The Canadian Federation of Independent Business polled its membership in January asking which of the following were major concerns. The survey had 967 respondents.
Fuel, energy costs
- Identified by 64 per cent
- Rising oil and electricity prices are the most significant cost concern. This measure has risen rapidly over the past year and is of chief concern in Ontario as a result of climbing electricity costs.
Tax, regulatory costs
- 63 per cent
- Small businesses feel their total tax and regulatory burden is extremely high and worsened on Jan. 1, 2011, with an increase in employment insurance premiums.
- 49 per cent
- Small businesses have remained concerned about the cost of insurance for the last several years.
- 47 per cent
- During the recovery, wage pressures have begun to build, fuelled in part by rising minimum wages in some provinces
Bank account and processing fees
- 43 per cent
- This issue has gained prominence over the past two years as a result of rising merchant processing fees and the growing popularity of premium credit cards
Product input costs
- 23 per cent
- The cost of various inputs including commodities has begun to rise in recent months, for items such as natural resources and components parts. The costs vary by business sector.
- 23 per cent
- These reflect the cost to either lease or purchase a business premise. These real estate costs can vary widely by location and tend to be higher in large cities.
- 22 per cent
- While interest rates have risen slightly in recent months, this remains a lower-level cost pressure for smaller businesses given that borrowing remains near historic lows
- 11 per cent
- The rising Canadian dollar has made it less expensive for companies to purchase goods and services abroad
Capital equipment, technology costs
- 21 per cent
- The high Canadian dollar and certain government incentives have helped keep this cost concern in check.
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