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Start-Ups

Top 3 Challenges Small Business Owners in Canada Face

By Townes Haas   |    March 13, 2019   |    9:44 AM

To Grow Your Canadian Small Business, Watch Out for These Obstacles

Owning a small business is quite the rollercoaster ride, filled with plenty of ups and just as many downs. Some of the obstacles business owners like you face will be similar no matter where they are in the world, but Canadian entrepreneurs also face unique challenges.

Whether you’re a seasoned small business veteran, or have yet to launch for first company, it’s always helpful to get an idea about the challenges that could be lurking ahead. With that in mind, let’s explore some of the top challenges facing Canadian small business owners.

1. An increase in cyber attacks

While this is a worldwide problem, 2018 was a particularly rough year for several Canadian organizations. In fact, according to the 2018 Scalar Security Study, 9 out of 10 Canadian companies surveyed suffered at least one cyber security breach in the past year.

According to Theo Van Wyk, the Chief Security Architect for Scalar Decisions, "Canadian companies are getting better at prioritizing cyber security, but there is still a substantial lack of training and planning … Organizations need to look beyond their infrastructure and weigh the insider and third-party risks they face.”

To learn how to protect your business from different types of cyber attacks, look no further than this quick article: Protecting Your Business from Cyber Attacks.

2. Getting construction permits and other building-related tasks

As this checklist for new Canadian small businesses explains, getting your business up and running is a straightforward process. Unfortunately, things like securing construction permits, registering a property, and setting up electricity aren’t so easy:

  • It takes an average of 250 days and 12 steps to get a construction permit in Canada. To add insult to injury, the cost of construction permits for commercial use increased in 2017.
  • Registering a property takes around 4 days and 5 steps.
  • Plan for 140 days and 7 process steps to get electricity for your new building.

Of course, things will be much easier if you don’t need to construct a new building, register property, or set up electricity services.

3. Hiring high-performing employees

By some estimates, 25.6% of Canadian small-to-medium sized businesses are struggling to find and retain quality employees. It’s a nationwide struggle, but here are some tips you can use to find team members who want to work for you:

  • Provide training and professional development to existing employees.
  • Take advantage of the government’s Workforce Development Funding and Resources.
  • Seek out university internship programs (just make sure you’re prepared to act as a mentor to young interns).
  • Treat all employees with respect — the current job market is strong, and employees will leave for other opportunities if they don’t feel valued.

Another option is to utilize “à la carte” virtual assistant (VA) services. That’s how Intelligent Office (IO) makes it easy for small business owners to get the help they need, even during a labor shortage.

Virtual assistants can handle the phones, manage your calendar, make travel arrangements and reservations, assist customers, and so much more. Your local VA will get to know the ins-and-outs of your business and will quickly become a member of your team.  To learn more about how VA services can make running your small business easier, visit this page.