For the ninth year, we’ve gathered the opinions of Canadian private business leaders to find their outlook for the year ahead, to explore their plans for long-term success and to generate ideas for creating a profitable and sustainable Canadian private sector.
Over the coming months, we’ll release a series of deep dives into the themes that emerged from our study. The first release of our Business Insights program focuses on business confidence and future growth. Will tried and true strategies be enough for Canadian companies to meet their long-term goals? Or do new approaches need to be considered to avoid missed opportunities at home and abroad.
Canadian private companies have told us that they’re confident and optimistic for the year ahead, forecasting an average of 7.6% growth, but at a time when national growth is two per cent, what strategies will they put in place to achieve such aggressive goals?
Canadian private companies are striving for growth and expansion and 78% expect business to get better over the next 12 months. They plan to achieve growth by improving sales and marketing campaigns (44%); improving their customer experience and retention programs (38%); and by developing new products and services (31%).
Our study found that the primary barriers for growth for the next year include the economy/lack of activity (38%), labour shortages/recruitment of skilled staff (28%) and demand for products/services (25%).
Although Canadian private company leaders have set aggressive growth targets, the past five years have taught this community that nothing is certain when it comes to the economy and a downshift would always be a major threat to growth. Private company leaders know they need to be agile and frequently revisit their growth strategies to respond effectively to current market conditions.
Canadian private companies are setting their sights on the domestic market. Over the next five years, 60% are planning to grow within Canada, largely because of the nature of their products and services, capacity to serve the market and demand.
Entering new markets isn’t a large part of their growth strategy and only one in ten survey respondents believe mergers or acquisitions will play a role in helping to achieve their aggressive growth targets.
Overall, private company leaders are sticking to the fundamental strategies that have worked in the past. But will these tried and true business practices continue to work in an increasingly competitive and interconnected global marketplace? While entering new markets, or pursuing an M&A can be challenging, with the right strategies and a secured foundation in place, the opportunities for growth are infinite.
Read the full report, which includes interpretation of the survey results, strategies private companies should consider when looking to expand their business and insight from the founder of Ingenia Polymers in our latest As I see it article.