The 2023 Member Survey Results
At Lowcountry Local First, we believe ownership matters and relationships matter. Our goal is to support the local business community and tailor our programs to help our community gain access to every chance at success. That’s why we work with businesses, community members, and policymakers to build support for local, independent businesses.
Why does this matter? Well, local businesses reinvest 3 TIMES MORE money back into our local economy. That means, for every $100 spent at a local business, an average of $45 is recirculated into the Lowcountry, vs. only $15 when that money is spent with a national chain store or corporation. Local businesses are much more likely to hire a local marketing firm, use a local printer, and employ the services of a local attorney, creating a multiplier effect.
What’s more, we’re guessing that you, like us, think the Lowcountry is pretty special and would rather it not become ‘Anywhere, USA.’
Finally, Lowcountry Local First believes in leveling the playing field through a new approach to economic development. To fulfill our mission, we must keep a pulse on the local business community we serve – to know the painpoints and the victories. Here are the survey results from Lowcountry Local First’s 2023 Annual Member Survey.
- Size of Membership: The Lowcountry Local First membership base includes 485 local-independent businesses from across a diverse array of industries and representing 13,000 employees. View our Local Business Directory to get a taste of these One-of-a-Kind businesses.
- Age of Business: The median company age is 10 years old.
- Gross Annual Revenue: More than two thirds of companies experienced revenue growth in 2021.
- Workforce Challenges: Almost half of respondents reported difficulty in hiring and retraining quality candidates. Challenges faced included candidates choosing other opportunities for higher pay, more benefits, or deciding to shift towards becoming entrepreneurs.
- Working with Local Businesses: Many members indicated they already use local providers for some or all of their business needs. Businesses who were interested in increasing their local B2B service providers put in 154 requests for Lowcountry Local First to connect them with local companies.
- Top Challenges: Supply chain issues and the cost of health insurance ranked as top challenges for our members. Hiring and retaining qualified workers remains a challenge across the board.
- Advocacy Priorities: Promoting and bringing awareness to the local-independent businesses in our community tops the list. Combating the prevalence of chain businesses through advocating for policies and zoning laws that put homegrown businesses first is also a top priority.
- Programs and Resources: ‘Support Local’ awareness campaigns to consumers highlighting the impact of local businesses top the list for the #1 way LLF can achieve our mission. The second most popular response was networking and building the “relationship economy.” And the third most popular response was to Advocate and work with elected officials on policies to support the local business community and level the playing field for homegrown businesses.