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

TORONTO, July 26 /CNW/ - Despite two-thirds clocking more than 50 hours per week, small business owners in Ottawa rank the third happiest in Canada, behind Calgary and Montreal, and among the happiest 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 84% of Ottawa small business owners are happier owning and running their own business and 64% 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 Ottawa business owners so happy?

Ninety-three per cent of Ottawa business owners say owning their own business gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. Ninety-three per cent find time to volunteer or donate money to local charities or sports teams. Eighty-nine per cent feel a deep personal connection to their employees and many also feel a close connection to their customers (85%).

The benefits of small business ownership

According to the TD Small Business Happiness Index, small business owners in Ottawa think being their own boss is the greatest advantage of owning a small business (19%). They are most likely in North America to say the freedom to do what they want, when they want is the greatest advantage (17%). Another 17% say it's setting their own schedule. Business owners in Ottawa aren't as excited as their counterparts across North-America about being the decision-maker. Only 6% name this as the greatest benefit (versus 18% in North America).

"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, as many small business owners in Ottawa have found, it can also mean working long hours. On average, Ottawa business owners work 50.4 hours per week, which ranks top-three among North-American cities surveyed, but two-thirds report working longer than average hours. Twenty-two per cent work 50-59 hours and 43% work more than 60 hours a week.

Impact of small business ownership

Even when they're not working, 93% per cent of small business owners in Ottawa 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 (24%), followed by managing cash flow (23%) and the responsibility and risk associated with owning their own business (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, including 101 small business owners in Ottawa.

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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