About the Survey

This survey is for locally owned, independent businesses. It generally takes fewer than 10 minutes, and is completely confidential if you prefer. It has three main goals: 1) to find out how independent businesses are faring, 2) what are their key challenges and issues, and 3) how the localism movement is having an impact.

Your feedback provides invaluable data about the viability of local, independent businesses. Our findings are published in a "New Orleans Independent Business Trends" Report, which we share widely with local and national policy makers to help create an environment where local business can thrive.

THANK YOU for your participation!

This survey is being conducted by StayLocal in partnership with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and the Advocates for Independent Business (AIB) coalition.

* 1. Is your business registered in the state of Louisiana?

* 2. Does your business involve ownership of a franchise?

* 3. In which parish(es) do the majority owners reside?

* 4. In which parish(es) is your business located?

* 5. In which city or town is your business located?

* 6. Are any of the following true of your business? (Please check all that apply.)

* 7. Which category best fits your business?

Please pick the category that constitutes the largest share of your business and please try to avoid selecting "other" if one of these categories is a reasonable fit.

* 8. In what year was your business started?

* 9. Currently, how many employees do you have (counting any owners who work for the business)?

* 10. At this time last year, how many employees did you have (counting any owners who work for the business)?

* 11. For retailers, on average how much do your employees earn per hour?

* 12. Approximately, by how much were your sales either up or down in 2016 compared with 2015?

* 13. Approximately, by how much were your sales up or down during the 2016 holiday season (defined as the months of November and December) compared with the previous holiday season?

* 14. In 2016, did a major change in your business render comparisons to 2015's sales irrelevant? (For example, is yours a newly opened business or did you move or undertake a major reconfiguration of your offerings?)

* 15. Would you say that public awareness of the benefits of supporting locally owned businesses has increased or decreased in the last year?

* 16. StayLocal is Greater New Orleans independent business alliance. We work to create an environment where local businesses can thrive through research, education and advocacy. Have you heard of StayLocal?

* 17. If you have heard of StayLocal, how have you participated in the past year? (Please check all that apply.)

* 18. What kind of impact has StayLocal had on your business?

* 19. Has StayLocal contributed to any of the following? (Please check all that apply.)

* 20. Did you actively promote and participate in Small Business Saturday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving)?

* 21. How would you rate the impact of Small Business Saturday on your customer traffic and sales?

* 22. Please rate how significant the following challenges are for your business, with "1" being not at all and "5" being an extremely significant challenge for you:

  1 2 3 4 5
Difficulty obtaining loans or financing to grow my business
My customer base is struggling financially
Health insurance benefits are too costly
Competition from national brick-and-mortar chains
Competition from online mega-retailers
Difficulty finding qualified employees
Overall customer traffic around my location is down
My big competitors receive better pricing & terms from suppliers
Can't afford to market my business well
My rent or occupancy cost is too high relative to my sales
Road construction

* 23. Has your business been affected by road construction in the past year?

* 24. Do you own or lease your location?

* 25. For locations you lease, how worried are you about changes in rent?

* 26. Starting July 2017, new e-fairness legislation in Louisiana will require online sellers to collect and remit sales tax like brick & mortars are already required to do by law. This solves the competitive disadvantage for independent businesses. In 2016, how did the lack of equal sales tax collection from online sellers impact your retail sales?

* 27. What percentage of your revenue did you spend on credit card fees in 2016?

* 28. Do you think federal policy should cap how much credit card companies can charge merchants in swipe (or interchange) fees?

* 29. In the last two years, have you needed a loan for your business and been unable to find a bank or other entity willing to lend to you?

* 30. Do you think regulators should more vigorously enforce antitrust laws against large, dominant companies?

* 31. Would you support legislation in Louisiana to cap the dollar value of economic development tax breaks that big companies can receive from the state, parishes and/or cities in Louisiana?

* 32. Would you support legislation in Louisiana to increase the minimum wage?

* 33. If the minimum wage increases, what impacts do you anticipate and what steps do you anticipate taking in response? (Please check all that apply.) 

* 34. How frequently does your business advocate on public policy issues that affect locally owned businesses?

* 35. We welcome any additional comments.

* 36. BONUS QUESTION! We'd like to know more about the experiences of independent businesses when they need a loan. If you recently applied for a loan, we'd love to hear how that went. Did you approach large national banks, local banks, credit union, or other kinds of lenders? Was the outcome positive or negative, or some of both?

* 37. BONUS QUESTION! We'd like to learn more about the regulatory burdens independent businesses face and what regulations are the biggest impediments to running a small business. Please rate the impact of the following on your business, with "1" being not at all impeding my business and "5" extremely impeding my business:

  1 2 3 4 5
Affordable Care Act
Overtime Rules
Federal Tax Code
Independent Contractor Test
Fiduciary Rule for Investment Advisors

* 38. Thank you for taking our survey! If you'd like to be entered to win a wine basket from Pearl Wine Co., fill out your information below or email abigail@staylocal.org with "2017 Independent Business Survey" in the subject line. Check back to staylocal.org/survey for updates.