Among those with websites, 27 per cent expected to grow by at least 50 per cent, in three to five years, as compared to only 9 per cent of small businesses that didn’t have a website.

Anne De Aragon VP of GoDaddy Canada said that Canadian small business owners and entrepreneurs continually adapt to change — both in their own ventures and to external challenges — often on their own, and with limited guidance. The Canadian landscape faces changes in technology and automation, it is important for small businesses to embrace technology and evolve with the market and their customers.

Here are additional facts:

  • 51 per cent say it’s easier to start an independent venture if you connect with other businesses and have a support network.
  • Canada is among the lowest out of ten global markets to cite political turbulence as a factor that could affect their small business, at 22 per cent.
  • Canada is the least likely out of ten global markets to cite risk of failure as an obstacle for opening up their own business, at 18 per cent.