Thursday, September 25, 2008

The State of ALANA Businesses, Fall 2008

The State of ALANA Businesses, Fall 2008

Gloom, Cautious Optimism, Resilient Adapters

Bruce P. Corrie, PhD

The full report is on

Given the importance of ALANA (African Latino Asian and Native American) businesses to the local economy it is important to know how they are faring in the current economic climate. To get a sense of their status during this period of economic decline a quick survey was conducted in the following manner: From a database of over 3000 minority firms, 140 were randomly selected from a wide range of sectors. A total of 52 telephone calls were made with 24 responses from 16 sectors of the economy. Half of these calls were to firms randomly selected from the list of firms. Others were called to ensure representation of a wide range of industries.

Respondents were asked if their sales in the previous year were less than average, average or below average. They were also asked about their expected sales in the coming year and whether they had to downsize and about their plans to expand in the future. In addition leaders serving ALANA entrepreneurs were also surveyed for their assessment of the situation. The ALANA business owners reflected a wide range of sizes – both large successful multimillion dollar businesses to small businesses.

From these surveys we can construct the following ALANA Business Sentiment Index – with the value of 1 being “Boom” and the value of 3 being “Gloom”. The index is a simple average of the responses of the two questions on business sales in the past year and expected sales in the future.

An index of 2.3 out of 3 reflected more of “gloom” than optimism. However there were interesting facts behind those businesses doing well.

Firms in the survey reflected the following sectors of the economy: construction, specialty construction, manufacturing, IT services, janitorial services, real estate, restaurants, grocery stores, HVAC, translation services, commercial painting, commercial printing, ethnic media, insurance, business referrals and legal services.

For more details see the full report on