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Vancouver, BC – In conjunction with the start of Small Business Month, results of a recent poll conducted among 459 small business owners in British Columbia by Insights West and Small Business BC, reveal a stunning fact that more than half of small business owners (52%) began operations without a business plan. Nearly one-quarter of small business owners (23%) believe a business plan is not important to the future of their business, including 34% of sole proprietors.

“As a small business owner myself, I was shocked at the number of business owners who started their business without a quantifiable plan,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “A business plan is a critical tool in helping set attainable goals, preparing for the challenges ahead, and in developing contingency plans to deal with the day-to-day problems that arise in a typical startup.”

With the high number of small businesses starting out without a business plan in place, it is not surprising that significant challenges afflict owners as they manage ongoing operations.

The online survey of small business owners across BC reveals nearly half (48%) of small business owners started their business with a business plan, particularly among small businesses with higher annual revenue (68%). This is alarming, as fewer small business owners (42%) currently have a plan, despite believing it is important.


“Planning your business early-on provides you with a great compass for accomplishing key business goals,” says George Hunter, CEO at Small Business BC. “When starting or growing a business, the planning process helps entrepreneurs focus on what they need to achieve and how they plan to get there. Small Business BC can provide expert advice that can help with every part of the planning process.”

Similarly, less than one-quarter of small business owners (19%) currently has a succession plan to transition their business to someone else, while over one-third do not believe it is important (38%). This includes over half of sole proprietors (56%) who do not believe it to be important.


While most small business owners are focused on making their business successful, this study suggests that few owners adequately plan their roadmaps in crucial areas, such as finance, cash flow, and start-up costs, when launching a business, and when winding down the business.

With the weight of the economy falling more and more on the shoulders of the small- to medium-sized business owner, what happens to the people behind these businesses is a pressing issue.

October 1 marks the start of Small Business Month across the province of British Columbia – a month-long celebration of the growth and success of over 400,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses. It is also a time to showcase the resources and learning opportunities available to support small business owners.

To encourage BC’s entrepreneurs to develop, grow and improve their businesses, a series of free seminars and webinars will be offered by Small Business BC throughout the month of October on writing a business plan, finding start-up financing and balancing the demands of business ownership.

Small Business BC aims to be the hub for all Small Business Month activities over the next four weeks. Organizations and businesses hosting events are encouraged to publish details on the Small Business Month Events Calendar at and promote their events through Twitter using the hashtag #smallbizmonth.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Blendheim
Communications Manager, Small Business BC
Direct: 604-775-5607 | Cell: 604-339-4759

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West
Direct: 778-891-4762

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from July 21st to August 6th, 2014 among 459 small business owners aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members. Panellists qualified as a small business owner if they had a business based in BC that had 50 employees or less. Results have a margin of error of +/-4.6 percentage points 19 times out of twenty. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations for this study.

About Small Business BC:

Small Business BC provides entrepreneurs with the information and guidance necessary to build a solid foundation for their business. Through a wide range of products, services, education and resources there’s a piece that fits with every business. No matter what stage or what skill level, when an entrepreneur finds themselves asking “How do I…?” Small Business BC is the one to call. Visit


Photograph: plantoo47