A new survey aims to statistically measure the impact COVID-19 has had on businesses across Washtenaw County.
Ann Arbor-based entrepreneurial research nonprofit EntryPoint recently launched the COVID-19 Washtenaw County Business Impact Survey, which is open to county-based businesses of any size in any sector. The survey includes questions on what actions businesses have had to take as a result of the pandemic, how their revenue has changed, what assistance they need, and how they've pivoted as a result of the crisis.
EntryPoint has engaged a task force of over 20 local chambers of commerce, downtown development authorities, municipal bodies, and philanthropic foundations who are working to distribute the survey and will later make use of its results.
"It's just something we're doing for free because we saw there was a really big need," says Emily Heintz, EntryPoint founder and managing director. "Putting together a really quality analysis of this is going to be really important to the business community in Washtenaw County."
Heintz says 350 businesses have already responded to the survey, and she hopes to draw a total of 1,000 respondents before beginning to distribute survey results next week. The survey has so far seen particularly strong response from small businesses in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Saline. Heintz hopes to also see additional response from larger businesses, tech businesses, and those located in Dexter and Chelsea in order to develop a "really dense data set" that measures impact "across businesses of all sectors and sizes."
Heintz says the preliminary results have been "really interesting." Notably, 41% of respondents have said they were at least somewhat well positioned for working remotely, working online, or offering delivery prior to the pandemic's arrival.
"We're seeing everything from small businesses who are closing permanently all the way to small businesses and large businesses and investors and service providers who are pivoting their businesses," Heintz says. "It's kind of like the full spectrum."
Heintz hopes to follow up with survey respondents in six months or a year to continue chronicling the pandemic's impact on the local business community. She encourages local business owners to participate in the survey so its task force members can better determine the business community's needs.
"I think they're really going to be looking over the long term at how we can best support the community," Heintz says. "Having solid information about their audience and the impacts that COVID has had on their audience ... will be something that then helps them craft better programs to support their audience."
The survey is available here.
For more Concentrate coverage of our community's response to the COVID-19 crisis, click here.
Patrick Dunn is the managing editor of Concentrate.