Facts & Resources

Spring Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Finds Chicago Small Business Owners Optimistic About Growth

Chicago’s Female Entrepreneurs Particularly Confident About Business Outlook

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:00 am EDT



Public Company Information:

"We’re excited to see that so many Chicagoans plan to grow their small businesses, particularly women-owned small businesses"

Sixty-nine percent of women small business owners in Chicago plan to grow their business over the next five years, according to the spring 2014 Small Business Owner Report, released today by Bank of America. In contrast, only 53 percent of men in Chicago expect growth for their business over this time period.

The report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners in Chicago and around the country, finds 62 percent of women expect higher revenues for their business in the year to come, versus 58 percent of men.

“We’re excited to see that so many Chicagoans plan to grow their small businesses, particularly women-owned small businesses,” said Mike Arena, Chicago Small Business Banking manager at Bank of America. “Bank of America knows the impact small business development has on the community, and we are committed to having small business bankers on the ground who can provide strategic counsel to help Chicago small business owners meet their goals.”

Cautiously optimistic about the state of the economy

Almost half (45 percent) of Chicago small business owners surveyed are confident that the local economy will improve, and nearly half say they plan to hire more employees over the next 12 months. Forty-three percent of Chicago small business owners say they are confident that the national economy will improve, while only 38 percent predict a boost to the global economy in the next year.

The potential impact of economic and political factors is worrying to Chicago small businesses, and 67 percent of respondents name health care costs as their biggest concern. Other concerns include:

  • Effectiveness of U.S. government leaders (65 percent).
  • Corporate tax rates (61 percent).
  • Strength of the U.S. dollar (60 percent).

Chicago small business owners work hard, but find balance

Chicago small business owners are among the most dedicated, working on average 50 hours a week, higher than their peers across the country. However, more than half (56 percent) believe they are still effective at achieving work-life balance, on par with the national average.

Most small business owners in Chicago (74 percent) feel that owning a small business has forced them to make significant personal sacrifices. Forty-nine percent say they sacrifice vacation/leisure time, 38 percent say they have given up spending time with their children, and 37 percent say their relationship with a spouse/partner has suffered.

Key differences between men and women

Forty-seven percent of women small business owners in Chicago feel like they should spend more time taking care of household responsibilities, compared to 25 percent of men. Additionally, half of all women small business owners feel they should be spending more time with their family (compared to 44 percent of men). Women feel they are influenced more by stereotypes than men; 36 percent credit gender stereotypes as a major reason they feel they should be spending more time on other activities (compared to 16 percent of men).

Small business owners delaying their retirement

The report also analyzed small business retirement and succession plans for Chicago small business owners. More than half (53 percent) plan to retire after the age of 65 or when they can physically work no longer; of those, 51 percent say it is because they enjoy running their business and do not want to stop working.

Fewer than half (42 percent) have a succession plan in place. Of those who do, just over half (53 percent) intend to transfer or sell their business to a family member. However, only about one in five (22 percent) currently employ their child or children.

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 $306.2 million in new loans to small businesses in Illinois. 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 Chicago-based insights, download the Small Business Owner Report Chicago 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:
Diane Wagner, Bank of America, 1.312.992.2370