Grant County Economic Growth Council Announces Results from 2012 Business Climate Survey

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A recent survey captured the opinions local business owners have on doing business in Grant County. The study also reported key challenges and constraints faced by businesses, their financial health, and the services local businesses would like to see offered.

“The business climate in Grant County is at least as good if not better than the state of Indiana.." Tom Lehman, Growth Council Vice President of Strategy & Evaluation

A recent survey captured the opinions local business owners have on doing business in Grant County. The study also reported key challenges and constraints faced by businesses, their financial health, and the services local businesses would like to see offered.

The Grant County Economic Growth Council conducts a survey of the local business climate on an annual basis, but this particular survey focused on the needs of small businesses. The survey participation was higher than ever before, with 67 out of 123 businesses responding, a response rate of over 54 percent.

The overall opinion of Grant County’s business climate was fairly positive among the respondents, with 77 percent of businesses surveyed reporting Grant County to be a supportive place for small business owners. Seventy-three percent said they would encourage someone else to start a business in Grant County. Fifty percent said it would be relatively easy to start a business in Grant County. Only 30 percent said it was somewhat or very difficult to start a business in Grant County. Tom Lehman, Growth Council Vice President of Strategy & Evaluation, remarked, “The business climate in Grant County is at least as good if not better than the state of Indiana, in comparison to the national Thumbtack survey. Indiana earned a B+ in comparison to 45 other states in the Thumbtack, and the results from our local survey would reflect similar or even better results for Grant County.”

When asked about the biggest challenge in starting a business in Grant County, most responses fell into one of three categories: recruiting qualified employees, local and national economic conditions, and specific financing challenges related to raising investment capital. The global economy, rising overhead and utility costs, availability of skilled workers, and problems with state regulations rose to the top of the major constraints to business according to the survey respondents.

The majority of respondents answered positively when asked to project their financial situation over the next 12 months. A total of 66.7 percent predicted their financial situation would be either slightly or substantially better.

One motivating factor in conducting the survey was to investigate whether current Growth Council programs and practices are sufficiently serving local small businesses. Respondents were asked to rank the importance of services that currently are or may be undertaken by the Growth Council. The top responses included the following: Improving the local business climate, attracting new businesses to the community, and assisting local firms to grow. Tom Lehman explained: “Most of the respondents were very satisfied with the activities and services the Growth Council is currently implementing.”

The Growth Council board of directors is in the process of analyzing the survey results and is exploring ways to respond to Grant County business needs. Tim Eckerle, Executive Director for the Growth Council, says he is “very pleased with the optimistic nature of the survey results given the current economy.”

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Erin Wheeler
ewheeler@grantcounty.com
765-662-0650
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