This guest blog post is provided by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 118 business centres from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions.

Shifting demographics and the rise of new digital technologies are creating a new reality for Canadian entrepreneurs — one marked by changing dynamics in the labour force and new ways of doing business.

In a new research report, the BDC identifies two major forces reshaping the country's business landscape:

  • Large-scale demographic changes
  • The digitization of the economy

Canadian businesses are already feeling the effects of these forces. In the BDC research, which surveyed 1,400 Canadian business leaders, one quarter of respondents said demographic changes had hurt their ability to recruit skilled employees, while 38% said they had changed the way they do business following the integration of new technologies.

Canada's shifting demographics

As baby boomers retire, fewer people are entering the workforce to replace those who are leaving. This will make it harder for business owners to hire skilled workers.

Meanwhile, Canada's workforce is becoming increasingly diverse. Highly educated millennials are now the largest group of people in the workforce. And new Canadians make up a growing share of workers.

In this context, positioning yourself as an employer of choice is more important than ever.

BDC proposes the following solutions:

  • Reach out to new Canadians
  • Set up coaching to train up new hires
  • Improve your work conditions, benefits and compensation

Adapting to digital technologies

At the same time, a vast array of low value-added activities are being automated, while the Internet, mobile communications and the ability to crunch huge amounts of data are making businesses more efficient, more innovative and more responsive to customers.

Companies are turning to digital technologies because of their undeniable advantages. In its survey, BDC asked business leaders about the benefits of adopting these technologies

  • 50% said it improved customer experience
  • A third said they had better revenue growth

The good news is that the technology is more affordable, more user-friendly and easier to use than it has ever been before.

BDC proposes using the following strategies:

  • Digitize your marketing and sales strategies
  • Automate repetitive and low value-added tasks
  • Use data to help improve your business processes and create new products

Take action to future-proof your business

In this new context, Canadian entrepreneurs need to take more action to respond to these transformations — to future-proof their businesses.

Read the full report for an in-depth look at what you can do to prepare your business. It offers advice on how you can future-proof your business and reap the benefits.

Along the way, you will also learn about leading Canadian entrepreneurs who are successfully meeting these challenges, and have built strong, growing and profitable businesses as a result.