Canadian Business Insights: BDC Report Highlights Six Trends on Future-Proofing Your Business

Is your business ready for the future? A Business Development Canada (BDC) Report titled “Future-proof your business: Adapting to technology and demographic trends” asked 1,400 business leaders across Canada about their future and uncovered six key trends that can help a small-to-medium-sized (SME) business move confidently in a constantly changing technological business landscape. 

“Entrepreneurs are grappling with two forces in particular: shifting workforce dynamics and the emergence of digital technologies. This study looks at these forces in detail and proposes ways that you can take advantage of them to create a stronger, more competitive business.” 
– BDC Report, “Future-proof your business: Adapting to technology and demographic trends”  

Between demographic and technology trends, a lot of change is happening. Businesses not only need to be aware of these trends, but also need to adjustprocesses to prepare for the future. . This article explores the six trends outlined in BDC’s Report to help SME businesses better prepare for a strong future of economic growth. 

Three Demographic Trends and Strategies to Optimize Your Business 

These three demographic trends will lead to a vastly different labour pool for Canadian businesses in the coming years. Learn how strategies related to the trends can help your business stay ahead and prepare for a strong future: 

The Aging Workforce 

29% of business leaders surveyed stated that they seek older workers when hiring. But it is worth noting that as the baby-boom generation retires, the working-age population will grow at a slower pace and even shrink in some regions of Canada. 

Things your business can do to prepare for this trend in coming years: 

  • Boost your productivity by investing in new technology, equipment, and operational efficiencies. 
  • Improve benefits and compensation to offer pension plans and health insurance and compare your benefits to what the competition is offering. 
  • Create more flexible workplaces by offering work-life balance opportunities such as part-time hours, flexible days, and temporary work for keeping older workers on board while also attracting younger generations. 

The Rise of the Millennial Generation 

20% of business leaders surveyed stated that they seek students or interns when hiring. Millennials and Generation Z will account for over half of the workforce by the year 2030. Hiring and training younger generations supports long-term careers and growth within your organization.  

Things your business can do to benefit from this trend in coming years: 

  • Make your business present and mindful on social media to recruit young employees looking for a modern and great place to work. 
  • Partner with post-secondary institutions to collaborate on initiatives such as internships that introduce young talent to your business.  
  • Invest in new and improved training programs to retain current employees and attract new ones.  

A More Culturally Diverse Population  

Only 6% of business leaders surveyed stated that they seek immigrant workers when hiring. But with more immigrants and refugees coming into Canada, immigrants will account for up to 80% of Canada’s population growth by 2032. Consider hiring more immigrants and offering training to support their participation in the workforce. 

Things your business can do to account for this trend in coming years: 

  • Make your business available to new and diverse communities by hosting recruitment events for immigrants or getting the word out through networking events. 
  • Update your training so that it can be customized to meet the needs of a diverse group of individuals. 
  • Recognize the strength diversity can bring to your business as improving your company’s inclusivity policies can support global expansion and create export opportunities. 

Three Technology Trends and Strategies to Optimize Your Business 

As data analytics, e-commerce, and process automation continue to grow at a rapid pace, digital technologies become increasingly important to every Canadian business. Learn how your business can utilize technology trends to lead your business in the right direction:  

The Growth of Virtual Marketplaces 

E-commerce is growing rapidly in Canada. 50% of business leaders surveyed strongly believe that digital technologies will be the key to their business success in coming years. When businesses transition to using these platforms to sell their products and services worldwide, they can become globally successful. 

Things your business can do to leverage this trend in coming years: 

  • Build your online presence by making sure your digital ecosystem, from social media to your website to any e-commerce capabilities, is current and accessible. 
  • Attract new leads online by utilizing customer relationship tools and other analytics tools such as Google Analytics to bring in and analyze traffic trends. 
  • Attend workshops and webinars to continue learning about evolving marketing and technology best practices, such as the emerging use of artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT. 

The Automation of Business Activities 

Only 9% of business leaders stated that they currently use automation processes or robots in their business. While the adoption of robotics by Canadian manufacturers lags that of other developed economies, there is a growing global demand for industrial robots and pursuing automation is a good strategy for future-proofing your business. 

Things your business can do to prepare for this trend in coming years: 

  • Involve your employees by asking how their roles could be better implemented and if any part could be automated with their assistance. 
  • Plan out your business systemizations and analyze what technological solutions can support your growing operations. 

The Rise of the Data Economy 

13% of business leaders surveyed stated that they currently use business intelligence technologies such as big data or advanced analytics. This is a valuable trend to acknowledge because businesses that gain insights from data to optimize their operations stay modern in their approaches and become more competitive within their sector. 

Things your business can do to benefit from this trend in coming years: 

  • Understand your audience, leads, and customers by using online tools that help you learn what your clients like best and what they wish they had more of. 
  • Personalize your business to offer custom solutions for your customers’ needs and tastes. 
  • Improve your efficiency by measuring performance in key areas and comparing your performance to competitors and industry trends.  

Small Business Grants for Canadian Business Projects 

The Government of Canada invests billions of dollars each year to help support businesses with hiring and training, research and development, capital investment, technology adoption/adaption, business expansion, and much more. Are you interested in learning about how government funding in the form of grants, loans, and/or tax credits can help your business in achieving the above initiatives?  

Download our free Canadian Business Funding Guide to learn about the funding process and how to utilize key incentives which your business may be eligible for.  

Our comprehensive guide can help learn how to qualify for funding programs, how recipients obtain funds, how to receive maximum funding value, and how to get starting with funding applications. Accessing funding supports businesses with economic growth and development, helping to secure a solid plan for future success.  

Canadian Small Business Grants and Loans


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