While many small businesses surveyed by Meridian Credit Unionaren't planning to hire any more employees or expand in 2014, thecooperative said it still sees opportunities to meet theirfinancial needs.

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The $9.9 billion credit union in Ontario, Canada, released itsSmall Business Banking in Ontario Study Tuesday. Among the findingswere that 75% of the 250 small businesses surveyed have no plans to hire next year.

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Ninety percent aren't planning to expand their current locationand 91% will not open another location in 2014, according to thesurvey, which was conducted by Harris/Decima.

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Twelve percent of those surveyed said they plan to sell theirbusiness, the data showed.

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With 52% of businesses having no planned business changes fornext year, Jeff Brown, director of small business banking atMeridian, acknowledged that he is concerned about the state of thesmall business community in Ontario.

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“One of the top reasons for maintaining the status quo wasbudget and economic concerns,” Brown said. “An easy first step weshare with our members is to create an up-to-date business planthat can act as a roadmap for their future.”

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Meridian also found that 52% of the small businesses surveyedsaid they never seek advice or help from their financialinstitutions and only 13% ask for advice on a regular basis.

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“For Ontario small businesses to grow and prosper they need tohave a support network in place, which is why it came as a surprisethat 52% of Ontario small business owners don't ask for help whenthey need it,” Brown said.

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He added, “By working with trusted advisers, small businessowners can take advantage of opportunities to grow their business,minimizing stress in their personal and professional lives.”

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Other findings from the study revealed that the economy (22%)and saving for retirement (21%) were the leading worries that kept Ontariosmall business owners up at night. Eighty-seven percent identifiedcash flow (45%) and work/family balance (42%) as their topchallenges.

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