The City of Airdrie has revealed the results of its 2022 Business Survey conducted earlier this year, revealing 92 per cent of respondents are satisfied with owning and operating a business in the municipality.
According to Tara Levick, economic development officer with the City, it is the first survey of Airdrie’s business community since 2018. She said a survey was scheduled for 2020, but it was deferred due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The survey was conducted this year – the data that we collected [is intended to] gauge how businesses are doing in Airdrie and then to see how the business operating environment is doing in Airdrie,” Levick said.
The online and phone surveys were conducted by Deloitte, an international professional consulting firm, from April 4 to May 10. The survey was open to all licensed businesses located within Airdrie’s city limits.
Levick said the online survey was emailed to business owners by the consulting firm and the municipality and was supplemented with several communications tools to encourage responses.
“Each email contained a unique link for that business, and then we pushed it out through the social media channels, our newsletter, and the Chamber of Commerce,” she said.
A random sample phone or online survey was completed by 363 businesses from an initial sample of 2,266. The total response rate was 17.2 per cent – which according to a City press release, is “very high” in the market research industry.
“The results have a high level of accuracy with a 5.1 per cent margin of error at a 95 per cent confidence level and statistically represent the business community in Airdrie,” stated the press release.
Overall, Levick said the survey revealed a “very positive” outlook for the business community in Airdrie with high satisfaction rates seen across the board.
Additionally, she highlighted 80 per cent of respondents felt confident in their business’ level of resiliency to operate or survive a short-term crisis in the next two to five years.
“We’re really happy to hear [that],” she said, adding 89 per cent of business owners voiced satisfaction in working with the City for matters pertaining to their business.
According to Levick, this year’s survey was revised from previous year's renditions after research was undertaken to ensure the right questions were being asked to business owners.
She said previously, the survey had hoped to gauge business owners' satisfaction working with the municipality, but it has now been rebranded to include questions regarding operations, business resiliency during the pandemic, workforce outlook, and more.
“It isn't really a satisfaction survey anymore – it was just a holistic business survey,” she said.
Top priorities indicated for Airdrie business owners include cost and availability of operating space and land, access to health-care services, and availability of skilled labour.
Levick said the survey results show businesses in Airdrie are feeling “cautiously optimistic” following the pandemic, adding the City is looking forward to following up with business owners to discuss areas of support.
New to the survey this year were the Triage Flag Results, which will give the City an opportunity to connect with business for further discussion and an opportunity to discuss their needs, she said.
“We’re really excited about the next step of the survey – taking the results and doing something with them,” she said.
“Part of that is prioritizing those people that want to be reached out to.”
In response to the results, Mayor Peter Brown said in the release that local business owners have faced many challenges over the pandemic, and the survey is an opportunity for the City to continue to “provide an environment where businesses can grow and thrive.”
“Gathering feedback from Airdrie businesses is important to ensuring we are addressing challenges that are important to them,” Brown said.
Full survey results can be found on the City of Airdrie’s website at airdrie.ca/businesssurvey