SMEs were asked which factor they believe is most impacting the profitability of their business — inflation; access to capital; supply chain issues; labour and skills shortages; or sustainability issues.
Respondents overwhelmingly identified inflation — a force that touches all businesses — as the key factor affecting their profitability at a decisive 75 per cent. Supply chain issues, access to capital, and labour and skills shortages represented the remaining 25 per cent, in that order.
The need for external expertise
SMEs were asked to identify the areas where their company most needs greater outside support — Most survey respondents were primarily looking for greater access to global market intelligence, followed closely by cash flow management. Respondents further identified sustainability issues, supply chain issues, and access to capital in descending order.
Appetite for expansion
When SMEs were asked whether their company is currently most interested in expanding locally, provincially, nationally or internationally, it’s clear that Canadian companies have an appetite for expanding their market territories. About 43 per cent were most interested in expanding their market territory nationally, while 24 per cent were aiming to grow their footprint locally. A further 19 per cent were set on international expansion while 14 per cent were looking for growth opportunities in their home province.
According to HSBC's Navigator Survey1, higher-growth businesses are more likely to invest in improved product or service quality, customer experience and expansion into new markets.
Is your financial institution providing valuable services?
In terms of the most valuable service provided by their financial institution over the past year, survey respondents made it clear that their financial institution could do more to demonstrate value to their business. Most selected “none of the above”, followed by proactive business advice, relevant business intelligence, and innovative solutions to spur growth.
Partnering with a financial institution
SMEs were asked whether their choice of financial institution has been an important factor in the company’s long-term success.
Not surprisingly, an overwhelming 86 per cent of survey respondents indicated that their choice of financial institution was making a difference. It’s a strong indicator that businesses see financial institutions as partners to their businesses, not simply financial services providers.
“Whether it’s through financial products or simply sharing research and data that can give individual businesses a heads up on what’s coming, a financial institution can play a big role in helping SMEs to weather challenging times and to prosper in good ones,” Turner says. “We believe Canadian SMEs are resilient, resourceful and innovative, but it’s good to know who you can count on. A good relationship manager at your financial institution needs to understand your business so they can offer the products and services that will most help overcome specific challenges.”