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Metro New York Entrepreneurs Feel Jolt of Optimism

Local Small Business Owners Are More Confident in Their Businesses and the Overall Economy Than a Year Ago

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 10:00 am EST

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NEW YORK

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"In addition to exhibiting increased levels of optimism around revenue, hiring and the economy, small business owners are also responding to the needs of their employees and customers by embracing technological advancements and workplace flexibility."

Small business owners in metro New York are bullish about the year ahead, according to the fall 2015 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners in metro New York and around the country.

Seventy percent of metro New York small business owners expect their revenue to increase in the next 12 months, a 10 percentage point increase from a year ago. In addition, 61 percent plan to hire more employees, a 13 percentage point increase from last year. This expected growth calls for more capital, which may explain why one-third (33 percent) of metro New York entrepreneurs plan to apply for a loan in 2016, 8 percentage points higher than a year ago.

“New York small business owners continue to be extremely positive about their prospects for growth,” said Michael Angelone, New York small business banker manager at Bank of America. “In addition to exhibiting increased levels of optimism around revenue, hiring and the economy, small business owners are also responding to the needs of their employees and customers by embracing technological advancements and workplace flexibility.”

Economic confidence is on the rise
Metro New York small business owners’ expectations for the economy mirror their attitude on business growth: 57 percent are confident the local economy will improve in the next year, compared to 51 percent in fall 2014; 52 percent are confident the national economy will improve, compared to 47 percent in fall 2014; and 41 percent believe the global economy will improve, representing a slight uptick from a year ago.

When asked about their top concerns, metro New York small business owners said they worry about economic factors impacting their businesses but are less concerned than they were a year ago. Concerns include:

  • Effectiveness of U.S. government leaders (68 percent, versus 81 percent a year ago).
  • Strength of the U.S. dollar (59 percent, versus 69 percent).
  • Interest rates (57 percent, versus 62 percent).
  • Consumer spending (55 percent, versus 62 percent).

Metro New York small business owners embrace technology and workplace 2.0
Metro New York small businesses have shifted in recent years to create workplace environments that are more collaborative, tech-friendly and flexible. Eighty-six percent are willing to adopt new technologies, and 88 percent think changing technology has helped their business – specifically, 84 percent report that technology has helped better serve their customers.

Metro New York entrepreneurs have also shifted to a more flexible work environment in recent years, with more than half (52 percent) offering telecommuting as an option to employees (versus 47 percent nationally), a significant increase from the 40 percent who offered it five years ago.

This flexibility is paying off, as 57 percent of metro New York small business owners think their employees have better attitudes when they have the option to telecommute, and half (50 percent) think their workforce has become more productive due to telecommuting. Over the past five years, 37 percent of metro New York entrepreneurs think their workplace has become more collaborative and focused on teamwork, and more welcoming to change.

Nontraditional perks are also emerging at metro New York small businesses, including areas to relax or unwind, such as nap pods or game rooms (17 percent), office happy hours (17 percent) or pet-friendly work environments (13 percent).

Small business owners are concerned and prepared for a cybersecurity breach
With increased reliance on technology comes an increase in the risk of cyber threats. In fact, 11 percent of New York area small business owners have already fallen victim to a cybersecurity breach. In order to better protect themselves and their customers from the threat of a cyber-attack, 70 percent are upgrading their technology at least once a year. As a result, 64 percent of local business owners feel prepared for a cyber-attack – more than any other market surveyed.

Small business owners look forward to a happy new year
Many metro New York small business owners intend to offer holiday-related perks to their employees during this year’s holiday season. Top holiday perks include salary bonuses (52 percent), holiday parties (46 percent), flexible hours or vacation time (41 percent), or closing the office (43 percent).

And while 53 percent state that Black Friday has no impact on their bottom line, the number of metro New York small business owners who say that it has had a significant impact has increased over the past year, from 19 percent to 24 percent – indicating even stronger pressure in the fourth quarter for small businesses to meet their numbers. The same can be said about Cyber Monday, with its relevance to making year-end targets increasing from 13 percent to 16 percent year over year.

For an in-depth look at the attributes of the nation’s small business owners, read the full fall 2015 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, and for additional insights from small business owners in metro New York and across the country, download the Small Business Owner Report local insights infographic here.

About the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Braun Research, Inc. conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report survey by phone from August 21 through September 22, 2015, on behalf of Bank of America. Braun contacted a nationally representative sample of 1,001 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 surveyed in each of 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; the margin of error for the oversampled markets is +/- 5.7 percent, reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

The Braun Research survey results conducted on behalf and for the exclusive use 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 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 4,700 retail financial centers, approximately 16,100 ATMs, and award-winning online banking with 32 million active users and more than 18 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 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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