Local entrepreneurs are finishing 2018 on a high note, with most Dallas/Fort Worth-area small business owners anticipating year-over-year revenue growth and indicating plans to hire and expand in the year ahead, according to the fall 2018 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report. While the majority of business owners are pleased with the direction of the economy, Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs are struggling to land qualified employees in a highly competitive local job market.
The report, based on a semiannual survey of 1,000 small business owners across the country and the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area, revealed that 86 percent of entrepreneurs are confident their year-end revenue will exceed that of 2017. In addition, over the next 12 months:
“Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs are feeling upbeat about both the economy and their businesses and are positioned for revenue growth and expansion in the year ahead,” said Ryan Parker, Dallas/Fort Worth small business banker manager at Bank of America. “As they look to expand, business owners are taking the necessary steps to attract and retain employees, taking into account the challenges of competing for talent in one of the tightest job markets in half a century.”
As Dallas/Fort Worth business owners make plans to hire in the year ahead, they acknowledge that identifying and retaining employees has become a significant challenge. In the last year, turnover affected 26 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs. Among business owners who sought to hire new employees, 50 percent say they had difficulty finding qualified candidates, in large part due to the tightening job market.
To adjust to these challenges, business owners have modified their hiring strategies to find and recruit top talent by:
When it comes to the top characteristics Dallas/Fort Worth business owners look for in potential job candidates, they primarily value integrity (61 percent), previous work experience (55 percent), and passion for the work and mission of the business (48 percent).
Aligning with their positive economic outlook, the survey found a general trend of declining concern over most economic factors that are tracked among Dallas/Fort Worth business owners. Health care costs remain the top economic concern at 55 percent, a decrease of 10 percentage points since fall 2017. Concern over corporate taxes decreased significantly, with only 33 percent identifying this as a burdensome issue nearly a year after the enactment of U.S. tax reform, down from 48 percent in fall 2017.
Perhaps a result of recent changes to and uncertainty about trade policies, 35 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth business owners identify U.S. trade policy as an economic concern. Thirty-three percent say the latest tariffs/U.S. trade policies have impacted their business, with 13 percent reporting both positive and negative effects, 10 percent reporting a negative impact and 10 percent reporting a positive impact.
Dallas/Fort Worth business owners are feeling the holiday spirit as 86 percent plan to offer at least one holiday perk to their employees. The top holiday perks planned this year are office closures (54 percent), flexible hours or vacation time (42 percent) and gifts for employees (42 percent). Finally, despite unique challenges in managing a small business, Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs love what they do. Ninety-one percent say the added stress of entrepreneurship has been worth it, and 88 percent would recommend that others follow in their footsteps.
For a complete, in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s small business owners, read the fall 2018 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report.
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 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, 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.
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Britney Sheehan, Bank of America