A survey of Greater Vernon business leaders suggests that more than half expect their businesses to perform better financially in 2018 with almost 40 percent planning to hire additional employees.
The survey was conducted by accounting and consulting firm MNP in conjunction with the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce.
Two hundred local business leaders were polled by phone between March 23rd and April 12th.
Pictured: Dione Chambers, general manager, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce
The survey found that while generally very positive, business leaders have some concern about the future of the economy, the difficulty to attract and keep skilled staff and challenges related to government regulations and processes.
Fourty-eight percent expect to be negatively impacted by the planned minimum wage increases.
“We are very happy with the participation we received for the first year of the survey, which gives us a valuable benchmark with which to compare the results of future surveys. I’m hopeful that the results will spark some meaningful discussion in the Vernon area about how to help our local businesses grow and succeed, and improve the overall economic climate in the Okanagan region,” said Trina Warren, Regional Managing Partner, Thompson- Okanagan Region, MNP.
Summarizing the report:
–53% of respondents reported the financial performance of their business improved in the past 12 months and 35% hired new employees.
–Looking ahead, 65% of respondents expect their financial performance to improve in 2018 and 39% expect to hire additional employees.
–58% of businesses define their five-year business priority is growth and expansion.
–The most highlighted challenges that could limit that growth includes uncertainty about the local economy (44%), government regulations (36%), lack of skilled labour (32%) and the image of the Vernon community (30%).
Dione Chambers, General Manager, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce added the survey is one of several initiatives the organization has undertaken to stay focused on the current and future needs of local businesses.
“One of our goals of the Greater Vernon Chamber is that we provide ongoing access to timely, relevant local data that we gather through the surveys, business walks, focus groups and round tables that we host on a regular basis,” said Chambers. “We ask relevant and important questions to be able to share information about what’s on the mind of Greater Vernon businesses and what matters most to businesses in our community. We then follow that up with action through our advocacy efforts.”
The Chamber of Commerce and MNP plan to repeat the survey in two or three years to see what’s changed.
But the immediate focus will be to work with local business leaders to address their primary areas of concern and support those that want to grow.