Spokane, Washington — A new small business needs assessment commissioned by the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the state of Washington found that small business owners have three top priorities: attracting new customers, planning for retirement, and protecting against cyberattacks. emerged as a top priority. Department of Commerce.
Conducted by the Social and Economic Research Center (SESRC) at Washington State University, the study collected data from more than 1,100 businesses across the state between March 1 and July 8 to find out how small businesses in Washington has adapted to statewide COVID-19 restrictions. How were these companies operating two years after the pandemic began?
The study also sought to better understand the specific needs of small business owners in the state and the resources that SBDC and other state agencies/departments can provide to best assist them.
“We knew the pandemic was impacting some businesses more than others, but this research will help us make plans to better serve our small business community. , we have a way to look at the impact by industry and by region,” says Duane Fladland. Secretary of State for Washington SBDC.
“As we dig into the data, we are particularly interested in what kind of help business owners are looking for and where there are gaps,” says Fladland. “We know that timely technical assistance can change the trajectory of a business’s growth or recovery, so we want to ensure that it truly meets the needs of small business owners statewide. I have.”
“By supporting small businesses, we ensure an equitable economic recovery for our communities and statewide,” said Linda Womack, managing director of commerce for Small Business and Community Engagement. “This data is invaluable in helping us better understand and adopt not only current programs and resources, but also new holistic approaches to assistance, to deliver the greatest benefit to Washington small business owners. It helps.”
The main points of the survey are:
The top four areas of COVID-19 impact noted by survey respondents:
- 71% — loss of sales or cash flow
- 57% — hard to get supplies
- 47% — Complying with customer and employee safety measures
- 33% — hard to find and retain employees
Survey respondents identified the top five areas of help needed to get out of the pandemic:
- 45% — find new customers
- 44% — increased sales
- 43% — planning to retire
- 43% — Protect your business from cyberattacks
- 40% — set growth goals
A 156-item survey tool was developed as an online web survey, a mail-in mail survey, and a telephone interview script. Also translated into Spanish and Chinese. Researchers identified 11 commercial sectors and 12 regions in the state as demographic parameters for the study, ensuring data was collected from all counties and diverse industries. Researchers also sought to include female business owners and racial/ethnic minorities in the survey.
The survey was sent to over 7,000 businesses and 1,193 business owners returned fully or partially completed surveys, yielding a response rate of 18.1%. Although the survey did not specifically attempt to measure business closures, 9.2% of the businesses selected for participation were closed and not open at the time of inquiry.
The Washington SBDC is a network of over 47 business advisors working in communities across the state to help business owners start, grow, or buy or sell a business. SBDC offers his one-on-one advice, free and confidential, in every area of business development and nearly every industry. The Washington SBDC has been hosted by Washington State University since 1981 and is funded by the Small Business Administration (SBA), WSU, other institutions of higher education and economic development, and the Washington State Department of Commerce.