Confidence surging among Canadian small business owners: CFIB

Canadian small business owners are experiencing something of a confidence bounceback.  

According to a report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), confidence among Canadian small business owners improved in May. The CFIB index that tracks confidence among Canadian SMB owners rose to 62.5 points in May, up nearly six points from the month prior.

The report (in which more than 600 business owners across Canada were surveyed), tracks confidence among Canadian business owners and found the outlook of entrepreneurs differed greatly by province. 

Despite business sentiment in British Columbia being on the decline, small business owner Patrick Carr (who co-owns the Vancouver-based meal delivery service 2 Guys with Knives), says he's feeling confident about the future and has plans to expand his business. 

A personal trainer and nutritionist, Carr joined forces with executive chef Sergio Pereira to co-found 2 Guys with Knives in 2013. Their business provides weekly health-conscious meals for customers, delivering a choice of vegan, paleo or pescatarian fare.

Carr says that his company is projecting a conservative 40 per cent increase in revenue over the next year. In the past year, Carr and Pereira's staff at 2 Guys with Knives has doubled, going from 12 employees to 25, and the company has plans to create a marketing team and expand its administrative leg. It's been about a year since his company built a production facility, and already Carr says they're outgrowing the space. 

"Our main focus now is establishing a strong base to support our next level of growth," he said.

Prince Edward Island and Quebec business owners reported being the most confident (70.5 points for PEI, and 68.1 for Quebec), entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland in Labrador were the least optimistic (at 49 points and 49.2 respectively). 

An index above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. After three straight months of decline, the surge in small business sentiment at the national level comes amid a stronger outlook for current business conditions and an improved view on future performance.

Although the latest CFIB results are sunny, TD Economics notes that the road ahead could still be rocky. If small business confidence stays high, it could give the Bank of Canada another reason to raise interest rates this July.

But with volatile oil prices, possible tax changes to passive investment income, and trade uncertainty – there's no telling what the future may hold for entrepreneurs. According to the report, roughly 40 per cent of small business owners now consider the status of their business as "good," and about 43 per cent expect a stronger performance in the next 12 months.  

"Roll with the punches, stay positive and be forward-thinking," Carr said. "That's what carries us through."

You can read the full report on the CFIB's business barometer results by TD Economics here.