Facts & Resources

San Francisco Small Business Owners Less Likely Than Their National Counterparts to Incorporate Technology Into Their Businesses

Fall 2014 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Also Finds San Francisco Entrepreneurs Most Optimistic About the Local Economy and Least Optimistic About the Global Economy, Compared to Counterparts in Other Cities

Thursday, November 13, 2014 9:00 am EST



Public Company Information:

"We have a unique group of small business owners with an entrepreneurial mindset here in San Francisco, and Bank of America is committed to supporting them as their businesses continue to grow."

Fifty-four percent of San Francisco small business owners said they could run their business “indefinitely” without a smartphone or tablet according to the fall 2014 Small Business Owner Report, released today by Bank of America. This compares to 47 percent nationwide who said the same, indicating that a segment of small businesses in San Francisco may not be as wired as their national counterparts.

The Small Business Owner Report is a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners in San Francisco and around the country.

To underscore these findings, only 32 percent of Bay Area small business owners have incorporated social media into their business (compared to 44 percent nationally); 35 percent protect their email and shared files from hackers through digital security software (versus 44 percent nationally); and 27 percent sell product or services online (compared to 38 percent who do so throughout the country). Despite their limited use of technology, 75 percent of San Francsico small business owners give themselves an “A” or “B” when it comes to tech saviness (compared to 67 percent of their national counterparts).

“Regardless of how they use technology, small business owners in San Francisco are extremely optimistic about the economy and their own business endeavors,” said Emily Shanks, Small Business Banking Northwest regional executive for Bank of America. “We have a unique group of small business owners with an entrepreneurial mindset here in San Francisco, and Bank of America is committed to supporting them as their businesses continue to grow.”

Outlook on the year ahead
Bay Area entrepreneurs are more optimistic about meeting their revenue and growth expectations than they were six months ago: 54 percent believe their revenues will increase over the next 12 months (compared to 49 percent six months ago) and 61 percent plan to grow their business within the next five years (compared to 50 percent six months ago). Additionally, 42 percent plan to hire more employees within the next year (compared to 38 percent six months ago).

Small business owners in the San Francisco are more confident in their local economy than their national counterparts, with 56 percent saying they expect the local economy to improve in the next 12 months compared to 50 percent of small business owners nationally. Confidence was lower in the national economy; only 46 percent expect improvement in the next year, though this is higher than it was a year ago (38 percent) and significantly higher than it was two years ago (31 percent).

Conversely, San Francisco small business owners’ concerns over the global economy ran high: Only 24 percent of respondents believe it will improve in the next 12 months, making them the least confident about the global economy among all cities the report surveyed.

San Franciscans are more concerned about specific economic issues than a year ago, though less so than their national counterparts. Sixty-five percent expressed concern about the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders (versus 51 percent a year ago and 74 percent nationally); 68 percent about healthcare costs (versus 54 percent a year ago and 72 percent nationally); and nearly half (48 percent) said they were concerned about the strength of the U.S. dollar (versus 44 percent a year ago and 63 percent nationally).

San Francisco small business owners generous at year-end
Seventy-nine percent of San Francisco small business owners are confident they will hit year-end revenue goals. To spread the good cheer, 52 percent plan to give their employees salary bonuses. Additionally, 50 percent will close their offices during the holiday season, compared to 37 percent nationally.

Bay Area entrepreneurs are largely unaffected by the year-end shopping season, with 74 percent stating that Black Friday has no effect on their business’s bottom line. Similarly, 81 percent believe that Cyber Monday is overhyped and also has no significance on their annual revenue.

For an in-depth look at the attributes of the nation’s small business owners, read the full fall 2014 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report and for additional San Francisco-based insights, download the Small Business Owner Report San Francisco infographic here.

About the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Braun Research conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report survey by phone in October 2014 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 businesses, 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 48 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,900 retail banking offices and approximately 15,700 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 31 million active users and more than 16 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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Reporters May Contact:
Colleen Haggerty, Bank of America, 1.949.464.2338