Squamish Business Outlook

Squamish businesses more positive about the future than across B.C.

The B.C. Chamber of Commerce recently released findings from their Collective Perspective survey, an annual poll of B.C. businesses, which identifies the sentiment of the business community, what’s helping and what’s hurting. The Squamish Chamber conducted a similar study, focusing on Squamish businesses.

Overall, businesses across B.C reported a positive mood but with more stress in 2018. Squamish businesses reported a significantly more positive outlook.

HOW IS YOUR BUSINESS TODAY?

In the fall 2018 Collective Perspective study, businesses across B.C were asked to assess the current state of their business. While the majority of businesses were positive, there was a softening in sentiment.

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The overall trend took a negative shift with the percentage of businesses stating ‘good/very good’ decreasing  to 56% in 2018, from 61% in 2017, and a corresponding increase in the percentage of businesses stating ‘acceptable’ and ‘poor’ (44% in 2018 compared to 39% in 2017).

Meanwhile closer to home, the Squamish Chamber polled Squamish businesses, who also reported a negative shift. Businesses in a ‘very good’ shape declined significantly from 26% in 2017 to 13% in 2018. However, attitudes were more positive in Squamish, with 53% of businesses in good shape, compared to 43% across B.C.

Thinking about your business, how do you feel things are going at the present time? Would you say your business is in very good shape, good shape, acceptable shape, poor shape or very poor shape?

HOW ARE YOUR PROSPECTS 3-5 YEARS?

Businesses were asked to describe prospects for their business over the next 3-5 years – very good, good, acceptable, poor, very poor.

Across B.C. the outlook for the future declined, with 19% stating ‘very good’ in 2018, a significant decline from 27% in 2017.

Conversely, optimism for the future grew in Squamish. One in two businesses (50%) reported the prospects for the next 3-5 years as ‘very good’, with a further 38% stating ‘good’. The positive outlook has improved since 2017, when 37% reported ‘very good’ prospects for the future. 

The future is bright for Squamish but there are barriers to growth in the current business environment which need addressed.

How would you describe the prospects for your business over the coming 3-5 years – would you say things look very good, good, acceptable, poor or very poor?

THE PROBLEM?

While the outlook for the future was more positive in Squamish than B.C as a whole, Squamish is currently facing similar challenges as those experienced across B.C.

The Collective Perspective reported that confidence in the B.C. economy had declined in 50% of businesses. The primary reason cited (79%) is that ‘the cost of doing business has worsened.’ The cost of housing, the cost of/access to labour and taxes/regulations are ‘hurting’ businesses more than any other factors. These are concerns shared by the Squamish business community, along with transit and transportation. Ultimately, housing and labour and transit are all connected (unlike our regional transit options).

GET INVOLVED!

We may have a more positive outlook in Squamish, but we know businesses are facing challenges right now, and there are many ways we can help improve the business environment.

The Squamish Chamber is now in the process of gathering data and insights to develop and support our business advocacy positions. We are raising awareness of the challenges, and working with the B.C Chamber to ensure your voice is heard.

In order for the Squamish Chamber to be successful as the voice of business, we need your help.

Generate data. We encourage you to participate in the Squamish Chamber and B.C Chamber surveys. Data helps us demonstrate the challenges and opportunities. Look out for surveys from the Squamish Chamber. Join MindReader, a survey tool from the B.C Chamber.  

Participate in our advocacy events. The Squamish Chamber regularly hosts events with our elected officials from all three levels of government. This is your opportunity for face to face engagement with your representatives.

Stay engaged by following us on facebook/squamishchamber and signing up for our newsletter (sign up at the bottom of this blog). Through these channels, we will provide opportunities to connect, along with updates, such as our recent report on housing affordability.

ABOUT THE DATA

The Collective Perspective survey was conducted online by the B.C Chamber with 883 British Columbia business leaders, in October/November, 2018. 

The Squamish Chamber survey was conducted online with 106 members of the Squamish Chamber of Commerce, in October/November 2018. 

Louise Walker

Louise Walker

Executive Director, Squamish Chamber of Commerce

CONNECT. COMMUNICATE. COLLABORATE.

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