Facts & Resources

Bank of America Survey Finds Majority of New York Small Business Owners Lean on Family and Friends for Support

Area Small Business Owners More Apprehensive About Local, National Economies and Growth Than Peers Nationwide

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 9:00 am EST


New York City
"In a city known for its fast pace and dynamic state of change, family and friends are an important pillar of support for small business owners and their enterprises"

Eighty-one percent of New York small business owners say they receive emotional, operational and/or financial support from their family, with 46 percent reporting that family and/or friends have at some point loaned or gifted them money for their business, according to the fall 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report.

The report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners in metro New York and around the country, also found that half rely on family and friends to serve important roles in their business, whether as advisers, employees, investors or partners. When asked who helps them the most with running their business, 30 percent responded “friends and family,” exceeded only by “employees” (40 percent).

“In a city known for its fast pace and dynamic state of change, family and friends are an important pillar of support for small business owners and their enterprises,” said Michael Angelone, New York small business banking manager at Bank of America. “While New York entrepreneurs are still very much the motivated self-starters they’ve always been, loved ones and local networks are critical in helping them manage the financial, operational and indeed, emotional, aspects of the job.”

The report also found a strong interdependence among area small business owners and their communities. Nearly two-thirds say residents in their local community are active in supporting small businesses, while 48 percent say their community is important to the success of their individual enterprise. Two-thirds of local entrepreneurs say they give back by supporting local charitable or non-profit organizations.

Hiring forecast up, but revenue, growth and economic outlook remain steady and low

The percentage of metro New York small business owners planning to hire in the next year jumped from 22 percent in spring 2016 to 34 percent this fall – a notable bright spot in an otherwise tepid business outlook where economic optimism and growth projections remained steady in the same six-month period, and are among the lowest levels recorded since 2012.

Only 37 percent of area owners are confident that the local economy will improve over the next 12 months, compared with higher optimism rates among small business owners in nearby cities Boston (47 percent) and Washington, D.C. (55 percent). When asked about their outlook on the national economy, area entrepreneurs again were conservative, with just 35 percent reporting optimism.

The report also found that local small business revenue expectations have remained steady from spring 2016 to fall, with 55 percent planning to increase revenues over the next 12 months, compared with 58 percent in the spring. Five-year growth plans are also on par with spring levels, with 52 percent reporting plans to grow their business over the next five years – among the lowest of the 10 major cities surveyed.

Health care concerns on the rise

Seventy-seven percent of area small business owners expressed worries about health care costs, up 5 percentage points from spring 2016. Following the cost of health care, local entrepreneurs say they are worried about the U.S. and/or global stock market (59 percent) and corporate tax rates (58 percent).

Savings to loans: the life cycle of small business financing

Metro New York small business owners report shifting sources of capital over the lifetime of their business. When starting their business, they were most likely to rely on personal savings (70 percent) and personal credit cards (39 percent), followed by bank loans (30 percent) and support from family and/or friends (24 percent).

Once their small business became established, area entrepreneurs were more likely to rely on bank loans as their top source of financing (48 percent), followed by personal credit cards (42 percent), online lending (8 percent) and family and/or friends (8 percent).

New York small business owners are borrowing from banks at higher rates than their counterparts across the country. Nearly one-quarter report having applied for a loan in the past two years, exceeding the national average of 18 percent. Sixteen percent plan to apply for a loan in the next 12 months, compared with 10 percent nationwide.

Area small businesses expect to meet year-end goals, award employee holiday perks

Seventy percent of metro New York small business owners expect to meet their year-end revenue goals, slightly down from end-of-year expectations from previous years. As the holidays approach, three-quarters of area business owners plan to offer their employees some kind of holiday perk, including:

  • Closing the office (38 percent).

  • Awarding salary bonuses (36 percent).

  • Giving employee gifts (26 percent).

  • Holding an office holiday party (24 percent).


Half of New York entrepreneurs say that offering holiday perks to their employees will not impact them at all, while 18 percent say they will have to forgo vacation or days off, and 17 percent will have to work longer hours or sacrifice at least a portion of their own wage.

Don’t see the value of EMV technology

One year after the compliance deadline to implement Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) chip-reader technology into merchant payment systems, New York small business owners are on the fence about its value. Just 23 percent have implemented the technology, and among them, 60 percent report feeling more secure. Of those haven’t yet adopted it, 52 percent say it’s because they don’t see the value. Another 25 percent say they don’t have the finances to adopt the technology, and 12 percent report they don’t understand it.

For a complete, in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s small business owners, read the fall 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, and for additional insights, download the Small Business Owner Report national infographic here. A local New York snapshot can also be viewed here.


About the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report survey for fall of 2016 online between August 7 and October 4, 2016 using pre-recruited online sample of small business owners. GfK contacted a national 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, small business owners were surveyed in 10 target markets: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. A total of 300 small business owners were surveyed in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and 100 small business owners were surveyed in Houston. The final results were weighted to national benchmark standards for size, revenue and region.

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's leading 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. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 47 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,600 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs, and award-winning online banking with approximately 34 million active accounts and more than 21 million mobile active users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, 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 all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Reporters May Contact:
Susan Atran, Bank of America, 646.743.0791