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

TORONTO, July 26 /CNW/ - Small business owners in Calgary are the happiest in Canada and rank in the top-five in North America. 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 89% of Calgary small business owners are happier owning and running their own business and 62% 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 Calgary business owners so happy?

Calgary business owners are most likely in North America to feel a deep personal connection to their employees (97%); many also feel a close connection to their customers (87%). Ninety-seven per cent feel a sense of pride and accomplishment from running their own business. Eighty-seven per cent find time to volunteer or donate money to local charities or sports teams.

The benefits of small business ownership

According to the TD Small Business Happiness Index, small business owners in Calgary think the greatest advantages of owning a small business are making more money (20%) and being able to set their own schedule (20%). They also like being their own boss (18%) and being the decision-maker (17%).

"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, as many small business owners in Calgary have found, it can also mean working long hours. Forty-three per cent of Calgary business owners report working more than 60 hours a week, another 19% work 50-59 hours a week.

Impact of small business ownership

Even when they're not working, ninety-one per cent of small business owners in Calgary say that it is hard to stop thinking about their business. They name recruiting and retaining staff as the greatest challenge of being a small business owner (31%), followed by managing cash flow (26%), the responsibility and risk (22%) and the long hours with limited time off (22%).

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%)

Interestingly, the index showed that there are more 'very happy' small business owners in several U.S. cities than Canadian ones, with Los Angeles (36%) and Boston (31%) ranking ahead of Calgary, which tied with Chicago (30%) and Miami (30%).

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, 100 small business owners in Calgary.

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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