Technology Is Driving the Success of Canadian Small Businesses

Technological solutions have undoubtedly become a staple in virtually every industry across North America. According to a recent RBC Poll on Small Businesses, Canadians continue to place technology as a high priority for their business to succeed and sustain growth into the future, especially in the digital economy. In fact, 69% of surveyed Canadians agree that technology has made it significantly easier to start a small business than ever before. 72% reported that digital technology enables their small business to flourish by reducing the expenses associated with daily operations.

Even as Canadian consumers and business owners react to recent volatility in the digital economy, they foresee a future where e-commerce and technology remain firmly embedded in the way we live, shop, and do business,” says Don Ludlow, vice-president of Small Business, Partnerships & Strategy for RBC. “For small business owners, a steady approach to digital transformation and investing in their business can support success over the long-term, providing momentum to sustain and grow beyond the cycle” The benefits of digital technology adoption are relatively endless, especially given how accessible and affordable many digital solutions have become over the past few years. However, maintaining a balance between digital and human business support is vital for SMEs to continue to experience growth.

Importance of Maintaining Human and Digital Support for SMEs

Digital adoption allows small businesses to become more efficient and effective. However, eradicating human support for a company completely is not in the best interest of most SMEs. The RBC poll found that Gen Z and millennials prefer to have a balance between digital and human experiences when it comes to supporting and interacting with a small business or brand in person or virtually. 51% of millennials and two-thirds of Gen Z surveyors report that they prefer more digital interactions in their shopping experience and six in ten Gen Z and half of the millennials desire technological interactions in their payment experiences. However, in regard to marketing communications, eight in ten millennials would prefer more human interactions in this area, with Gen Z sharing that sentiment with a 77% vote.

Companies often go too far by replacing as many touchpoints as possible with digital means and mechanisms,” says marketing consultant, Tim Parkin. “This often happens as part of a digital transformation initiative where digital becomes the hammer and the customer experience is just another nail. While this may be advantageous for the company, it erodes the human component of the customer’s experience.”

Growth Indicators for Canadian SMEs

Incorporating digital technology into one’s company has been seen as key for small business growth. Yet, there are a number of additional factors that are indicative of long-term viability that extend beyond just the adoption of advanced technology. Canadian small business owners reported that the following are critical indicators of sustained longevity for their company:

  • Developing a key base of loyal repeat customers (63 %)
  • The ability to innovate and create new business opportunities (51 %)
  • Ensuring your business has the funds to invest in growing and developing teams (48 %)
  • Meeting sales goals and new client acquisition growth targets for two consecutive quarters (47 %)
  • Recording positive cash flow for two consecutive quarters (49 %)
  • Successfully securing additional growth funding from external sources (42 %)
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