By Jennifer Ferrero, APR, DTM

Why we issued a business owner survey

If you own a business, you may be wondering how other business owners are coping right now. We are too. That’s why we initiated a survey to learn more about the current business owner mindset in northern Idaho and Washington state. 

Here are the results of our anonymous survey to business owners between April 15-23, 2020. Our goal was to learn more about what you are thinking, how you are dealing with the virus crisis, and whether you are able to continue to operate. 

There are businesses that are thriving right now in this environment, and businesses that are struggling. Thanks to those who shared their current situation – again, completely anonymous. 

Thank you for your participation! 


  1. Is your business considered essential or non-essential now? 
    • Response ratios
      • 16.6% essential
      • 33.3% non-essential, not able to work due to restrictions 
      • 50% non-essential, but working remotely
  2. Do you have employees? If so, are they still working for you? (responses sampled, consolidated)
    • Employees are on unemployment
    • Interns are gone because college is shut-down
    • No employees
    • We still have all employees and no layoffs
  3.  How concerned are you about keeping your business going now? 
    1. Slightly concerned 33%
    2. Concerned 33%
    3. Highly concerned 33% 
  4. What has been the biggest change since COVID-19? (responses sampled, consolidated)
    • No work or revenue
    • The issues our clients have are bigger than ours
    • Ambiguity about going back to work and when
    • We no longer need our freelancers and contractors
    • Sales have decreased
    • Everything is remote 
  5. On a scale of 1 – 5 how motivated were you to work on your business before COVID-19? 
    • Motivated 50% 
    • Highly motivated 50% 
  6. On a scale of 1-5 how motivated are you now to work on your business? 
    • Not at all motivated 17%
    • Motivated 33% 
    • Highly motivated 50% 
  7. Which are the following are you working on in your business now? 
    • Marketing/promotions 83.3% 
    • Sales meetings or calling customers 33.3%
    • Business planning 100% 
    • Re-alignment of products or services 83.3%
    • Redevelopment of contracts, paperwork or procedures of the business 16.6%
    • New online systems for taking orders or managing customers/clients 33.3%
    • Networking (online) 50%
    • Other
      • Education 
      • Technology 
  8. Where are you spending time (if you are a non-essential business) now that we have a “Stay at Home” order? (responses sampled, consolidated)
    • Mostly home, with an occasional visit to the office
    • Self study
    • Process improvement
    • Home
    • Exercise
    • Marketing
  9. Have you applied for the Payroll Protection Plan? 
    1. Yes 83.3%
    2. No 16.6% 
  10. What other concerns do you have now that you didn’t have a few months ago? (responses sampled, consolidated)
    • How to become more profitable
    • How to market products
    • How to change products/services with so many unknowns
    • Feeling concerned about the entire business
    • Uncertainty about the Governor’s orders and when restrictions will be lifted
    • Lack of cashflow
    • Making connections and generating new prospects/sales leads
  11. As a business owner, what do you need now for business continuity? (responses sampled, consolidated)
    • Ways to move forward, strategies
    • Government funding 
    • Information for small businesses and self-employed/solo-preneurs to survive
    • Specific industry updates 
Jennifer Ferrero, APR, DTM
About the author,

Jennifer has been a business owner in several companies within the marketing, communications and public relations arena serving hundreds of clients over a 24 year career. She serves as a Business Development Manager for ActionCOACH Northwest and helps other business owners to grow and be successful through coaching and training programs.

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