Miami small business optimism hits five-year high as entrepreneurs compete for talent

Local entrepreneurs are finishing 2018 on a high note, with the majority of Miami-area small business owners anticipating year-over-year growth and indicating plans to hire in the year ahead, according to the fall 2018 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report. With optimism toward the economy soaring to a five-year high, Miami entrepreneurs are approaching a highly competitive job market with confidence.

The report, based on a semiannual survey of 1,000 small business owners across the country and the greater Miami area, revealed that 92 percent of Miami entrepreneurs are confident their year-end revenue will exceed 2017 business revenue, the highest among business owners surveyed in 10 major cities. In addition, over the next 12 months:

  • Eighty-two percent of Miami business owners believe their revenue will increase (a five-year high in Miami, and 25 percentage points above the national average)
  • Eighty-nine percent plan to expand (vs. 84 percent in fall 2017 and the highest percentage nationwide)
  • Forty-seven percent plan to hire (vs. 39 percent in fall 2017, and 20 percentage points above the national average)
  • Sixty-seven percent are confident the Miami economy will improve (vs. 53 percent in fall 2017)
  • Sixty-one percent express similar confidence in the national economy (vs. 47 percent in fall 2017)
  • Thirty percent intend to apply for a loan (the highest level in Miami over the past three years, and double the national average)

“Miami entrepreneurs are highly confident and eager to expand their businesses in the year ahead,” said Odalis Martinez, Miami small business banker manager at Bank of America. “We’re seeing multiyear highs in hiring and loan application plans as local small business owners demonstrate their commitment to growth in a highly competitive job market.”

Heightened competition for Miami talent as small business hiring ramps up

As Miami business owners make plans to hire in the year ahead, they acknowledge that identifying and retaining employees has become a significant challenge. In the last year, turnover affected 22 percent of Miami entrepreneurs. Among Miami business owners who sought to hire new employees, 51 percent say they had difficulty finding qualified candidates, in large part due to the tightening job market.

To adjust to these challenges, business owners have modified their hiring strategies to find and recruit top talent by:

  • Shifting to a more flexible culture in terms of hours, location and extra time off (30 percent)
  • Using social media more actively (24 percent)
  • Offering higher salaries (18 percent)

When it comes to the top characteristics Miami business owners are looking for in their potential job candidates, they primarily value previous work experience (54 percent), integrity (53 percent) and the ability to learn new skills (47 percent).

Concern over stock market and strength of U.S. dollar significantly declines year over year

In correlation with positive business forecasts, the survey found a general trend of declining concern over most economic factors that are tracked. Health care costs remain at the top of the list of economic concerns in Miami (58 percent), although concern has declined from 63 percent in fall 2017. Concern over the strength of the stock market decreased significantly since last year, with 40 percent showing concern—down from 57 percent in fall 2017. Additionally, 48 percent of Miami business owners are concerned about the strength of the U.S. dollar, down from 59 percent in fall 2017.

Perhaps a result of recent changes to and uncertainty about U.S. trade policies, 48 percent of Miami business owners identify U.S. trade policy as an economic concern. Fifty-five percent say the latest tariffs/U.S. trade policies have impacted their businesses, with 25 percent reporting a mixed impact, 17 percent reporting a positive impact and 13 percent reporting a negative impact.

Miami small business owners feel the holiday spirit; recommend entrepreneurship as a career path

Miami business owners are feeling the holiday spirit as 87 percent plan to offer at least one holiday perk to their employees. The top perks being offered are office closures (56 percent), salary bonuses (51 percent) and employee gifts (42 percent). Finally, despite unique challenges in managing a small business, Miami entrepreneurs love what they do. Ninety-five percent say the added stress of entrepreneurship has been worth it, and 94 percent would recommend that others follow in their footsteps.

For a complete, in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s small business owners, read the fall 2018 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report and for additional insights, download the Small Business Owner Report infographic.


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