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Atlanta Small Business Owners Say Finding and Retaining Talent Is Challenging, but Critical for Success

Fall Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Finds Local Optimism Heading Into 2014

Thursday, November 14, 2013 9:00 am EST

Dateline:

ATLANTA

Public Company Information:

NYSE:
BAC
"We know how crucial top talent is to success, which is why our bankers are committed to knowing their clients’ business inside and out."

Bank of America today released its fall 2013 Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country. The survey, which includes an oversampling of small business owners in Atlanta, found that nearly one in four (26 percent) Atlanta respondents plan to hire over the next 12 months. Yet about half (51 percent) say finding qualified employees is difficult.

Of those small business owners who plan on hiring new talent in 2014, 26 percent are staffing up for an increase in business. With good talent difficult to find and small business owners looking to increase business, they are also focused on keeping valuable employees. The report found that the top actions small business owners in Atlanta take to retain employees are offering flexible working arrangements (54 percent), competitive salary (47 percent) and bonuses for high performers (44 percent).

More than four in 10 Atlanta small business owners (44 percent) agree that managing their staff is a source of great pride for them. But over half (53 percent) admit to having some level of frustration with their employees. The top frustrations are poor time management (21 percent), lack of proactive thinking (18 percent) and lack of accountability (16 percent).

“We are committed to helping small business owners succeed in Atlanta, and across the state of Georgia, by serving as their guides to a financially healthy business,” said Felicia Lewis, Atlanta Small Business Banking manager, Bank of America. “We know how crucial top talent is to success, which is why our bankers are committed to knowing their clients’ business inside and out.”

“As my company grows, I’ll continue to give more to my employees,” said Bank of America client Jason R. Nieves, owner of Marietta-based J.R. Electrical LLC. “My staff works so hard. At the end of the day, they’re the reason why my business is thriving.”

To learn more about Nieves’ story and the challenges of finding and retaining talent, click here.

Atlanta small business owners are optimistic about the year ahead, but continue to have concerns
Small business owners feel optimistic about the future of their business, as 53 percent of those surveyed in Atlanta expect their revenue to increase in the next 12 months.

In addition, the report found that almost one-third (29 percent) of Atlanta small business owners believe their local economy will improve over the next 12 months, but they are less confident about the national economy. Only 23 percent of Atlanta respondents think that the national economy will improve in the next 12 months, compared to 41 percent nationally.

For more information on small business owners’ 2014 outlook, click here.

When asked about their concerns, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of Atlanta small business owners cite the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders and 65 percent mention health care costs as top concerns heading into 2014. Other concerns that may affect the success of their business in the next 12 months include:

  • Commodities prices (e.g., oil, gas) – 58 percent.
  • Interest rates – 57 percent.
  • Strength of the U.S. dollar – 57 percent.
  • Corporate tax rates – 55 percent.
  • Credit availability – 44 percent.

Despite concern about health care costs, more than half (55 percent) of Atlanta small business owners say their hiring plans will not change in the next year due to new health care legislation. In addition, only 25 percent of Atlanta small business owners currently provide health/wellness benefit packages, consistent with national levels (27 percent).

Holidays are “business as usual” for many small businesses
Ninety-three percent of small business owners in Atlanta think Black Friday has little or no impact on their bottom line, and 88 percent think Cyber Monday is similarly overhyped.

Maintaining a work-life balance during the last months of the year does not appear to be an issue for many Atlanta small business owners as only a quarter (26 percent) report working longer hours during the holidays.

Atlanta small business owners are generous when thanking their employees during the holidays. The most popular perks planned for this holiday season are:

  • Awarding salary bonuses – 48 percent.
  • Closing the office during holidays – 44 percent.
  • Giving gifts – 42 percent.
  • Offering flexible working hours during the holidays – 39 percent.
  • Hosting a holiday party – 38 percent.

Only one in 10 (10 percent) do not intend to offer holiday-related perks this year, down slightly from 12 percent last year.

For more information on small business owners’ holiday outlook, click here.

Bank of America has continued to lend actively to small businesses across the U.S. and Georgia. Through September of this year, Bank of America has extended more than $248 million in new credit across Georgia to small businesses – an increase of 19 percent over the same period last year. This has helped enable Bank of America to exceed its national small business lending pledge to the White House and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

For an in-depth look at the attributes of the nation’s small business owners, read the entire fall 2013 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report. An infographic with highlights of the report can be found here.

About the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Braun Research conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report survey by phone between September 12 and October 3, 2013, on behalf of Bank of America. Braun contacted a nationally representative sample of 1,000 small business owners in the United States with annual revenue between $100,000 and $4,999,999 and employing between 2 and 99 employees. In addition, 300 small business owners were also surveyed in nine target markets: Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Miami. The margin of error for the national sample is +/- 3.1 percent and the margin of error for the oversampled markets is +/- 5.7 percent, with both reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

The Braun Research survey results conducted on behalf of Bank of America and interpretations in this release are not intended, nor implied, to be a substitute for the professional advice received from a qualified accountant, attorney or financial advisor. Always seek the advice of an accountant, attorney or financial advisor with any questions you may have regarding the decisions you undertake as a result of reviewing the information contained herein. Nothing in this report should be construed as either advice or legal opinion.

Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. We serve approximately 51 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,200 retail banking offices and approximately 16,200 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users and more than 14 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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