Small Businesses Still Recovering From the Recession

Like their national counterparts, most small business owners in certain markets are still recovering from the recession.

smbs and economics

Seven years after the economic downturn, roughly two-thirds of small businesses report they are still in the process of recovering, according to a Bank of America survey of 1,000 small business-owners.

BoA’s spring 2015 Small Business Owner Report found that only one in five small businesses have completely recovered from the recession.

Small business-owners in Los Angeles (28 percent) and Miami (25 percent) were most likely to say their businesses had completely recovered, compared with only 19 percent in New York and 18 percent in Boston.

Optimism about certain local economies follows a similar pattern, with about 60 percent of small business owners in Los Angeles, Dallas and San Francisco saying they expect their local economy to improve over the next 12 months.

A year ago, Los Angeles and New York small business-owners had the highest rates of optimism, at around 50 percent, about their local economies.

The report also revealed that 67 percent of small business owners would rather delay or reduce their own compensation than take any other course of action to make ends meet.

More than half (54 percent) of small business owners surveyed said they have either never given themselves a raise, or haven’t done so in more than two years.

In addition, more women than men report having never given themselves a raise--23 percent of women, versus 15 percent of men.

Building good relationships with customers is a primary driver of repeat business, and small business owners are showing their appreciation to their customers in a variety of ways.

More than half (57 percent) of the survey respondents feel they receive repeat business because of the relationships they have developed with their customer base.

This sentiment is even stronger among baby boomer owners (71 percent) compared with 47 percent of Millennials and 53 percent of Gen-Xers.

Despite the lingering impact of the recession, small business owners are still confident about the future growth of their businesses, as 63 percent believe revenue will increase in the next 12 months, compared to 62 percent in last fall’s survey. —Overall, 66 percent plan to grow their business in the next five years.

When asked about top economic concerns, small business owners once again cited health care costs as a top concern (70 percent). Number two on their list of concerns was the effectiveness of U.S. government leader. Forty-six percent of small business owners surveyed said they plan to hire additional employees over the next 12 months, down from 52 percent a year ago.

One potential reason for this decline is that more than two out of five small business owners (41 percent) are struggling to find qualified job candidates, according to the 2015 survey.