We are pleased to share the fall 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study that uncovers the aspirations, perspectives and pain points of small business owners across the country.
This fall, small business owners' optimism that local, national and global economies will improve remains on par with the cautious outlook recorded in spring 2016. Small business owners are moderately optimistic about revenue growth in the year ahead, with plans to hire remaining relatively flat. Health care costs top small business owners' list of concerns, followed by the effectiveness of the U.S. government and consumer spending.
One exception to the dampened outlook is the newer subset of small business owners – those whose businesses are less than five years old, who are more optimistic about the economy and their business growth.
For this report, we also looked closely at the roles that family, friends and communities play in supporting small business owners. The vast majority of entrepreneurs depend on their family for emotional, operational and/or financial assistance, and more than one-third have at some point received financial support from family and/or friends to fund their business. Nearly two-thirds report that residents in their neighborhood actively support local businesses, while nearly half say the local community plays an important role in the success of their own individual enterprise.
Whether pursuing funding to grow their business or improve cash flow, small business owners turn to a number of sources. Upon starting out, a vast majority of entrepreneurs say they tended to use personal savings, followed by personal credit cards, bank loans and financial support from family and/or friends. Once owners' businesses are established, they rely most heavily on bank loans and personal credit cards.
Despite concerns over consumer spending, the holiday season represents a growth opportunity. Two-thirds of small business owners anticipate meeting year-end revenue goals, and two in five retail business owners expect their holiday sales to exceed last year's.
Going into the holiday shopping season, not all small business owners have implemented EMV chip technology, which adds a layer of security and consumer protection for payments. One-third of those who say they need it have chosen not to implement it. Furthermore, only one-third of those who have implemented EMV technology say they feel more secure.
Whether you've been in business for 30 years or are just starting out, Bank of America is committed to helping provide you with the expertise to sustain and grow your small business.
Sharon Miller, Managing Director, Head of Small Business, Bank of America