Bank of America releases the spring 2019 Small Business Owner Report

Bank of America is pleased to share the spring 2019 Small Business Owner Report, a semiannual study that explores the perspectives, aspirations and concerns of small business owners around the country.

This spring, entrepreneurs remain largely optimistic about their business outlook, with 67 percent forecasting growth in the year ahead. Views on the economy have weakened slightly amid rising concern over a variety of key economic issues, including health care costs, interest rates and the stock market.

A new concern factor measured this spring — the current political environment — ranked as a major issue for the business owners we surveyed, though entrepreneurs are split on exactly how policy outcomes are affecting their businesses. Half of business owners say the new tax code has impacted their business, and two out of five say they’ve felt the effects of recent changes to U.S. trade policy. Looking to the future, the report explores the impact that climate change and other unforeseen events could have on a business and how entrepreneurs are preparing for the unknown.

Brewing Success: How Tapping a Community of Beer Lovers Drives Barebottle Forward

An example of small business growth momentum is Bank of America client Barebottle Brewing Co., a San Francisco–based craft brewery energizing a passionate community of beer enthusiasts to bring a unique business model to life.

Mike Seitz, a co-founder of Barebottle Brewing Co., started making his own beer back in 2008. Inspired by the historic brewing culture of Cincinnati, Seitz teamed up with friend and fellow Cornell University graduate Lester Koga to turn a passion for beer into a business venture.

By July 2016, after years of comprehensive planning, research and participation in beer competitions across the country, Seitz and Koga had relocated to San Francisco, building out a former warehouse to serve as the brewery headquarters and a public taproom, and officially opened the doors of Barebottle Brewing Company.   

Bolstered by a unique business model — Barebottle releases up to five new beers each week without a flagship beer — Seitz and Koga focus on building a brewing community in the Bay Area, encouraging customers to submit recipes and even try their hand at brewing beer at home.

“Brewing is a very cool community to be a part of. It’s one of the oldest industries to work in — and also one of the most personally rewarding and enjoyable,” Seitz said. “No one really takes themselves too seriously, and they’re all willing to share.”

With 12 employees and over 400 beers produced in just under three year, Seitz and Koga are now turning their sights toward expansion, targeting a second taproom in the Santa Clara area. While beer will still be brewed in the original Barebottle location, the company’s rapid success and popularity allowed the duo to expand their footprint.

“We’re lucky that we’ve been so successful with an expanding team to be able to open a second taproom,” Seitz said. “In order to continue to have that one-to-one relationship with consumers, this is an important step for us.”

Bank of America is committed to providing entrepreneurs with solutions to ignite and accelerate their potential, providing access to capital, mentoring, education and training through our business and partnerships.


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