Dallas/Fort Worth Is Open for Business: Bank of America Survey Finds Area Small Business Owners Plan to Increase New Hires in 2016

Despite Lingering Economic Concerns, Local Entrepreneurs Plan for a Robust 2016

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 10:00 am EST

Small business owners in the Dallas/Fort Worth area are overwhelmingly optimistic about their businesses over the next 12 months, according to the fall 2015 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and around the country.

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of Dallas/Fort Worth small business owners anticipate an increase in revenue over the next 12 months, an 8 percentage point jump from last year. Area small business owners are also planning to hire more in 2016: 65 percent have indicated that they plan to add employees in the next 12 months, compared with 46 percent in fall 2014. This represents the highest rate of intent to hire since the inception of the survey in 2012.

Not surprisingly, this expected growth demands more capital. More than one in four (27 percent) Dallas small business owners plan to apply for a loan in 2016. More than half (57 percent) of those applying for a loan say they intend to use the capital to invest in new equipment.

“Dallas/Fort Worth small business owners have demonstrated extraordinary resilience and perseverance these last few years, and they’re excited about growing their business in 2016,” said Jeffrey Coomer, Dallas/Fort Worth small business banker manager at Bank of America. “The local spike in confidence in the economy, revenue growth and hiring will lead to a bright future for the area in the year ahead.”

Economic confidence is on the rise, despite lingering concerns
Dallas/Fort Worth small business owners are also bullish on the local economy: Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) believe the local Dallas/Fort Worth economy will improve in the next year, an increase of 11 percentage points from a year ago. Almost half (48 percent) also expressed confidence in the national economy (versus 44 percent a year ago). Skepticism remains on the performance of the global economy, as almost one-third (32 percent) expressed confidence, compared to 33 percent one year ago.

When asked about their top concerns, Dallas/Fort Worth small business owners believe the following factors could potentially impact their businesses over the next 12 months:

  • The upcoming U.S. presidential election (40 percent).
  • The possibility of a minimum wage increase (38 percent).
  • The possibility of future interest rate hikes (37 percent).
  • Financial crises in countries abroad [i.e., China and Greece] (34 percent).

Area small business owners slowly adopting popular workplace trends
Dallas/Fort Worth small businesses are supporting more flexible work arrangements for employees, with 41 percent offering telecommuting options, compared with 27 percent five years ago. However, Dallas/Fort Worth small businesses trail their counterparts nationally when it comes to those offering telecommuting (47 percent).

Similar to their peers nationwide, small business owners in the Dallas/Fort Worth area are beginning to offer nontraditional perks, including office happy hours (21 percent), areas to relax and unwind, such as nap pods or game rooms (15 percent) or the ability to bring pets to work (14 percent).

Cybersecurity raises concerns; Dallas/Fort Worth small businesses preparing
Nearly one in 10 (8 percent) Dallas/Fort Worth small business owners have been the victim of a cybersecurity breach. Although this trails the national average of 12 percent, Dallas entrepreneurs are still showing concern: More than half (54 percent) of area small business owners worry about the security of their customers’ proprietary data, and more than half (54 percent) of local small business owners say they are prepared for an attack.

Dallas/Fort Worth owners looking forward to a successful year-end
Dallas/Fort Worth small business owners expect to end the year on a high note: 81 percent say it’s likely they will hit their year-end revenue goal, which is 10 percentage points higher than last year. Many small business owners in the area intend to offer year-end perks to their employees, including salary bonuses (54 percent), office closures (49 percent) or a holiday party (45 percent).

When it comes to holiday milestones, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not necessarily critical to Dallas business owners’ bottom line. Fifty-seven percent say Black Friday has no impact on their business’ bottom line, and similarly, 64 percent think Cyber Monday is overhyped and has no significance to their business’ bottom line.

For an in-depth look at the attributes of the nation’s small business owners, read the full fall 2015 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, and for additional insights from small business owners in Dallas/Fort Worth and across the country, download the Small Business Owner Report local insights infographic here.

About the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Braun Research, Inc. conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report survey by phone from August 21 through September 22, 2015, on behalf of Bank of America. Braun contacted a nationally representative sample of 1,001 small business owners in the United States with annual revenue between $100,000 and $4,999,999 and employing between 2 and 99 employees. In addition, 300 small business owners were surveyed in each of nine target markets: Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Miami. The margin of error for the national sample is +/- 3.1 percent; the margin of error for the oversampled markets is +/- 5.7 percent, reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

The Braun Research survey results conducted on behalf and for the exclusive use of Bank of America and interpretations in this release are not intended, nor implied, to be a substitute for the professional advice received from a qualified accountant, attorney or financial advisor. Always seek the advice of an accountant, attorney or financial advisor with any questions you may have regarding the decisions you undertake as a result of reviewing the information contained herein. Nothing in this report should be construed as either advice or legal opinion.

Bank of America
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 4,700 retail financial centers, approximately 16,100 ATMs, and award-winning online banking with 32 million active users and more than 18 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in 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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