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News not all bad for 2012, if businesses do their homework

Published by Steve Coleman on November 11, 2011

A BMO economist offered small-and-medium-sized business owners a few words of advice Nov. 10 to help counter the fact Canadians are expected to become a little more tight-fisted over the next year.

While Canada is expected to continue having modest growth in 2012, the dollar is expected to stay strong and it's expected that consumers will spend less.

Still, companies that make the right moves could have a good year, said BMO economist Sal Guatieri told delegates at FEI Canada's 4th annual SME conference. Of course, it depends on which part of the country you're in and where you set your sights.

"Small and medium-sized businesses in the resource-producing western provinces should outperform their regional counterparts, benefiting from elevated commodity prices and continued solid demand from developing economies," said Mr. Guatieri. "As a consequence, SMEs would be well advised to take advantage of the strong dollar and low interest rates to invest in productivity-enhancing equipment and technology, and diversify sales away, toward the faster-growing emerging-market economies."

In Canada, the number of manufacturing jobs is at a 35-year low, consumers won't spend as much next year on big-ticket items and cross-border shopping will continue to hurt border towns.

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