Renewing our Strategic Plan: Consultation Summary

Overview

In early 2019, the Strathcona Business Improvement Association Board turned their attention to renewing the SBIA Strategic Plan. 

With the help of Lucent Quay Consulting, the SBIA engaged members through a survey and 1-to-1 interviews in February 2019 to help guide the development of new strategic goals. The purpose of the consultation was to receive feedback from SBIA members on past SBIA performance and gain insight into members’ priorities. The member feedback received was presented to the SBIA Board ahead of their two-day strategic planning workshop. The survey and interview results provided valuable insights to help inform our next five-year strategic plan (2019 – 2024) including potential new and ongoing initiatives.

What we did

An initial email was sent to members in February 2019, notifying them of the Strategic Plan review, consultation timeline and link to the online 12-question survey. The survey was open for a week with a reminder to members sent part-way through.

The SBIA also identified a cross-section of members from varying sectors and geographical areas of the SBIA to be contacted for 1-to-1 interviews.

38 SBIA members completed the online survey and six 1-to-1 interviews were conducted.

What we asked

The survey was comprised of four sections:

  • SBIA Performance — Provided an opportunity for feedback on overall satisfaction with the SBIA over the past year.
  • SBIA Member Priorities — Asked respondents about the SBIA members priorities and goals for the remaining of the Strategic Plan.
  • Challenges and Strengths — Asked respondents about the strengths and challenges facing the SBIA.
  •  About Your Business —Asked respondents about their business.

Highlights of Results

  • 84% of respondents are satisfied with the SBIA overall 84% 84%

Areas where respondents are extremely satisfied (rank 8-10) with the SBIA’s effectiveness are: 

  • Enhancing community safety through dialogue, partnerships, and collaboration
  • Establishing priorities and budgets that reflect the SBIA mission
  • Developing innovative programs that support and celebrate sustainability amongst members and the community

The greatest challenges identified by SBIA members are:

  • Branding of the SBIA & Community
  • Taxation and high cost of doing business
  • Gentrification and new development
  • Parking/Transit Infrastructure

Respondents felt some of the greatest opportunities for the SBIA are:

  • Retaining its culture and arts environment
  • Abundance of industrial land compared to the rest of Vancouver
  • Unique development zoning to attract new businesses
  • Marketing the unique businesses that call Strathcona home

Respondents identified key priorities for the future as:

  • Advocacy with VPD and City of Vancouver initiatives
  • Beautification
  • Safety and Security enhancements
  • Commercial taxation advocacy

Here are those key priorities that members identified broken down into numbers. Top ratings went to working with VPD and the City, street cleaning and sanitation, and the mobile patrol safety team. Graffiti removal and commercial taxation advocacy also rounded out the activities that more than 75% of members indicated are “important”, as illustrated in the table below.

Question #4: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being ‘not at all important’ and 10 being ‘extremely important’, in terms of new or ongoing activities of the SBIA, how important do you think the following activities are to the overall success of the SBIA? For each element, please select the number that best describes your opinion.

An additional takeaway from the in-person interviews was that the SBIA could enhance success with a stronger commitment to member engagement, by creating a greater awareness of initiatives, by clearly defining metrics for success and by providing regular progress reports.

Who responded

Respondents included a mix of long-tenure and newer businesses in Strathcona and a mix of sizes ranging from 1-3 employees to 50 or more.

Most respondents were operating businesses, whether through lease or as an owner/operator within the BIA.

Respondents represented a range of sectors with a number of them belonging to the manufacturing, printing and publishing, and service sectors.

What we did next

Informed by the results of the consultation, the SBIA Board of Directors and Staff took part in a two-day strategic planning session facilitated by Lucent Quay Consulting. Over these energized two days, some new strategic goals began to emerge. These were further refined by the Executive Committee, and staff went to work on developing a strategic framework for these new goals. The Board passed the new strategic plan in May 2019.

Next Steps

Staff are in the early stages of developing work plans to support the new Strategic Plan and look forward to officially launching the plan and framework to members at the Annual General Meeting. This year the AGM takes place on Thursday, Sept. 26th, 2019 at the Settlement Building. We look forward to seeing our members there!