Small business owners happy, optimistic despite longer hours

More likely to boost spending, hiring: TD Canada Trust

Being their own boss, controlling their destiny, making more money — these are some of the reasons why two-thirds of small business owners describe themselves as “very happy” (66 per cent versus 63 per cent in 2010), according to the 2011 TD Canada Trust Small Business Survey.

Montreal small business owners were most likely to say they are "very happy" (70 per cent), followed by Toronto (68 per cent), Vancouver (66 per cent) and Calgary (60 per cent), found the survey of 402 small business owners in the four cities.

"In 2011, we saw an increase in the happiness levels of small business owners compared with the previous year,” said Alec Morley, senior vice-president of small business banking at TD Canada Trust. “When owners are optimistic, they tend to be more likely to invest in their business by boosting spending and hiring, which is great for their local communities."

Small business owners say the top benefits of owning their own business are the sense of personal achievement (96 per cent) and being able to help customers and clients (96 per cent). Other benefits are being their own boss (94 per cent), being in control of their own destiny (94 per cent) and the opportunity to make more money (85 per cent).

But managing work hours continues to be a struggle for small business owners who work an average of 48.7 hours per week, up slightly from 47.8 in 2010. Calgary's small business owners work longer hours on average (52.1 per week) than other cities. As a result, many small business owners said they find it difficult to separate their business life from their personal life (60 per cent) and the vast majority (89 per cent) admit they can never truly stop thinking about their business.

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