InUnison recently released its first-ever comprehensive “State of Local” report that sheds light on the financial health and outlook of Richmond area local businesses. The report reveals that over 70 percent of businesses reported favorable revenue numbers in 2022, indicating a thriving local business scene. However, beneath this optimism, concerns about the future of the economy and the challenges faced by small businesses loom large.
Formerly known as the Retail Merchants Association, InUnison unveiled the “State of Local” report as a pivotal benchmarking tool tailored to the specific needs of local, independent businesses in the Richmond region. The report delves into the financial performance and business strategies of these businesses, offering insights into their successes and challenges.
Strong Financial Performance Amidst Optimism and Concern
According to the report, local businesses in the Richmond area experienced robust financial performance, with collective revenue exceeding a staggering $170 million in 2022. Impressively, the inaugural “State of Local” survey showed that more than 70 percent of businesses concluded the year with profits or at a break-even point. Even more encouragingly, 57 percent of businesses achieved profitability by the end of the year.
The report also found a spirit of optimism within the local business community. Around 52 percent of the surveyed businesses reported being in the process of hiring new employees. Out of this group, 59 percent expressed confidence in the quality of potential candidates, demonstrating a hopeful outlook toward a stronger workforce.
Furthermore, the survey revealed that a significant proportion of local businesses value the input of their employees when shaping their business strategies. Approximately 68 percent of respondents emphasized the importance of employee feedback, signaling a collaborative approach to decision-making.
Insights into the Local Business Landscape
- Physical Presence: An overwhelming 93 percent of the surveyed businesses reported having a physical location or storefront. This translates to a substantial commercial space of more than 554,000 square feet across the region, underscoring the presence and significance of these businesses within the local economy.
- Community Engagement: Nancy Thomas, President & CEO of InUnison, emphasized “Local business owners and operators provide much more than just products and services – they’re the lifeblood of our community.”
Navigating Uncertainties and Challenges
Despite the promising financial performance and evident optimism, the survey revealed a backdrop of uncertainty for local businesses. The majority of respondents expressed concerns about both the U.S. (90%) and local (71%) economies. Additionally, concerns regarding the conditions faced by small businesses in Richmond resonated with 72 percent of the respondents.
“When you run a local business, especially a small one, it can feel overwhelming,” said Sarah Paxton from LaDIFF. “It helps to remember that we’re not alone, and a rising tide lifts all boats. It’s always helpful to hear from other business owners whether for collaboration or commiseration! This research and the community opportunities provided from InUnison bring so much value to my team and me.”
Supporting Local Businesses through InUnison
InUnison plays a pivotal role in supporting local businesses in the Richmond area. The organization employs legislative efforts, mentorship programs, direct-to-consumer marketing initiatives, industry roundtables and more to empower and uplift local organizations.
The “State of Local” report paints a dynamic picture of the Richmond area’s local business landscape. The robust financial performance of many businesses underscores their resilience and adaptability in the face of challenges. However, the prevailing concerns about the future economic climate highlight the need for collective support and strategic collaborations. InUnison’s dedication to fostering a vibrant local business community offers a unique resource as local entrepreneurs navigate the evolving landscape.
To further explore the insights from the “State of Local” report, sign up for free at InUnison.org.