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TORONTO, Oct. 20 /CNW/ - 2009 was a surprisingly good year for Canada's small businesses. Despite concerns about the impact of the recession and managing cash flow, the TD Canada Trust Small Business Survey reveals that an astounding 98% of small business owners gave their companies a passing grade.

"As we saw in the October 16 TD Economics Special Report on Small Business, Canada's economic recovery is well underway and it is anticipated that this will have a positive impact on small businesses, particularly in key sectors such as manufacturing," says Christine Morris, Vice President, TD Business Banking. "In addition to the good grades given out, there is a high level of optimism among small business owners for 2010, suggesting that business optimism is likely to continue to improve."

Small business owners from across Canada were asked to grade their businesses' performance for the most recent fiscal year. These were the findings:

A+: Nationally, 6% of small business owners gave their business the top grade. Quebec businesses were significantly more likely to award themselves top marks (11%) while only 3% of B.C. business owners felt their company deserved the highest score.

A: When it came to giving out 'A's, Manitoba and Saskatchewan led the way at 24%, a dramatic increase over the national average of 13%.

B: The B grade was the most popular ranking for small business owners, with 44% saying they met their expectations for this past year.

C: Twenty-one percent of small business owners gave their companies a C, saying they did not have the year they planned.

D: Nationally, 13% of businesses were handed a D grade by their owners.

F: Only 2% of small business owners gave their companies a failing grade and this number was relatively consistent across the country, climbing to 4% in Ontario and dropping to 1% in Quebec.

"With the improving economy and strong Canadian dollar forecasted for 2010, it will be interesting to see how these rankings improve a year from now," says Morris. "We anticipate that the small businesses that lead next year's rankings will be the ones that carefully manage cash flow, take advantage of resources from small business advisors and develop a strong unique selling proposition (USP) that guides their business."

To help develop small businesses' USPs, TD Canada Trust is hosting a free webinar on Boosting Your Sales with a Unique Selling Proposition on October 22 at 12:00 EST. Participants can register at

About the TD Canada Trust Small Business Survey

The TD Canada Trust Small Business Survey polled small business owners from across the country to understand the impact of the recession on small businesses. The survey was conducted by Angus Reid Strategies from September 8 to 14, 2009 with English and French speaking small business owners (defined as business owners with fewer than 20 employees) across Canada using the Angus Reid Forum. The sample size included 1002 men and women.

About TD Bank Financial Group

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group. TD Bank Financial Group is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves approximately 17 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Insurance; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking through TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD Bank Financial Group also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 5.5 million online customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$545 billion in assets on July 31, 2009. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

For further information: Carolyn Abbass, Anne Locke, Paradigm Public Relations, (416) 203-2223,,; Erin Baldwin, TD Bank Financial Group, (416) 308-4061,

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