Bank of America Small Business Owner Report

The Women Business Owner Spotlight is an annual study exploring the goals, challenges and everyday realities of women small business owners across the country.

Now in its fourth iteration, the report continues to explore the evolving small business landscape, including economic outlook and concerns, growth and revenue projections, as well as hiring plans. This year’s report also goes more in-depth around themes including perspectives on access to capital, the impact of societal issues on women in business, and the characteristics that make women entrepreneurs successful.

Key insights from the 2019 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight include:

Women small business owners are poised to end 2019 on a high note, with 84 percent anticipating year-over-year revenue growth. Revenue projections and expansion plans have reached four-year highs and are stronger among women entrepreneurs than their male counterparts. However, women continue to report that barriers to capital access and pay equality remain pervasive.

Business growth indicators remain strong for women entrepreneurs heading into 2020…

  • 73 percent plan to expand (vs. 66 percent of male business owners, and up from 67 percent in 2018).
  • 62 percent expect their revenue will increase next year (vs. 55 percent of male business owners, and up from 58 percent in 2018).
  • 25 percent plan to hire (vs. 23 percent of male business owners, and up from 21 percent in 2018).
  • 12 percent intend to apply for a loan (vs. 11 percent of male business owners, and steady from 13 percent in 2018).

 

…as does their economic outlook for the year ahead

  • 52 percent of women entrepreneurs are confident their local economy will improve (up from 49 percent in 2018).
  • 47 percent are confident the national economy will improve (steady from 48 percent in 2018).
  • Top economic concerns for the year ahead include health care costs (61 percent) and the political environment (58 percent), but that concern has declined over the last six months, down 8 percentage points and 6 percentage points, respectively.
  • Conversely, concern about consumer spending (58 percent), credit availability (40 percent) and trade and tariff policies (46 percent) increased, up 6 percentage points, 6 percentage points and 5 percentage points, respectively, from this spring.

 

Impact of societal issues on women in business

Strong majorities of women entrepreneurs identified achieving work-life balance (95 percent), pay equality (92 percent) and improved access to capital (90 percent) as potentially impactful societal issues in the next five years. Looking long-term, women entrepreneurs say having more women in positions of influence (35 percent) is the single factor they believe will have the greatest impact in paving the way for the next generation of women in business, followed by pay equality (22 percent) and stronger networks of women (12 percent).

 

Access to capital remains a barrier for many

Last year’s report found that 84 percent of women entrepreneurs believe access to capital for women business owners has improved over the last decade, but more work remains to be done.

  • 58 percent say women business owners currently don’t have the same access to capital as their male counterparts.
  • 34 percent believe it will take some time to achieve equal access to capital — on average, 14.4 years.
  • 24 percent of women entrepreneurs believe women will never have equal access to capital.

 

The formula for small business success: perseverance in the face of adversity

Looking at broader trends and personal experiences that have helped shaped today’s women entrepreneurs, more than half of women business owners say experiencing adversity (67 percent), obtaining a college degree (62 percent) and having a mentor (54 percent) have been impactful in shaping their success. Other key factors identified include participating in the arts (35 percent), playing competitive sports (30 percent) and serving on student council (26 percent).

When asked for the single character trait that has had the greatest impact on their business success, women entrepreneurs identified integrity (23 percent) as the top personality attribute, closely followed by perseverance (22 percent). Others pointed to passion (15 percent), accountability (14 percent), ambition (14 percent) and creativity (10 percent) as essential traits.

 

Report Methodology
Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Survey for fall 2019 online between July 19 and August 19, 2019 using a pre-recruited online sample of small business owners. Ipsos contacted a national sample of 1,323 small business owners in the United States with annual revenue between $100,000 and $4,999,999 and employing between two and 99 employees. The Women Business Owner Spotlight reports on the 524 female small business owners included in the national sample. In addition, a total of approximately 300 small business owners were also surveyed in each of 10 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, 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.

 

News Releases and Additional Information

Press Releases

 

 
Spring 2019 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 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.

 

 

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.

 

 


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).]

Oct. 2, 2019 — 2019 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight

Apr. 30, 2019 — Spring 2019 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Apr. 30, 2019 — Spring 2019 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Infographic

Mar. 5, 2019 — 2019 Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight
Mar. 5, 2019 — 2019 Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight (Spanish)

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)

 

Executive Biographies

Sharon Miller, Small Business executive, Bank of America

 

For More Information

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