Facts & Resources

Spring Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Finds Boston Small Business Owners Struggle With Work-Life Balance

Local Entrepreneurs Are Working Overtime and Not Prioritizing Family

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:00 am EDT



Public Company Information:

"Boston small business owners are growing their businesses, and we are committed to helping these entrepreneurs achieve success in the years ahead."

Boston small business owners struggle with work-life balance more than their counterparts in the rest of the country, according to the spring 2014 Small Business Owner Report, released today by Bank of America. The report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners in Boston and around the country, found that nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of small business owners in Boston say they have made significant sacrifices in their personal life for their business.

Small business owners in Boston indicate they have a more difficult time reaching a desired work-life balance compared to the rest of the country. Forty-eight percent say they are effective at balancing work and personal life (versus 56 percent nationwide), and10 percent admit to being ineffective at juggling work-life balance, which is 5 percent higher than the national average.

Boston small business owners typically work 50 hours per week, slightly more than their counterparts across the country. Thirty-four percent of Boston respondents say their biggest regret is not spending enough time with loved ones.

“Small businesses play a fundamental role in Boston’s economy and Bank of America is on the ground to help this important group meet their goals,” said Anna Colton, Small Business Banker National Sales executive for Bank of America. “Boston small business owners are growing their businesses, and we are committed to helping these entrepreneurs achieve success in the years ahead.”

Confidence in local economy lower than in other cities

Confidence in the economy is low compared to other markets, with 41 percent believing the local economy will improve over the next 12 months, one of the lowest percentages of the nine major markets surveyed. However, Boston small business owners are more confident when reflecting on their own businesses. Fifty-four percent plan to grow their business in the next five years, and 59 percent expect revenue to increase in the next year.

Boston small business owners are also pessimistic about the economy beyond their backyard – only 39 percent believe the national economy will improve, and just 22 percent feel the global economy will improve over the next 12 months. Boston entrepreneurs are concerned about a number of economic factors that may affect their business, including:

  • Health care costs (68 percent).
  • Effectiveness of U.S. government leaders (65 percent).
  • Strength of the U.S. dollar (61 percent).
  • Commodities prices (59 percent).

Key differences between men and women

The report also delves into the perspectives of women small business owners in Boston and how they compare to their male counterparts. Men and women express differences in opinion on how their businesses impact their personal lives: 42 percent of women small business owners feel like they should be spending more time taking care of household responsibilities, while just 21 percent of men feel this way. Thirty-nine percent of men say running a small business has no impact on the amount of time they spend with their families, compared to 30 percent of women.

Women are more likely than men to give up time for themselves (73 percent versus 62 percent) and vacation/leisure time (68 percent versus 45 percent). Furthermore, men in Boston are more likely than women to sacrifice relationships; one-third of men say they have sacrificed a relationship with a spouse/partner, compared to 25 percent of women. More than one-third (36 percent) of men have sacrificed spending time with children while 26 percent of women say the same.

Small business owners delaying retirement

The report also looks at retirement plans among small business owners, and finds that small business owners in Boston are not giving up work any time soon. Sixty percent plan to keep working until they are over 65, or until they can physically no longer work. Just over half (52 percent) say they will do so because they enjoy running their business and do not want to stop working. In conjunction, only 50 percent of respondents have a succession plan in place.

Lending activity to small businesses strong

Bank of America has a nationwide network of banking centers and professionals that are committed to its more than 3 million small business clients and their local communities. In 2013, Bank of America extended nearly $387 million in new loans to small businesses in Massachusetts – a 38 percent increase over 2012. 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 full spring 2014 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, and for additional Boston-based insights, download the Small Business Owner Report Boston 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 between March 4 and March 31, 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; the margin of error for the oversampled markets (where n=300) is +/ 5.7 percent; and the margin of error for the oversampled markets (where n=301) is +/ 5.6 percent, with each 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 49 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,100 retail banking offices and approximately 16,200 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users and more than 15 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:
T.J. Crawford, Bank of America, 1-646-855-3301