Business Insights Survey

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Business Insights Survey Riding a wave of optimism - But is it going in the right direction? As I see it Interested in key findings from the survey? Watch the Business Insights video
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Building a sustainable future


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. 

Business confidence

Riding a wave of optimism - But is it going in the right direction?

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%).

Barriers to growth

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.

Strategies for growth

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.

The role of government

The role of government in supporting the private sector

Canada’s private business leaders are confident and optimistic for the year ahead. They’ve forecasted a strong growth rate of 7.6% and plan to achieve this through organic growth within the Canadian market.

What role does government play in helping private companies reach their aggressive targets?

Saul Plener, National Leader of PwC’s Private Company Services practice summarizes findings from over 350 Canadian private company leaders and shares advice on what they can do to capitalize on the government policies and incentives that are available.

For the first time in its nine-year history, we asked Canada’s private company leaders about their satisfaction with provincial government tax policies and how they view the role of government in supporting private businesses.

Beyond the expected—the majority, 75%, of respondents feel that their provincial government has not done enough to reduce the tax burden—findings that vary based on geography and company size.

In this article, PwC’s Jason Safar and Nadja Ibrahim share their interpretation of the results and discuss how a well-planned tax strategy can help private companies stay ahead.

Technology strategies

Canada’s private company leaders have forecasted an aggressive growth rate of 7.6% and understand that technology is a means to get there. That said, only 20% of respondents are planning to invest in new technologies this year. So why the hesitation? For private company leaders, change represents risks, and relying on proven growth strategies can seem like the safer route. But it today’s technology-driven, hyper-competitive market, the real risk is not acting fast enough to modernize and being left behind.

In this report, PwC’s Matt Ambrose and Matthew Kenny share their interpretation of the results and discuss what business leaders should be doing now to grow their business through smart technology implementation.