Survey Says: What Are You Doing To Manage The Downturn?

As resilient as ever, businesses in Alberta are still prospering through a daunting economy


Illustration Kyle Metcalf

Riding out the turbulence has been the main objective of SMEs in Alberta in 2015. The good news is that businesses will prosper not through radical, business-altering interventions, but through commitment to core principles and modest course ­corrections. According to the most recent ATB Business Beat survey, the path to survival, as daunting as it may be, is lined with familiar faces.

Business Beat is a quarterly survey conducted for ATB Financial that asks SMEs in Alberta about their challenges, opportunities and opinions on a variety of matters.

The most recent survey asked business owners how they were managing through the downturn, what changes they were making or not making and what advice they might give to colleagues, clients and competitors.

To participate, the businesses had to have fewer than 500 employees and less than $20 million in annual revenue. The results show that Albertans have felt the impact of the recent downturn and are acting accordingly, and it shows that SMEs are focusing their energies on improving the fundamentals of their business.

Down But Not Out

Although Albertans’ optimism about both their own businesses and the Alberta economy, respectively, were at their lowest points in years in the first and second quarters of 2015, businesses have been resilient, opting to conduct business-saving strategies that are reflective of small business owners’ mission to adapt to the times. These strategies have paved the way for companies to find new efficiencies and reduce waste. Naturally, they are investing money where it matters the most: in their employees.

42% invested in employee training
30% have frozen wages and bonuses
73% agree that the temporary foreign worker policy is an effective way to combat the labour shortage
23% have laid people off

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