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TD's North American Small Business Happiness Index reveals benefits of business ownership

TORONTO, July 26 /CNW/ - Small business owners in Saskatoon know not to mess with a good thing! On average, they've managed their businesses the longest of owners across Canadian cities - one-in-five has owned their own business for longer than 30 years - and after all that time, it still gives them a lot of satisfaction. The TD Small Business Happiness Index, which examined the attitudes and behaviours of North American small business owners in a dozen urban centres, revealed that 85% of Saskatoon small business owners are happier owning and running their own business than working as an employee for someone else and 56% would describe themselves as 'very happy'.

"What the TD Small Business Happiness Index demonstrates is that small business owners enjoy a sense of control and freedom that they don't generally realize when working for someone else," says Alec Morley, Senior Vice President, Small Business Banking, TD Canada Trust. "Despite the recent economic downturn and the ongoing challenges of managing and growing a business, the personal satisfaction small business owners report illustrates one of the key advantages of owning your own company."

What makes Saskatoon business owners so happy?

Ninety-eight per cent of small business owners in Saskatoon say they get a sense of pride and accomplishment from owning their own business. Ninety-two per cent find time to volunteer their time or make donations to charities, sports teams or events and 90% feel a deep personal connection to their employees or to their customers (89%).

The benefits of small business ownership

According to the TD Small Business Happiness Index, small business owners in Saskatoon like to be in control. Twenty per cent say making their own decisions is the greatest benefit of being a small business owner, 17% say it's being their own boss and another 17% say it's setting their own schedule.

"Small business owners tell us that owning a business has many advantages, despite the day-to-day challenges that come with running a company like red tape, property taxes and attracting and retaining talent," says Morley. "If you have always dreamed of owning your own company and are interested in getting started, or need assistance in growing your small business, there are small business banking experts at TD Canada Trust branches across Canada who can help."

Small business owners work long hours

Owning a small business may offer more freedom to make decisions, but it can also mean working long hours. The majority of small business owners in Saskatoon work 50 or more hours each week. One-quarter (23%) report working 50-59 hours per week and 31% report working more than 60 hours per week.

Impact of small business ownership

Ninety-four per cent of small business owners in Saskatoon say managing their own business makes it hard to stop thinking about work. They are most likely among North American cities to name recruiting and retaining staff as the greatest challenge of being a small business owner (32%). Other top challenges include long hours and limited time off (25%) and the responsibility and risk involved (20%). Managing cash flow is a top concern among other North American cities, but only 14% of small business owners in Saskatoon named it as their greatest challenge.

Happiest cities for small business owners

The TD Small Business Happiness Index analyzed small business owners' happiness levels by city. This was calculated by looking at which cities had the most small business owners who ranked in the top quartile on the happiness index (they described themselves as a 'very happy person'). The findings revealed that the top three happiest cities for small business owners in Canada are:

1. Calgary (30%)

2. Montreal (29%)

3. Ottawa (27%)

Saskatoon ranked sixth of Canadian cities surveyed and 11th of North American cities surveyed.

About the TD Small Business Happiness Index

The TD Small Business Happiness Index examined the attitudes and behaviours of small business owners in a dozen North American urban centres. Small businesses were defined as those companies having 5 to 50 employees. The research was conducted by Environics Research, which surveyed a total of 1,213 small business owners across North America between May 13 and June 15, 2010, including 106 small business owners in Saskatoon.

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 more than 18 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, including 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 6 million online customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$574 billion in assets on April 30, 2010. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

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