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A new poll has found that business owners under 35 are the most likely to be planning a business expansion, suggesting the group is not only optimistic about the marketplace but also experiencing results.

"You often think about younger people starting their businesses, but to see younger people wanting to expand what they've already started tells you they're having some success," said Shelley Swanlund, vice-president of business banking at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

A CIBC poll conducted between June 3 and 10 found that 39 per cent of Canadian business owners said they planned to expand in the next three years, but that 60 per cent of those business owners were ages 35 and under.

Only 33 per cent of those 55 and over were considering making that kind of move.

Businesses in British Columbia were the least likely to be expanding, coming in at 30 per cent, while those in Atlantic Canada and the Prairies were the most likely, the poll found.

When asked where they plan to invest in expanding their business, the top three responses from Canadian business owners were marketing initiatives, capacity and production, and new markets within Canada.

While the focus on growth is exciting, said Swanlund, business owners should make sure they take the time to put a financial plan in action to ensure they aren't taking too much risk.

"Everyone thinks that the risk of expansion is that it won't launch as well as you hope it will," she said.

"But there's also a risk of being too successful really fast and being able to keep up with that."

The three key areas to keep in mind are financing for a business – not just at the time of the expansion but for different cycles that may require investment – as well as managing cash flow and payroll service, she said.

The online poll was conducted by Leger, which surveyed 801 decision-makers in Canadian businesses.

The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.