BofA Survey: 76% of Small Businesses Feel Well-Equipped to Survive a Recession
CHARLOTTE, NC – The majority of U.S. small business owners (72%) are concerned about the impact of a potential recession, however 76% are confident their business could withstand the downturn, according to the Bank of America 2023 Small Business Owner Report (PDF). The survey of more than 1,000 business owners across the country found that, despite the continued impact of inflation and supply chain issues, 65% of business owners anticipate revenue growth in the next 12 months.
Small business owners were also asked about topics including future plans, sustainability, employee retention and labor. Conducted in March and April, other findings include:
“While the dual pressures of inflation and supply chain disruptions continue to incumber operations, small business owners remain bullish about their prospects for the year ahead,” said Sharon Miller, President of Small Business and Head of Specialty Banking and Lending at Bank of America. “Small businesses are poised for growth, implementing strategies to retain and attract talent and exploring new tools including artificial intelligence to gain an edge in a highly competitive market.”
Sharon Miller - Hi, I’m Sharon Miller, President of Small Business and Head of Specialty Banking and Lending at Bank of America.
I’m pleased to present the 2023 Small Business Owner Report, our annual report exploring the challenges and concerns of U.S. business owners over the past year, as well as their economic outlook and goals for the months ahead.
Overall, our research found that small business owners are bullish about their business outlook in 2023.
65% of business owners say they anticipate their revenue will increase in the next year, and nearly half of business owners plan to expand their business.
When looking at the economic outlook for this year, uncertain conditions remain top of mind for entrepreneurs.
Economic confidence continues to remain low given the current climate, as only 34% of small business owners think the national economy will improve.
Inflation, supply chain disruptions and labor shortages continue to impede operations, and many business owners have been forced to reevaluate their business plans and raise prices.
Despite these headwinds, our research confirms that small business owners are confident in their abilities to achieve their goals, and we stand ready to help.
Small business owners are staying nimble and leveraging the latest digital tools, like online and mobile banking, to optimize their business practices.
To learn more about the 2023 Small Business Owner Report, visit newsroom dot Bank of America dot com.
Inflation (79%) and a potential recession (72%) top business owners’ concerns over the next 12 months. These entrepreneurs also expressed anxiety around commodities prices (68%), the U.S. political environment (68%), rising interest rates (67%) and supply chain (57%).
Despite these concerns, the bottom line remains strong for many entrepreneurs. Fifty-six percent of business owners reported increased revenue in 2022 compared to 2021, and looking ahead at the next 12 months, 48% plan to expand their business (vs. 37% last spring). Additionally, 82% intend to obtain financing in the year ahead (vs. 70% last spring).
Struggling with labor shortages and a competitive job market, business owners are increasingly focused on employee retention. Over the past 12 months, 53% have added additional benefits and perks to existing compensation packages, including remote/hybrid work (34%), cost-of-living bonuses (34%) and more vacation time (33%). And 75% of these business owners said their efforts meaningfully impacted employee morale and retention.
Additionally, 34% of business owners plan to hire in 2023, up from 26% last spring. Over the past 12 months, 51% implemented additional perks and benefits to attract new talent, such as increased base pay for new employees (54%), remote/hybrid work (30%), new employee training or resource groups (27%) and additional healthcare benefits (27%).
Three-in-four SBOs have already implemented sustainable business practices, such as reducing paper usage, establishing environmentally friendly habits in their work environment and working with sustainable vendors. While implementation challenges exist—82% of entrepreneurs cited challenges such as increased costs (49%), limited supplier options (29%) and variable quality of sustainable products/services (26%) as primary obstacles—78% of business owners plan to implement sustainable practices over the next 12 months.
In the past year, 80% of small business owners adopted digital tools for their business, leveraging digital banking to manage their finances and social media to reach their customers. Business owners are also embracing AI and automation, with 49% planning to use AI tools to enhance their business in 2023.
Looking ahead, 55% of entrepreneurs anticipate accepting exclusively digital payments at some point in the future, and 90% say digital tools help make their operations more efficient, helping them save time and stay organized.
For an in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s small business owners, please read the full Bank of America 2023 Small Business Owner Report (PDF).
Bank of America provides advice, solutions, access to capital and dedicated support to meet the unique needs of our 11 million business owner clients. According to the FDIC, Bank of America maintained its position as the nation’s top small business lender at the end of 2022, with $36.2 billion in total outstanding small business loans (defined as business loans in original amounts of $1 million and under).
Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the Bank of America 2023 Small Business Owner Report survey online between March 16 and April 10, 2023, using a pre-recruited online sample of small business owners. Ipsos contacted a national sample of 1,145 small business owners in the United States with annual revenue between $100,000 and $4,999,999 and employing between two and 99 employees. In addition, approximately 250 small business owners were surveyed in each of ten target markets: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The final results for the national and designated market area segments were weighted to national benchmark standards for size, revenue and region.
Prior to 2016, previous waves of the Small Business Owner Report survey were conducted by telephone and while best efforts were made to replicate processes, differences in sample, weighting and method suggests caution when making direct statistical comparisons of the results from pre-2016 and post-2016.
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 68 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 3,900 retail financial centers, approximately 15,000 ATMs (automated teller machines) and award-winning digital banking with approximately 56 million verified digital 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 households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BAC).
Don Vecchiarello, Bank of America
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