The Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce values member input and engagement and regularly conducts surveys among our members to ensure that our programs, divisional goals, and events are aligned both with the overall mission and vision of the Chamber and with the needs of our diverse membership base. In January of this year, the Chamber sent out a survey aimed at our small business members to get input, feedback, and suggestions. Here are the key findings from those survey results.
70% of survey respondents were from businesses that have been open at least six years with the largest portion (44%) being open over 20 years. This indicates that even with all the new growth and development in our area, we serve a large number of long-term, established businesses.
71% of respondents were either self-employed or had less than 10 total employees. Small Business is the backbone of our community and the Chamber recognizes the need to continually offer programs, events, and trainings to help grow and sustain these small businesses within our community.
60% of respondents have not attended a Chamber Tutorial (Member Orientation) in the past two years. Increasing attendance is an opportunity. The Chamber updates its program of work and makes changes to programming every year. Attending the Chamber Tutorial is a refresher on all the Chamber has to offer and helps keep businesses up to date with the latest offerings to maximize their membership investment.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies and practices in small business are some of the most important things businesses can have in a diverse community with an ever-increasing diverse customer base and workforce. When asked to rank themselves on embracing DEI principals into their business the average score respondents had was 3.5 out of 5. 48% ranked themselves a 4 or 5 reflecting an increase in DEI awareness among our business community.
72% of respondents have not utilized any of the Chamber’s social media promotions for their business. The Chamber has a variety of marketing channels (both free and paid) to help promote our members. These provide affordable opportunities for members to increase reach by utilizing the Chamber’s audience network. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to explore options.
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When asked what the biggest benefit is to joining the Chamber, two answers stood out from the rest: Networking and Promotion. This shows Chamber members taking advantage of two primary ways to grow a business.
We asked what new options the Chamber could provide to help grow and promote businesses and here are some direct responses from survey takers:
- More classes on social media marketing and the latest software tricks/helps
- Perhaps a small business forum to explore this with other business owners
- Spotlight a business of the Week
- More community updates on projects happening
- More gatherings like Coffee Connection and Business After Hours
- More classes that business managers / owners could take. Advanced Excel or online marketing, etc.
37% of respondents classified themselves as “Other” when asked to categorize their business needs. The “Other” list included a bank, realtors, hospitality, filmmakers, mobile pet grooming. This shows the Chamber has a wide variety of member businesses and we need to make sure that we are providing a wide variety of programs and offerings to match.
Only 10% of respondents have an active apprenticeship program in their place of business. Apprenticeships are a great way to help train your future workforce while still allowing for educational growth. You can reach out to Joe Rollins at the NWA Council to learn more about how your business can benefit from hiring apprentices.
When asked if members knew about the Chamber’s Small Business Council, 80% responded yes. The SBC is a group of volunteers who work with or for small businesses. You can learn more about the SBC and how to get involved here.
On the topic of business education classes, survey participants were offered a variety of choices on training frequency, platform, and length. The overwhelming responses favored a 1-2 hour class offered quarterly. 61% or responses requested a combination of both in-person classes and online webinars.
Trainings on social media and traditional marketing was by far the most popular suggestion for programs the Chamber could offer. Business accounting/finances was also a popular suggestion as well additional opportunities suggested directly from members:
- Return on investment calculations
- Process improvement, strategic-tactical planning, problem solving
- Panel discussions of local business leaders
- Common tools and how to use them or implement them
- Time Management/Time Blocking