The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all the respondents who contributed to this survey. All 76 responses were unanimously submitted, with 93% responses coming from a link in our newsletter and 7% coming from a link on our Facebook page.
Summary of Findings:
- Overall, businesses in Sooke are doing well.
- Grants, loans, and CERB combined have been the most utilized form of assistance.
- Sooke Businesses will focus on growth for the next four months.
- Business owners have a desire to learn more about online tools.
- Chamber newsletter and email blasts are valuable.
- Online learning to continue during the pandemic.
- Post-pandemic sees networking and skills development as a priority.
Below are the highlights. Read the FULL REPORT HERE.
Overall, business in Sooke is doing OK, with just under 80% of all respondents selecting either Good or Great. Just under 20% of business are experiencing negative effects. Under a handful are facing closure.
A combined total of 41% took advantage of financial assistance (grants, loans and CERB). Just under one third (32%) have not taken advantage of any support programs, which ranged in selection from free courses to grants and loans. Free webinars were far more popular than paid webinars, with 21% opting for the former and only 2.5% opting for the latter. Only 9% of respondents indicated that they had taken advantage of rent subsidy.
Growth was an overwhelming priority. Twenty respondents (26%) indicated that Expansion was a priority, with an equal number interested in obtaining Marketing Support. Networking was a popular priority (22%). Despite this positive start, among the top priorities was Surviving (21%) matched equally with the Accessing Grants category. This suggests that despite the strong positive outlook that there is an underlying tension concerned with the future.
Online activities (Marking on the Internet, Leveraging Google Tools, and Building an online shop) held the interest of 74% of respondents. A significant number of respondents expressed an interest in learning more about social media with 59% of respondents indicated an interest in Using Social Media combined with Facebook Netiquette. Another 42% were interested in learning more about financing with a heavy emphasis on Grants (32%) as opposed to Loans (11%). Just over 20% indicated that they had no need of seminars. Reputation Management came in at a low 11%.
The Chamber’s newsletter is by far the most robust way to reach local businesses. This is seen in both how people accessed the survey, with 93% of people arriving through a link in the newsletter and the remainder linking it through Facebook. In the survey itself, 63% said they would prefer single itemized email blasts from the chamber and 53% said they found value in the curated newsletter. Only one respondent indicated that they get Chamber news directly from the Chamber’s website.
As the Pandemic continues, over half of all respondents (52%) indicated they are most likely to attend online seminars and under one third (28%) indicated either a Sooke Chamber mixer or a multi-chamber mixer. Just under a third (29%) weren’t interested in any of the options provided.
Post-pandemic, once the new normal arrives, respondents indicated strong interest in in-person networking events (85% selected mixers, the GALA, or a Golf Tournament) and just under half (45%) would participate in in-person business skills development seminars. Just under 20% indicated the Chamber Office would be a resource they would visit. Just over 20% wouldn’t attend any Chamber events.
When asked the open-ended question, How can the Sooke Chamber better serve your business? there was a range of responses including 10 positive, 5 neutral, and 2 negative. Of the 13 constructive suggestions (meaning, something that the Chamber can directly control or influence), networking and connections were repeatedly emphasized. The Chamber will consider all of these suggestions. A number of concerns were beyond the scope of the Chamber (like, helping someone with a mortgage) or simply expressed a gap or a frustration. By way of publishing all of the responses, the Chamber hopes to give a platform to these concerns.
- We are loving the renewed sense of excitement coming from the chamber.
- This chamber group is doing a good job.
- You guys are doing a great job! Thanks!
- We appreciate your service to our local businesses. Keep caring about our community.
- keep doing what you’re doing….
- So far, so good! Keep up the good work!
- keep up the good work
- Keep on doing the good work that you have started this year!
- so far so good
- I think they are doing a great job now.
- I am giving that some thought.
- Not applicable in my case. Thank you
- Well, can not tell right now…
- I don’t have a clear answer for that at the moment, sorry.
- Not sure
- They’ve never done anything for us – I don’t anticipate that changing
- They can’t / they never have been supportive
- it would be good to see Chamber Directors etc out & about
- advocating to the District to keep improving our down town and tourism
- Promotions / Networking
- Just newly learning about how as a one-person business I might take advantage of the Chamber as a resource and community. In the past, I’ve always thought of the chamber as focusing on retail shops and services, so as a sole-proprietorship offering services mostly through online marketing, I wasn’t sure if I was a good fit. So I’m exploring. I lost my main client at the beginning of the pandemic through his retirement so need to find clients to replace and would like to work with local people if possible. Side note re Question 1. I wanted to check a box between good and bad. I wouldn’t say business is good and I wouldn’t say it is bad. Things are ticking over. It’s more “meh.” 🙂
- More advertisement
- keep folks connected; keep track of/share info about opportunities
- Help me promote business and gain customers
- Do not focus on “better serving your business”. Focus on better serving the community and this will create a better business environment. Currently there is almost an antipathy towards businesses is Sooke and we have only ourselves to blame for that attitude.
- Tourist related build up
- Make more connections with the public and non-profit sectors to create linkages to grow social economic development in the region.
- Invite Sooke Councillors to mixers, speed dating for businesses
- Promote business in Sooke
- I am in it for the benefits package. I am a consultant and my work has moved along reasonably steadily so I don’t need any help. I would have some interest if the Chamber started to talk about the real local economy of Sooke or the climate emergency
 “Constructive” means something that the Sooke Chamber can directly control or influence.