Small-business owners have faith in their local economies and are optimistic about growth, but still really stressed out, a Bank of America survey indicates.
A survey of small-business owners by Bank of
America suggests running a small business is more stressful than raising a
child or managing a relationship with a significant other, but the study also
found that optimism and plans to hire are strong among business owners.
Nearly one-third (31 percent) of those
surveyed said they expect to expand their workforce in the next 12 months. In
the next year, 42 percent said they expect their own local economic conditions
to improve, compared with 35 percent who say the national economy will get
Among those small businesses planning to
hire, owners expect to increase the number of employees by 25 percent on
average. Overall, 61 percent of respondents forecast a revenue increase for
their business, and 32 percent projected revenue would remain the same.
Small-business owners are also more focused
on their local economy and individual decisions than the general health of the
U.S. economy, the survey indicated. Indeed, 69 percent view their local economy
as very important to their business success, and 53 percent state that their
own decisions are more likely to influence business outcomes. The sentiment was
particularly high among younger small-business owners, the survey found.
We know how much small-business owners give
up to make their businesses successful, but despite their sacrifices, they are
still optimistic about the future, Dean Athanasia, preferred and small
business executive at Bank of America, said in a prepared statement.
Therefore, we believe that the financial services industry, the business
community and the general public must continue to take steps to support the growth
and success of our small-business sector.
While small-business owners are aware that
marketing is a key driver of growth, and the rise of social media platforms can
aid in their expansion, the survey indicated owners arent taking full
advantage of the opportunity. Only 38 percent of businesses use social media to
market or promote their business or engage their customer base, and less than
half (47 percent) use social media services like Groupon to offer discounts and
deals to clients. Nearly two-thirds of survey participants (64 percent) said
they wish they took better advantage of technology innovations to help manage
or market their business.
In addition to the national survey, 300
small-business owners were also surveyed in nine target markets, including Los
Angeles, Dallas, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco,
Atlanta and Miami. In the greater New York City area, 57 percent of respondents
said they anticipate an increase in revenue over the next year. Additionally,
28 percent of Metro New York small-business owners said they plan to hire more
employees in the year ahead, and 53 percent said they plan to keep their
staffing projections consistent.
In the San Francisco market, the survey
uncovered that 52 percent of San Francisco small-business owners are confident
their local economy will improve in the next 12 months. San Francisco small-business
owners are more confident in their local economy than any other market
surveyed, the report noted. The report reveals a streak of optimism and
slightly greater confidence among San Francisco small business owners when
compared with the rest of the nation, but a number of economic factors continue
to present challenges, Martin Richards, San Francisco market president for
Bank of America, said in a statement.