Cranbrook Business Walk Survey: 87.4% rate business as good or very good

The Business Walk follows the blueprint of the ‘Business Walks Program’ undertaken across the Province of British Columbia.

Volunteers with the third annual Business Walk in Cranbrook.

Volunteers with the third annual Business Walk in Cranbrook. — Photo courtesy Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce

David Hull, Executive Director of the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce, recently released the results of the Chamber's 3rd annual Cranbrook Business Walk initiative. We are pleased to present the report in its entirety. 

The annual Cranbrook Business Walk is an initiative started in 2016. The Cranbrook Business Walk is an economic development program facilitated by way of a partnership with the City of Cranbrook, Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures East Kootenay and the Economic Development Division of the BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training.

The Business Walk involves visiting businesses across the community in person, door-to-door, to get input on how their business is performing, get their impression of the business climate in the city, and identify both areas of strength and potential issues or obstacles. The annual Business Walk captures the pulse of businesses throughout Cranbrook, connects business support agencies to the business community, communicates industry intelligence to multiple civic and business stakeholders and identifies opportunities for economic development programming.

The Business Walk follows the blueprint of the ‘Business Walks Program’ undertaken across the Province of British Columbia. This consistency provides the opportunity to measure one community against another with the sharing of data.

In addition to completing the questionnaire the Business Walk is an outreach opportunity allowing business operators to talk about their operations, products and services and in some cases provide mini tours.

The information gathered during the Business Walk is shared with the partners, public, and elected officials giving Cranbrook businesses a strong voice.

Executive Summary

The third annual Business Walk was conducted June 19th with 11 teams of two volunteers comprising of elected officials, Chamber board members and community leaders visiting 104 business, with a total of 2131 employees, across the community over a three hour period.

The Business Walks gathered vital information from the business community to identify the types of support services needed for business growth. This information is a high level ‘temperature test’ for businesses in Cranbrook.

The Business Walk intentionally did not visit businesses in the hospitality/accommodation industry or large corporate and institutional operations.

Cranbrook currently has 1447 business licences. A significant number of business licences are held by mobile or home-based businesses. Factoring in these license holders the Business Walk is statistically valid and representative.

2018 Key Findings

How is Business Overall?

When asked how business was overall surveyed businesses reported:

Very Bad 0.0%
Bad 6.3%
Okay 6.3%
Good 45.3%
Very Good 42.1%

To the same question in 2017:

Very bad 1.1%
Bad 1.1%
Okay 10.1%
Good 56.2%
Very Good 31.5%

How is Business Compared to Last Year?

When asked how business was compared to 2017 business reported:

No response 7.4%
Dramatically less 1.1%
Somewhat less 11.6%
Same 26.3%
Somewhat Increased 35.8%
Dramatically Increased 17.9%

To the same question in 2017 comparing to 2016:

No response 4.5%
Dramatically less 1.1%
Somewhat less 4.5%
Same 24.7%
Somewhat increased 55.1%
Dramatically increased 10.1%

Doing business in Cranbrook

What Do You Like About Doing Business in Cranbrook?

Businesses were asked to chose from a standardized list.

Affordability 12.7%
Availability of local services 12.0%
Availability of talented labour 6.7%
Business friendly local government 10.1%
Clientele 21.7%
Cost of doing business 9.7%
Location 19.5%
Other 7.5%

To the same question in 2017:

Affordability 13.2%
Availability of local services 10.7%
Availability of talented labour 7.1%
Business friendly local government 7.6%
Clientele 26.9%
Cost of doing business 8.6%
Location 23.9%
Other 2.0%

Business challenges

What are the biggest challenges facing your business?

Business were asked to identify the biggest challenges to their business.

Finding employees 30.8%
Other 14.4%
Property taxes 12.3%
Parking/access/egress 9.6%
Lack of customers 8.2%
Lack of space 8.2%
Marketing 4.8%
Local restrictions 4.1%
Market leakage 3.4%
Financing 2.7%
Internet speed/access 1.4%

To the same question in 2017:

Finding employees 25.6%
Property taxes 14.0%
Parking/access/egress 10.7%
Other 10.7%
Marketing 7.4%
Lack of customers 6.6%
Lack of space 6.6%
Market leakage 6.6%
Internet speed/access 5.8%
Local restrictions 3.3%
Financing 2.5%

Business Growth and Expansion

We asked a number of questions regarding business growth and resizing their physical plant.

Are you looking to dynamically grow/expand your business beyond economic growth? Businesses were asked if they were going to take demonstrable actions to grow their business beyond the organic economic growth overall in the city.

Yes 51.9%
No 48.1%

To the same question in 2017:

Yes 37.7%
No 62.3%

Are you contemplating moving your premises?

Business were asked if they were looking to relocate their businesses. 13 businesses surveyed responded yes with the reasons listed as:

Bigger/smaller space 69.2%
Location/access/egress 15.4%
Other 15.4%

The timelines given for the 2018 respondents

One year 50.0%
1-3 years 33.3%
3+ years 16.7%

To the same question in 2017, eight businesses indicated a desire to relocate their premises.

The reasons listed were:

Bigger/small space 75.0%
Location/access/egress 0.0%
Other 25.0%

The timelines given for the 2017 respondents:

One year 42.9%
1-3 years 42.9%
3+ years 14.3%

Succession

A number of questions were asked regarding wrapping up/selling their business, timelines and succession planning.

Planning on retiring/selling/wrapping up your business in the next 5 years?

66 of the 104 business responded:

13 - Yes 19.7%
53 - No 80.3%

To the same question in 2107, 72 business responded:

16 - Yes 22.2%
56 - No 77.8%

For those that responded that they were looking to retiring/selling/wrapping up your business in the next 5 years? We asked what their timeline was.

3 - In the next 12 months 30.0%
4 - 1-3 years 10.0%
6 - 4 years or more 60.0%

To the same question in 2107 the 16 that said “yes” indicated their timelines:

3 - In the next 12 months 21.4%
6 - 1-3 years 28.6%
7 - 4 years or more 50.0%

Do you have an up to date succession plan?

56 businesses responded to this question.

11 - Yes 19.6%
45 - No 80.4%

To the same question in 2107, 56 also responded:

21 - Yes 37.5%
35 - No 62.5%

For those that did not have an up to date succession plan we asked if they anticipated creating one.

29 responded.

10 - Yes 34.5%
19 - No 65.5%

To the same question in 2107, 27 responded:

6 - Yes 22.2%
21 - No 77.8%

For those that indicated they were going to create a succession plan we asked when:

In the next 12 months 33.3%
1-3 years 50.0%
4 years or more 16.7%

To the same question in 2017:

In the next 12 months 0.0%
1-3 years 50.0%
4 years or more 50.0%

Where does most of your competition come from?

Local 72.0%
Regional 7.3%
Provincial 8.5%
Rest of Canada 2.4%
USA/World/Online 9.8%

To the same question in 2017:

Local 66.2%
Regional 22.1%
Provincial 3.9%
Rest of Canada 0.0%
USA/World/Online 7.8%

Where do you purchase most of your supplies and support services?

Local 46.9%
Regional 6.2%
Provincial 23.5%
Rest of Canada 11.1%
USA/World/Online 12.3%

To the same question in 2017:

Local 44.4%
Regional 7.4%
Provincial 11.1%
Rest of Canada 27.2%
USA/World/Online 9.9%

Conclusion

The above, as standalone dataset provides a snap shot in time. The 2018 Business Walk information is considerably more valuable than previous years as the 2017 and 2016 comparisons provide context and trending.

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