BofA Finds 75% of Mid-Sized Businesses Expect Revenue to Increase in the Next 12 Months Despite Economic Challenges

July 26, 2023 at 9:05 AM Eastern

CHARLOTTE, NC – Despite economic challenges, 75% of mid-sized business owners expect their revenue to increase and 71% are planning to hire over the next 12 months, according to the inaugural Bank of America Mid-Sized Business Owner Report (PDF). The study is based on a survey of more than 300 mid-sized business owners (MSBOs), with $5 million to $50 million in annual revenues, and focuses on their business and economic outlooks.

“The strength of mid-sized businesses is essential to the health of the U.S. economy,” said Raul Anaya, President of Business Banking at Bank of America. “Preparation, optimism, and flexibility are traits of successful leaders in this environment, with investments in the workforce and digital transformation topping their current list of priorities to remain resilient and position their businesses for growth.”

Operational Changes and Perspectives on Financing

MSBOs maintain a positive outlook, as 75% plan to expand their business and 67% expect the national economy to improve over the next 12 months. Additional insights into mid-sized business operations and financing in the current environment include:

  • Macroeconomic challenges in recent years, including inflation, the threat of a recession, and supply chain issues, are driving companies to make operational changes, such as raising prices (45%), revaluating cash flow and spending (37%), increasing employee wages (35%), and reducing business costs (33%).
  • 90% of MSBOs plan to obtain funding to finance their businesses over the next 12 months, including through business credit cards (43%), traditional bank loans (38%), personal savings (27%), personal credit cards (25%), and venture capital funding (21%).
  • Perspectives on financing are not one size fits all. For example, 59% of businesses say they’re looking to obtain financing to weather rising interest rates, while 23% say the rising interest rates make them less likely to seek financing.
  • Among the more than half (54%) of MSBOs who plan to apply for a bank loan or line of credit in the next 12 months, they plan to use these funds to: invest in new technology (43%), invest in new equipment (37%), and market/promote their business (35%).

Digitization on the Rise

Over the last 12 months, 90% of MSBOs have adopted digital strategies to further optimize their businesses and operations, with new digital tools helping them to save time (48%), increase customer satisfaction (43%), manage cash flow (43%), stay organized (41%) and reach new customers (37%). Additional ways innovation is at play within mid-sized businesses include:

  • 87% plan to further utilize automation and artificial intelligence to stand out from competitors (45%), assist with hiring (45%), and streamline payroll and bookkeeping (43%).
  • As the use of digital wallets and cashless payments continues to grow in popularity, 76% of MSBOs anticipate that all their transactions will eventually be digital.  
  • 71% say the marketing of their business is now done primarily online or through digital-first channels.
  • 88% see cybersecurity as a threat to their business, and as a result are further investing in digital security systems (65%) and storing less business information online (39%).

“The digital landscape is complex and fast-moving,” added Anaya. “Staying on top of the latest innovations can help business owners create efficiencies, manage risk and unlock value that gives them a competitive edge.”

Labor Market Realities

Employees are the most valuable asset of any company, and current labor shortages have challenged business owners looking to attract and retain talent. Our report found that many MSBOs struggle to find skilled, experienced employees. To attract qualified candidates, many MSBOs are increasing salaries (43%), offering more PTO (40%), strengthening retirement benefits (36%) and introducing new employee training and resource groups (34%).

Given the complexity and competitiveness of this labor market,  MSBOs are also employing strategies that emphasize their commitment to retaining their existing employees. Four out of five (78%) business owners say the following actions over the last year have led to a meaningful impact in employee morale and/or retention: 

  • Increasing paid time off (PTO) (39%)
  • Offering cost-of-living bonuses (38%)
  • Providing additional healthcare benefits (37%)
  • Augmenting retirement benefits (34%)

Methodology

Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the Bank of America 2023 Mid-Sized Business Owner survey online between May 3 and May 12, 2023, using a pre-recruited online sample of business owners. Ipsos contacted a national sample of 301 mid-sized business owners in the United States with annual revenue between $5,000,000 and $49,999,999 and employing between two and 499 employees. The final results were weighted to national benchmark standards for size, revenue and region.

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 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 57 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 4 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).

Reporters may contact:

Anu Ahluwalia, Bank of America
Phone: 1.646.855.3375
anu.ahluwalia@bofa.com

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