EDCUtah’s Salt Lake City business research study reveals key insights

EDCUtah recently conducted a business research survey for Salt Lake City to discover key characteristics of expanding Salt Lake City companies.

The objectives of the study were to explore key barriers to growth for local businesses, determine Salt Lake City’s value proposition to existing businesses, learn which companies are currently exporting, and identify potential solutions that stakeholders can help solve.

In order to deliver a holistic view of Salt Lake City businesses perspectives, EDCUtah conducted an online quantitative survey and worked with Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Alliance to conduct qualitative research by visiting a number of local businesses in-person. The combination provided deep analytics and key qualitative insights. Nearly 5,800 Salt Lake City businesses were invited to participate in the research and over 800 businesses completed the online survey.

On average, 50 to 80 percent of companies currently located in Salt Lake City would expand within the city if the need arose. Companies currently expanding or relocating outside of Salt Lake City indicated that they primarily would like to remain in Utah.

According to EDCUtah’s Vice President of Research and Marketing, Matt Hilburn, one of the most surprising takeaways from the research was how critical a strong arts and entertainment industry is to a business’s desire to remain in Salt Lake City.

“Arts and entertainment are a quality of life metric, which historically hasn’t seemed to have much of an impact on corporate relocation decisions. In this survey, we learned that those businesses who feel Salt Lake City has a great arts and entertainment industry are more likely to stay in Salt Lake City,” said Hilburn. “Employers seem to be realizing that to keep great talent they must operate in an area that offers a great quality of life to their employees. They feel if they were to move their business to another area that doesn’t have the same level of arts and entertainment maybe they would have a harder time keeping their employees.”

Through the Salt Lake City business research results, EDCUtah was able to identify possible solutions to encourage companies to expand or relocate within Salt Lake City. Because the data encompasses the needs of Salt Lake City businesses, policy makers can use the results in order to make better decisions about economic development.

According to Hilburn, customized data with advanced analytics is key for communities to create effective marketing actions and economic development strategies.

“The Community Business Survey is a new product EDCUtah is offering to help cities obtain customized data that will help them address specific challenges within their community. We can tell you which factors have the greatest impact on your businesses decision-making process, and in turn, we can quantify your success in pursuing particular policy or marketing efforts. At the end of the day, it’s not your city and it’s not your business that you’re learning about if you’re simply Googling it,” said Hilburn.

“We try to help communities with custom, primary research that is action-oriented and puts numbers behind decisions. We’ve created a tool that allows you to no longer rely on your gut.”

This information offers unparalleled data about businesses in Salt Lake City. EDCUtah is currently working with three other counties to create research plans for their communities.

“We would love to do this for every city in the State of Utah—that’s our goal. We’re going to be able to compare apples-to-apples how businesses feel about doing business in different communities. It’s great for a city in isolation, but can also be a benchmark when comparing your performance to other cities,” said Hilburn.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming an investor with EDCUtah or conducting a business analysis for your community, contact Matt Hilburn for more information or call us at 1-800-574-UTAH.