Canadian small businesses eager to expand abroad: survey

A new survey shows that while many small businesses across Canada have big dreams to expand their operations abroad, some may lack the high-tech tools needed to do so successfully.

This latest research, commissioned by California-based cloud business software vendor Salesforce, compiled the sentiments and experiences of more than 500 small Canadian businesses as they created plans to set up shop south of the border and elsewhere across the globe.

The large majority of the entrepreneurs and small business leaders surveyed (81 per cent) had at least considered broadening their reach outside of Canada, with about half (49 per cent) saying they’re somewhat or very likely to act on this inkling at some point in the future. And unsurprisingly, the data shows that most of these entrepreneurs (78 per cent) were eyeing the U.S. and/or Mexico as the target country for their expansion plans.

In spite of the desire to create multi-national businesses, the research also showed that many of the same respondents may not be properly prepared with the technology necessary to duke it out in the increasingly competitive global market. The majority (84 per cent) of those respondents who planned to expand internationally lacked any customer relationship management tools or databases, and another 37 per cent don’t use any digital marketing platforms, custom mobile applications, data analytics tools, a sales tracking/lead generation tool or any accounting software.

Regardless, the entrepreneurs surveyed didn’t seem overly worried about the challenges such an expansion can create for a business. Only six per cent of those small business owners were even concerned about running their operations remotely, and only 10 per cent of those planning to expand were worried about retaining their current customer base.

The CRM firm surveyed a total of 523 randomly chosen small businesses with 99 employees or fewer, and have announced at the height of Small Business Month.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Lindsey Peacock
Lindsey Peacock
Lindsey Peacock is a freelance writer, editor and American expat based in Toronto. This proud Atlanta native has written for a variety of news and business publications across North America, including Business in Vancouver, BCBusiness magazine, Fort McMurray Today and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Blogging, sweet tea and black-and-white movies are a few of her favourite things.

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