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

TORONTO, July 26 /CNW/ - Ninety-eight per cent of Toronto business owners say owning their own business gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. With this in mind, it's not surprising that they are a happy group. Two-thirds would describe themselves as 'very happy' and 87% say they are happier owning and running their own business. These are findings from the TD Small Business Happiness Index, which examined the attitudes and behaviours of North American small business owners in a dozen urban centres.

"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 Toronto business owners so happy?

Eighty-eight per cent feel a deep personal connection to their employees and 82% feel a close connection to their customers. Compared to their counterparts in other Canadian cities, they are best able to separate their business life from their personal life (46% vs. 42%). Eighty-six 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 Toronto think being their own boss is the greatest advantage of owning a small business (18%). The other top benefits are making more money (15%) and being the decision-maker (15%).

"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, but it can also mean working long hours. The majority of Toronto small business owners work more than 50 hours per week. Eighteen per cent report working 50-59 hours a week and 39% work more than 60 hours a week.

Impact of small business ownership

While many Toronto small business owners can separate their business from their personal life, nine-in-ten still say that it is hard to stop thinking about their business. They think the responsibility and risk associated with owning their own business is the greatest challenge (25%), followed by managing cash flow (24%) and dealing with government regulations (19%). Small business owners in Toronto don't find it difficult to recruit and retain talent; only 14% name this as their greatest challenge compared to 24% nationally.

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%).

Toronto ranked 4th in Canada and 9th in North America.

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 101 small business owners in Toronto.

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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