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TD Canada Trust provides advice on how to overcome barriers to success

TORONTO, Oct. 5 /CNW/ - What comes between Canada's small businesses and success? Cash flow. Managing clients. Government red tape. These top the list of the barriers faced by small business owners. But, despite the hurdles, 97% of Canada's small business owners report that owning a small business gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment, according to the TD Canada Trust Small Business Survey.

"Without question, small business owners are a resilient group, continually working to overcome barriers that get in the way of their success," says Alec Morley, Senior Vice President, TD Canada Trust. "However, with 87% small business owners saying they are happier being their own boss, clearly there are strong advantages to business ownership, despite the challenges."


As rewarding as it is to manage a business, there is no question that small business ownership has its difficulties. In addition to those barriers to success, small business owners cited several other challenges - the top three being managing, recruiting and training staff (24%), coping with stress and risk (23%), and financing and cash flow (22%).


To help meet financial challenges, Morley offers these three essentials strategies for small business owners:

<< 1. Keep a close eye on the key metrics that are essential to your business' success "It is impossible to analyze every part of your business everyday. Instead, ask yourself, what are those essential measures that determine the health of your company? Whether it is speed of inventory turnover, utilization rates or total cash in the bank, ensure you have a system in place that provides an easy way to check those numbers in real time." 2. Understand how to read an income statement and balance sheet "Put yourself in the shoes of your investors, the bank where you would like a loan, or a potential buyer down the road and make sure you're at ease with how to read - and explain - your financial statements. TD Canada Trust has small business experts available in branches across Canada to help customers better understand their business' finances and develop tailored solutions to overcome specific challenges." 3. Forget the static five year plan "Given the speed of business today and the impact of ever-changing technology, a static business plan that lasts five years may be unrealistic. Your business plan should be a living document, updated at least annually with a rolling three-year forecast to make sure your business stays on track. And it's essential to have both a long- term vision for your company and a series of short-term goals. A good small business advisor can help you to map out the financial resources needed to take your business to the next level." >>


Despite their strong sense of pride and accomplishment, 59% of small business owners say that they find it difficult to separate their business life from their personal life. Fifty-five percent say they spend too much time managing their day-to-day issues and cannot focus on long-term growth and 54% believe that owning their own business is more stressful than working for someone else.


Seventy-seven per cent of small business owners surveyed say that cash flow management tops the list of barriers to success followed by managing clients (72%) and dealing with government bureaucracy or red tape (70%).


The TD Small Business Survey examined the attitudes and behaviours of 711 small business owners in Canada. Small businesses were defined as those companies having 5 to 50 employees. The research was conducted by Environics Research between May 13 and June 15, 2010.


The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group (TDBFG or the Bank). TDBFG 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. TDBFG also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 6 million online customers. TDBFG had $603 billion in assets on July 31, 2010. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

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