Dallas/Fort Worth business owners maintain optimistic business outlook

Local entrepreneurs see big opportunity in the year ahead, with significantly stronger business outlooks than the national average, according to the spring 2019 Bank of American Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report. Dallas/Fort Worth business owners maintain this confidence despite a slight softening in sentiment around the economy and mixed views on the impact of last year’s landmark tax reform and trade tariffs.

The report, based on a semiannual survey of over 1,500 small business owners across the country and the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area, reveals that:

Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs maintain a strong business outlook for the next 12 months:

  • Seventy-eight percent plan to expand their business (vs. 80 percent in fall 2018, and 11 percentage points higher than the national average of 67 percent).
  • Seventy-seven percent believe their revenue will increase (up from 71 percent in fall 2018, and the highest percentage of 10 markets surveyed).
  • Thirty-six percent plan to hire (down from 41 percent in fall 2018, but 12 percentage points above the national average of 24 percent this spring).
  • Nineteen percent plan to apply for a loan (vs. 18 percent in fall 2018).

While their economic outlook for the next 12 months weakens slightly:

  • Sixty-five percent believe their local economy will improve (vs. 68 percent in fall 2018).
  • Fifty-four percent believe the national economy will improve (down from 59 percent in fall 2018).
  • Top economic concerns include health care costs (74 percent), the political environment (64 percent), strength of the U.S. dollar (56 percent) and interest rates (55 percent).

“Dallas/Fort Worth business owners are riding a wave of opportunity and growth in 2019, with most looking to increase revenues and expand in the year ahead,” said Ryan Parker, Dallas/Fort Worth small business banker manager at Bank of America. “As one of the most optimistic groups of small business owners in the country, Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs are indicating that the conditions in this market are favorable for small businesses, and they’re poised to take advantage.”

Dallas/Fort Worth business owners split on effects of recent policy changes, contemplate impact of climate change

Sixty-four percent of Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs expressed concern about the current political environment, though they are divided over how major policy issues are directly impacting them. Forty-eight percent of Dallas/Fort Worth business owners say the new tax code has had an impact on their business — with 27 percent reporting that impact as positive. This is down from the 45 percent who anticipated a positive impact one year ago.

Regarding U.S. trade policy, 40 percent say they have been impacted by tariffs, with 17 percent reporting that impact as mixed, 12 percent reporting it as positive and 11 percent reporting it as negative. Additionally, 32 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs say they’re concerned about climate change affecting their business.

Most Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs take steps to protect their business

Unexpected or major economic events can transform a business in the blink of an eye. While most Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs are taking steps to protect their business from potential threats such as natural disasters, an economic downturn or a cyber breach, a majority do not have a plan to address reputational crises or challenges.

  • Sixty-one percent have a business continuity plan in case of a flood, fire or other disaster.
  • Seventy-three percent have taken steps to protect their business in case of an economic downturn.
  • Seventy-nine percent of business owners have taken at least one step to protect customer data from a cyber breach.
  • Only 28 percent have a plan to manage reputational issues and threats.

The power of posts — are online reviews more of a trust broker or breaker?

Customer feedback holds tremendous sway in the digital era, with online reviews serving as a powerful channel for sharing both compliments and criticisms. While 64 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth business owners have received a negative online review of their business, 69 percent believe positive reviews matter the most, compared to 31 percent who say negative reviews have a greater impact.

Furthermore, 68 percent say reviews are important to the success of their business, with 81 percent reporting that positive reviews have helped generate business opportunities. Recognizing that negative reviews also have an impact, 80 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth business owners who have received one say they respond as soon as possible to limit the reputational damage.

For a complete, in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s small business owners, read the spring 2019 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report. For additional insights, download the Small Business Owner Report infographic.


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