Survey Reveals Fear of Widening Recession and Workplace Violence in Region's Business Community

Apr 16, 2001, 01:00 ET from Midlantic Business Alliance

    BROOMALL, Pa., April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- If any period will be remembered
 as one that "tried men's souls," these are the times.  Area companies are
 losing confidence in the economy, according to a recent survey conducted by
 the Midlantic Business Alliance (MBA), formerly the Small Business Association
 of Delaware Valley, an association which provides services and to small
 businesses throughout the region.  Of 800 companies surveyed locally,
 sixty-three percent of the respondents fear their businesses will be affected
 by an economic downturn within the next twelve months. One-third believe that
 they might be forced to lay off employees.
     The survey, conducted via e-mail, also revealed the following trends:
 
     Fears of Workplace Violence on the Rise
     Recent incidents of workplace violence have sparked concern. After a local
 manufacturer suffered a deadly shooting, area business owners are beginning to
 realize that no one is immune to tragedy.  Fifty-three percent think that
 insurance carriers should include the issue as part of a prevention package.
 
     Employees' Personal Lives Effect Performance
     Most respondents agree that stress, depression and other personal factors
 cost American companies millions of dollars in turnover, leaves of absences
 and short term disability.  Ninety percent believe that such loss could be
 reduced through programs that allow employees to seek confidential counseling
 services when needed.  Seventy-six percent feel that the same programs could
 have such long-term benefits as helping employees to cope with setbacks such
 as layoffs.
 
     Like it or not, Economy is Global
     Fifty percent of the participants believe that the economy is truly global
 and business development opportunities lay waiting past the country's borders.
 "Companies receiving income from other countries can offset some losses at
 home. It's much like having a diversified portfolio of investments," stated
 one survey respondent.  Almost all the respondents feel that maintaining a
 steady cash flow is critical to the livelihood of their business, and fifty-
 three percent believe that expanding their reach to the international market
 could keep the dollars rolling in.
 
     Survey Results Confirm Changes Needed by the Business Community
     MBA, for twenty years the small business association of the Delaware
 Valley, has announced several initiatives to address what it calls
 "significant changes in the demands of the business community from its
 traditional service suppliers -- business associations and chambers of
 commerce."
 
     Stephen Markowitz, Member of MBA's board of directors, indicated that the
 survey was undertaken in response to recently conducted focus groups in which
 respondents overwhelmingly downplayed the value of services provided by
 traditional business organizations and chambers of commerce.
     "MBA is in the process of unveiling a qualitative change in the manner in
 which associations and chambers will have to service the real demands and
 concerns of the region's business community.  That community has told us very
 clearly that they no longer buy into the concept that business card exchanges
 and wine and cheese events are what they are seeking from serious business
 support groups. We have been told to offer resources that will help them
 better manage their time, their money, and their lives."
     For more information on the Midlantic Business Alliance, call
 610-604-4994.
 
 

SOURCE Midlantic Business Alliance
    BROOMALL, Pa., April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- If any period will be remembered
 as one that "tried men's souls," these are the times.  Area companies are
 losing confidence in the economy, according to a recent survey conducted by
 the Midlantic Business Alliance (MBA), formerly the Small Business Association
 of Delaware Valley, an association which provides services and to small
 businesses throughout the region.  Of 800 companies surveyed locally,
 sixty-three percent of the respondents fear their businesses will be affected
 by an economic downturn within the next twelve months. One-third believe that
 they might be forced to lay off employees.
     The survey, conducted via e-mail, also revealed the following trends:
 
     Fears of Workplace Violence on the Rise
     Recent incidents of workplace violence have sparked concern. After a local
 manufacturer suffered a deadly shooting, area business owners are beginning to
 realize that no one is immune to tragedy.  Fifty-three percent think that
 insurance carriers should include the issue as part of a prevention package.
 
     Employees' Personal Lives Effect Performance
     Most respondents agree that stress, depression and other personal factors
 cost American companies millions of dollars in turnover, leaves of absences
 and short term disability.  Ninety percent believe that such loss could be
 reduced through programs that allow employees to seek confidential counseling
 services when needed.  Seventy-six percent feel that the same programs could
 have such long-term benefits as helping employees to cope with setbacks such
 as layoffs.
 
     Like it or not, Economy is Global
     Fifty percent of the participants believe that the economy is truly global
 and business development opportunities lay waiting past the country's borders.
 "Companies receiving income from other countries can offset some losses at
 home. It's much like having a diversified portfolio of investments," stated
 one survey respondent.  Almost all the respondents feel that maintaining a
 steady cash flow is critical to the livelihood of their business, and fifty-
 three percent believe that expanding their reach to the international market
 could keep the dollars rolling in.
 
     Survey Results Confirm Changes Needed by the Business Community
     MBA, for twenty years the small business association of the Delaware
 Valley, has announced several initiatives to address what it calls
 "significant changes in the demands of the business community from its
 traditional service suppliers -- business associations and chambers of
 commerce."
 
     Stephen Markowitz, Member of MBA's board of directors, indicated that the
 survey was undertaken in response to recently conducted focus groups in which
 respondents overwhelmingly downplayed the value of services provided by
 traditional business organizations and chambers of commerce.
     "MBA is in the process of unveiling a qualitative change in the manner in
 which associations and chambers will have to service the real demands and
 concerns of the region's business community.  That community has told us very
 clearly that they no longer buy into the concept that business card exchanges
 and wine and cheese events are what they are seeking from serious business
 support groups. We have been told to offer resources that will help them
 better manage their time, their money, and their lives."
     For more information on the Midlantic Business Alliance, call
 610-604-4994.
 
 SOURCE  Midlantic Business Alliance