Ever since supporters of Occupy Wall Street staged their first demonstrations in New York’s Zuccotti Park nearly two months ago, everyone from the President to the owner of my neighborhood coffee shop has expressed an opinion about the movement. In fact, it was a chat with Ali (the aforementioned coffee shop owner) that got me thinking: What do other small, independently owned businesses think about Occupy Wall Street? Do they believe it helps or hurts small companies?

So, we recently sent a short online survey to a portion of our small-business customer base. Since the topic is a little controversial, we sent it out as an anonymous survey, so there’d be no way to link any specific answer or comment to a name or company (unless the person chose to disclose it).

Here are some of our findings:

  • Occupy Wall Street says it’s standing up for the 99 percent of the U.S. population being exploited by the wealthy 1 percent. We asked respondents where they think their income places them along the spectrum:

The clear majority of those surveyed are within the 99 percent – maybe no huge surprise there.

  • Interestingly, respondents were nearly evenly split when asked whether they supported Occupy Wall Street:

Occupy Wall Street Survey

  • Of those who support the movement, 73 percent say it helps small business:

Occupy Wall Street Survey

  • Of those who oppose the movement, though, nearly 82 percent say it hurts small business:

Occupy Wall Street Survey

These last two findings might suggest that detractors are more confident that it hurts small business, while perhaps Occupy Wall Street supporters align with the movement for reasons other than its impact on small business.

So, despite what many may think, small businesses aren’t decisively in one specific camp when it comes to Occupy Wall Street. And while our views may differ, one thing’s clear: small businesses aren’t shy about voicing their opinion when it comes to our country’s future, which we’re all for!

P.S. As an added bonus, we shared the results with several small business reporters and got some great media coverage as well. Check out some of the articles in our “VerticalResponse in the News” section.

Has the Occupy Wall Street movement had any effects on your business? Do you feel that its message is good or bad for small business in general? Take a moment to share your opinion in the comments!

© 2011 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.