As the year comes to a close, the majority of Dallas/Fort Worth-area small business owners expect 2017 revenue to exceed that of 2016, and they are projecting that growth to continue in the year ahead. According to the fall 2017 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report, a semiannual survey of 1,000 business owners across the country and North Texas, the majority of local entrepreneurs anticipate a strong finish to 2017, as 86 percent are confident that their year-end revenue will exceed that of 2016. Looking to 2018, more than seven out of 10 Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs also expect their revenue will increase (22 percentage points higher than the national average, and the highest of all major cities surveyed).
This confidence in higher revenues coincides with a significant jump in optimism toward the national economy, with 48 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs expecting it to improve over the next 12 months (vs. 40 percent in fall 2016). In both the short and long term, Dallas/Fort Worth small business owners are seeking growth opportunities as they plan to hire and expand at rates above their national peers:
“North Texas is one of the fastest growing regions in the nation,” said Jeffrey Coomer, Dallas/Fort Worth small business banker manager at Bank of America. “Local small business owners play a critical role in helping to drive this exponential growth. Their optimism in the national economy and plans to hire in the year ahead are signs that this trend will continue in 2018.”
Concern about specific economic factors has held steady or declined since last fall. Health care costs continue to be the top economic concern, though at 65 percent, Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs are less concerned than last fall (73 percent). Other top economic concerns include:
Dallas/Fort Worth small business owners continue to be thoughtful about retaining talent, with two-thirds taking steps within the past two years to do so, such as offering flexible hours or work locations (42 percent) and offering employee perks (20 percent).
In addition to enhancing company culture, 94 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs provide wage increases and promotions, with most raises given on an unscheduled basis (54 percent) driven by either employee performance or positive business growth. Meanwhile, 29 percent give their employees regular annual raises (vs. 22 percent nationwide).
Half of Dallas/Fort Worth business owners say social media has had a positive impact on their business’s bottom line. Of the top ways local entrepreneurs rely on social media, 67 percent use it to market their business, 65 percent use it to share updates with their customers, 62 percent use it to connect or network with peers and 61 percent use it to respond to and capture customer feedback.
More than one-third of local small business owners say they have made a business blunder on mobile or digital channels. Top business blunders among area entrepreneurs include customer confusion due to outdated information found online (17 percent) and incorrectly scheduled appointments or meetings online (16 percent).
Beyond social media, the vast majority of Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs are adopting digital tools to assist in their day-to-day operations. Ninety-three percent of entrepreneurs use at least one digital tool to run their business, with digital banking (51 percent) and financial tracking and/or accounting apps (47 percent) reported as the most popular solutions.
Perhaps as a result of higher revenue expectations this year, 81 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs plan to reward their employees with at least one holiday-related perk to close out 2017, including:
Additionally, 67 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneurs are planning charitable actions for this holiday season, such as making financial contributions to charities or nonprofits (36 percent), giving employees time off to volunteer (21 percent) and organizing charitable giving programs for employees (17 percent).
GfK Public Communications & Social Science conducted the Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report survey for fall of 2017 online between August 8 and September 28, 2017 using a pre-recruited online sample of small business owners. GfK contacted a national sample of 1,013 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/Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Approximately 150 interviews each were also completed among respondents in the tech and medical/health care field. 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.
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 47 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,500 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs, and award-winning digital banking with approximately 34 million active users, including approximately 24 million mobile 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 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
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Reporters may contact:
Britney Sheehan, Bank of America