Bank of America Small Business Owner Report

The Bank of America Small Business Owner Report is a biannual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners throughout the U.S. and in 10 major cities.

This iteration of the report explores the evolving small business landscape, including economic outlook, business growth expectations, views on and the impact of tax reform, digital trends and the role of emerging technologies.

Key insights from the fall 2018 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report include:

Eighty percent of entrepreneurs are confident their 2018 year-end revenue will exceed that of 2017. In addition, over the next 12 months:

  • Fifty-seven percent of business owners believe their revenue will increase (vs. 51 percent in fall 2017).
  • Sixty-seven percent plan to expand (vs. 59 percent in fall 2017).
  • Twenty-seven percent plan to hire (vs. 16 percent in fall 2017).
  • Fifty-five percent are confident the national economy will improve (vs. 46 percent in fall 2017).
  • Fifty-four percent express similar confidence in their local economies (vs. 48 percent in fall 2017).
  • Fifteen percent intend to apply for a loan (vs. 8 percent in fall 2017).



Competition for talent heightens as small business hiring ramps up. As business owners make plans to hire in the year ahead, they acknowledge that identifying and retaining employees has become a significant challenge. Among business owners who sought to hire new employees, 50 percent say the tightening labor market had a direct impact on their ability to find and hire qualified candidates. In response, business owners have modified their hiring strategies to find and recruit top talent by:

  • Shifting to a more flexible culture in terms of hours, location and extra time off (25 percent).
  • Using social media more actively (23 percent).
  • Offering higher salaries (17 percent).
  • Promoting how the business impacts the local community and highlighting charitable work (12 percent).
  • Using an outside recruiter (9 percent).



The top economic issues concerning business owners are:

  • Health care costs (63 percent vs. 72 percent in fall 2017).
  • Interest rates (44 percent vs. 43 percent in fall 2017).
  • Trade policies (43 percent; issue not surveyed in 2017).



Despite unique challenges in managing a small business, entrepreneurs love what they do. Ninety-one percent say the added stress of entrepreneurship has been worth it, and 90 percent would recommend that others follow in their footsteps. Business owners are feeling the holiday spirit, as 83 percent plan to offer at least one holiday perk to their employees. The top holiday perks being offered are:

  • Office closures (50 percent)
  • Flexible hours or vacation time (41 percent)
  • Salary bonuses (38 percent).

 

Report Methodology

GfK Social and Strategic Research conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Survey for fall 2018 online between August 30 and September 13, 2018 using a pre-recruited online sample of small business owners. GfK contacted a national sample of 1,067 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, a total of approximately 300 small business owners were also 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 were weighted to national benchmark standards for size, revenue and region.

Prior to 2016, 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 suggest caution when making direct statistical comparisons of the results from pre-2016 and post-2016.


News Releases and Additional Information

Press Releases

Fall 2018 Small Business Owner Report Regional Press Releases
     -   Atlanta       -   Los Angeles
  -   Boston   -   Miami
  -   Chicago   -   New York City
  -   Dallas/Forth Worth   -   San Francisco (Bay Area)
  -   Houston   -   Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

 

Spring 2018 Small Business Owner Report Regional Press Releases
    -   Atlanta      -   Los Angeles
  -   Boston   -   Miami
  -   Chicago   -   New York City 
  -   Dallas/Fort Worth   -   San Francisco (Bay Area)
  -   Houston   -   Washington, D.C.

 

 

Fall 2017 Small Business Owner Report Regional Press Releases
           -   Atlanta                  -   Los Angeles   
  -   Boston   -   Miami
  -   Chicago   -   New York City
  -   Dallas/Fort Worth   -   San Francisco (Bay Area)
  -   Houston   -   Washington, D.C.

 

 

Spring 2017 Small Business Owner Report Regional Press Releases
           -   Atlanta                        -   Los Angeles      
  -   Boston   -   Miami
  -   Chicago   -   New York City
  -   Dallas/Fort Worth   -   San Francisco (Bay Area)
  -   Houston   -   Washington, D.C.

 


Presentation and Materials

[Note: If you experience document loading issues in Internet Explorer 11, please open the link in a different browser (e.g., Chrome, Safari, Firefox).]

 

Dec. 3, 2018 — Fall 2018 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Dec. 3, 2018 — Fall 2018 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Infographic


May 1, 2018 — Spring 2018 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Infographic (local findings)
Apr. 26, 2018 — Spring 2018 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Apr. 26, 2018 — Spring 2018 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Infographic

Mar. 7, 2018 — 2018 Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight
Mar. 7, 2018 — 2018 Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight (Spanish)

Nov. 14, 2017 — Fall 2017 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Infographic (local findings)
Nov. 7, 2017 — Fall 2017 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Nov. 7, 2017 — Fall 2017 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Infographic (national)

Aug. 30, 2017 — 2017 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight

May 2, 2017 — Spring 2017 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Infographic (local findings)
Apr. 27, 2017 — Spring 2017 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Apr. 27, 2017 — Spring 2017 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Infographic (national)

Feb. 22, 2017 — 2017 Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight
Feb. 22, 2017 — 2017 Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight (Spanish)
Feb. 22, 2017 — 2017 Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight Infographic


Executive Biographies

 


For More Information

For more information about the Small Business Owner Report, please contact Don Vecchiarello, Bank of America, 1.980.387.4899.