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

MONTREAL, July 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Montreal ranks second only to Calgary in Canada and 6th in North America in terms of the Happiest Cities for Small Business, according to the TD Small Business Happiness Index. The research - which examined the attitudes and behaviours of North American small business owners in a dozen urban centres - revealed that 72% of Montreal small business owners would describe themselves as 'very happy' and 8 in 10 say they are happier owning and running their own business.

Could people in the city be catching on to the secret to happiness and opening small businesses of their own? More small business owners in Montreal than other North American cities surveyed, report owning their business for less than five years (20% versus 10% in North America).

"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 Gaston Trépanier, Senior Manager, Small Business Banking, Québec Region, 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."

Why are Montreal small business owners so happy?

Small business owners in Montreal say that owning a small business gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment (96%) and they feel a deep personal connection to their employees (82%) and to their customers (73%). Eighty per cent say owning a small business gives them the opportunity to volunteer their time or make donations to charities or sports teams.

The benefits of small business ownership

According to the TD Small Business Happiness Index, Montreal small business owners are most likely in Canada to say the top benefit of small business ownership is being in control and making their own decisions (22% versus 16% nationally). They also like being their own boss (19%) and the freedom do what they want (16%).

"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 Gaston Trépanier. "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, fortunately compared to business owners in other cities, many in Montreal have managed to avoid the long hours. Business owners in Montreal work the least average hours per week (44 versus 48 in North America) and more owners in Montreal than any other city report working less than 35 hours (39% versus 26% in North America). But, there are still many small business owners in Montreal who are burning the midnight oil; 11% work 50-59 hours per week and 40% work more than 60 hours per week.

Impact of small business ownership

Eighty-six per cent say owning a small business makes it hard to keep their mind off work. Montrealers are most likely in North America to say that the biggest challenge of owning a business is the responsibility and risk involved (33% versus 22% in North America). Other top challenges include long hours and limited time-off (20%) and cash flow management (19%). Despite the challenges, 81% expect they will still be running their business in five years time.

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, including 102 small business owners in Montreal.

About TD Bank Financial Group

The year 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of TD Bank Financial Group in Quebec. TDBFG has built on a long tradition of quality client service and community involvement that dates back to the opening of the first branch in Quebec in 1860. Today, TDBFG's Quebec presence includes over 4,000 employees and 125 offices and points of service, as well as significant investments in community programs.

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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