Miami Small Business Optimism Hits Five-Year High as Entrepreneurs Compete for Talent

December 6, 2018 at 9:00 AM Eastern

Local entrepreneurs are finishing 2018 on a high note, with the majority of Miami-area small business owners anticipating year-over-year growth and indicating plans to hire in the year ahead, according to the fall 2018 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report. With optimism toward the economy soaring to a five-year high, Miami entrepreneurs are approaching a highly competitive job market with confidence.

The report, based on a semiannual survey of 1,000 small business owners across the country and the greater Miami area, revealed that 92 percent of Miami entrepreneurs are confident their year-end revenue will exceed 2017 business revenue, the highest among business owners surveyed in 10 major cities. In addition, over the next 12 months:

  • Eighty-two percent of Miami business owners believe their revenue will increase (a five-year high in Miami, and 25 percentage points above the national average).
  • Eighty-nine percent plan to expand (vs. 84 percent in fall 2017, and the highest percentage nationwide).
  • Forty-seven percent plan to hire (vs. 39 percent in fall 2017, and 20 percentage points above the national average).
  • Sixty-seven percent are confident the Miami economy will improve (vs. 53 percent in fall 2017).
  • Sixty-one percent express similar confidence in the national economy (vs. 47 percent in fall 2017).
  • Thirty percent intend to apply for a loan (the highest level in Miami over the past three years, and double the national average).

“Miami entrepreneurs are highly confident and eager to expand their businesses in the year ahead,” said Odalis Martinez, Miami small business banker manager at Bank of America. “We’re seeing multi-year highs in hiring and loan application plans as local small business owners demonstrate their commitment to growth in a highly competitive job market.”

Heightened competition for Miami talent as small business hiring ramps up

As Miami 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 22 percent of Miami entrepreneurs. Among Miami business owners who sought to hire new employees, 51 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:

  • Shifting to a more flexible culture in terms of hours, location and extra time off (30 percent).
  • Using social media more actively (24 percent).
  • Offering higher salaries (18 percent).

When it comes to the top characteristics Miami business owners are looking for in their potential job candidates, they primarily value previous work experience (54 percent), integrity (53 percent) and the ability to learn new skills (47 percent).

Concern over stock market and strength of U.S. dollar significantly declines year-over-year

In correlation with positive business forecasts, the survey found a general trend of declining concern over most economic factors that are tracked. Health care costs remain at the top of the list of economic concerns in Miami (58 percent), although concern has declined from 63 percent in fall 2017. Concern over the strength of the stock market decreased significantly since last year, with 40 percent showing concern — down from 57 percent in fall 2017. Additionally, 48 percent of Miami business owners are concerned about the strength of the U.S. dollar, down from 59 percent in fall 2017.

Perhaps a result of recent changes to and uncertainty about U.S. trade policies, 48 percent of Miami business owners identify U.S. trade policy as an economic concern. Fifty-five percent say the latest tariffs/U.S. trade policies have impacted their businesses, with 25 percent reporting a mixed impact, 17 percent reporting a positive impact and 13 percent reporting a negative impact.

Miami small business owners feel the holiday spirit; recommend entrepreneurship as a career path

Miami business owners are feeling the holiday spirit as 87 percent plan to offer at least one holiday perk to their employees. The top perks being offered are office closures (56 percent), salary bonuses (51 percent) and employee gifts (42 percent). Finally, despite unique challenges in managing a small business, Miami entrepreneurs love what they do. Ninety-five percent say the added stress of entrepreneurship has been worth it, and 94 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.

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, 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.

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 67 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 4,400 retail financial centers, approximately 16,100 ATMs, and award-winning digital banking with more than 36 million active users, including nearly 26 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 across the United States, its territories 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:

Matthew Daily, Bank of America
Phone: 404.607.2844