Despite sacrifices, Alberta entrepreneurs happy: ATB Business Beat

Calgary — Despite an economic slowdown, long work weeks and countless sacrifices in their personal lives, Alberta’s small and mid-sized business owners are in a good mood. According to ATB Financial’s latest Business Beat Survey, 77 per cent of business owners in Alberta are happy, including 22 per cent who say they are very happy. When asked a similar question in ATB’s Happiness Survey in February, 2015, 13 per cent of Albertans said they were very happy.

“Once again the resilience of Alberta business owners shines through,” says Wellington Holbrook, ATB’s Executive Vice-President, Business & Agriculture. “The benefits achieved by running their own business seem to outweigh any mounting pressures from the economy or personal sacrifices.”

What makes for a happy small or mid-sized business owner? For most Alberta business owners (78 per cent), the success of their enterprise is important to their overall happiness. When asked about the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur, being in control of their own time and destiny was at the top of the list. Forty-three per cent of respondents said the independence or freedom of running their own business was most rewarding, while 29 per cent said success or sense of accomplishment and 15 per cent said being their own boss.

For bosses, though, salary increases seem to be a rare occurrence. Of those surveyed, 24 per cent said they have never given themselves a raise. Among those who have, 51 per cent say it’s been over a year since they’ve given themselves a pay hike. The good news is almost seven out of 10 business owners have taken a vacation within the last year.

While maintaining a work-life balance and spending time with family and friends are at the top of the list of what’s important to Alberta business owners, the Business Beat discovered those priorities are sacrificed most often. Thirty-four per cent sacrifice their work-life balance for their businesses, while 32 per cent have lost time with family and friends.

“Despite the modest wages, long hours and lack of precious personal time, most business owners wouldn’t have it any other way,” adds Holbrook. “Being an entrepreneur is more than a mind-set. It’s a lifestyle. Entrepreneurs have a burning desire to see their dreams come to fruition. We’ll be celebrating their stories during Small Business Week (October 18-24).”

The ATB Business Beat Survey is conducted four times per year to take the pulse of small and mid-sized businesses, which make up 99.9 per cent of all businesses in Alberta. To subscribe to the Business Beat, visit