Bank of America Small Business Owner Report

The Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Snapshot 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 and concerns; growth, revenue and hiring expectations; the effects of recent trade policy changes; and holiday season perspectives.

Key insights from the fall 2019 Small Business Owner Snapshot include:

U.S. small business owners are entering the new decade on a high note, with 82 percent anticipating year-over-year revenue growth as they close out 2019.

Entrepreneurs are also confident about their business prospects, with expansion plans, revenue projections and intent to hire remaining strong and steady from last fall.

  • 69 percent plan to expand (level with 67 percent from fall 2018).
  • 58 percent expect their revenue to increase (level with 57 percent from fall 2018).
  • 24 percent plan to hire (down slightly from 27 percent in fall 2018).
  • 12 percent intend to apply for a loan (down slightly from 15 percent in fall 2018).

 

While business owners also maintain a positive outlook for their local economies, they are expressing a slightly more cautious view of the national economy.

  • 52 percent are confident their local economies will improve (level with 54 percent from fall 2018).
  • 49 percent are confident the national economy will improve (down from 55 percent in fall 2018).
  • The top five factors influencing business owners’ confidence in the national economy this fall are elections (91 percent), U.S. political climate (90 percent), GDP growth rate (89 percent), inflation (89 percent) and interest rates (89 percent).

 

Concern about health care costs and the political environment declined, while concern about other economic issues is on the rise.

  • The top two economic concerns for entrepreneurs in the year ahead are health care costs (61 percent) and the political environment (61 percent), though they declined from 66 percent and 65 percent, respectively, since spring 2019.
  • Conversely, the survey found increasing concerns related to consumer spending (54 percent vs. 47 percent in spring 2019), the strength of the U.S. dollar (50 percent vs. 46 percent in spring 2019) and corporate tax rates (45 percent vs. 40 percent in spring 2019).

 

U.S. trade policies are impacting more business owners.

Over the past year, more business owners say they have been impacted by U.S. trade policies. As of this fall, 44 percent say they are feeling the effects of tariffs, up from 41 percent in the spring and 36 percent in fall 2018. Of those business owners who have been affected this fall, the greatest impacts have been on the costs of their goods and supplies (61 percent have noticed an increase) and raised customer pricing (55 percent).

 

Holiday season brings challenges and stressors, but resilient business owners have ways to cope.

During the holiday season, entrepreneurs are preparing for the unique challenges and opportunities that come with this busy time of year. Sixty-six percent expect to face challenges this holiday season, including balancing work and personal commitments (42 percent), creating customer demand (37 percent) and keeping prices competitive (36 percent).

Fifty-four percent feel stressed during the holidays. As stress levels rise, they plan to cope by taking extra steps toward self-care (48 percent), going on a vacation (38 percent) and developing processes to handle the influx of business (25 percent). Nearly three-quarters of entrepreneurs also look forward to spending time with family and friends during this time, 29 percent plan to provide employees special perks and bonuses and 28 percent plan to give back to their local communities. 

 

Report Methodology

Bank of America Business Advantage Fall 2019 Small Business Owner Snapshot

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. In addition, a total of approximately 300 small business owners were 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 suggest caution when making direct statistical comparisons of the results before and after 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).]

Dec. 4, 2019 — Fall 2019 Bank of America Small Business Owner Snapshot

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