Zoho Canada has released a new report which found that Canadian small and medium-sized business leaders are optimistic about their business prospects for this year.
Zoho surveyed 1,016 Canadian business leaders (C-level to manager) last month regarding business performance, staffing, the economy, and tech usage.
The Zoho Canada SMB Outlook Report revealed that 62.1 per cent of respondents expect their business to grow anywhere from one per cent to over 20 per cent. The report indicated that respondents from Ontario and British Columbia are particularly optimistic, with 63.8 per cent and 65 per cent respectively expecting to grow.
It also found that inflation continues to impact businesses, with 49.8 per cent per cent of respondents saying they’ve been impacted. However, almost 20 per cent say they’ve seen no change.
Amidst all economic changes, businesses are holding steady with their staffing plans, with just over 70 per cent indicating no change in their hiring plans, 25 per cent hiring, and only 4.1 per cent anticipating layoffs.
“In terms of staffing plans, despite the challenges posed by inflation and interest rates, they have been pretty, pretty stable… Only about four per cent of businesses are thinking of layoffs. That’s actually very healthy,” said Chandrashekar LSP, managing director of Zoho Canada.
On the technology side of things, about 20 per cent of companies are making remote work a priority.
“I don’t think they’re prioritizing this as much as before. It’s no longer a conversation, because everybody has technology today, and I think it’s become a norm for people to remote work,” LSP said.
The report found that 20.5 per cent of companies are continuing to invest in talent and digital skills, with 19.6 per cent creating or improving digital products and services, and 20 per cent automating or digitizing processes.
Zoho also asked respondents about cybersecurity and privacy. Fifty per cent have some confidence in their cybersecurity, but this confidence may be misplaced, given that 35.8 per cent aren’t even aware of their business’ process.
“A lot of them are saying they have no specific understanding of the processes; it seems like it’s more of a gut feeling response rather than a very educated or an audit response,” LSP noted.
However, he does think that organizations will gain confidence and become more educated in their cybersecurity processes.
“I think it’s going to get more and more important, especially with everything that we’re seeing around us, like generative AI capabilities, in terms of how data is going to become even more precious for companies. I think organizations would tend to keep an eye on their data privacy.”