Local entrepreneurs maintain a strong business outlook this spring, anticipating revenue growth and opportunities for expansion in the year ahead, according to the spring 2019 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report. Economic confidence levels remain steady as New York City small business owners have mixed views on the impact of last year’s landmark tax reform and trade tariffs.
The report, based on a semiannual survey of over 1,500 small business owners across the country and the greater New York City area, reveals that:
“New York business owners are projecting a strong 2019 business outlook,” said Adam Hartwigh, small business banking manager at Bank of America. “Despite some trepidation about the direction of the national economy, New York entrepreneurs anticipate significant opportunities for revenue growth and expansion in the year ahead.”
Sixty-one percent of New York entrepreneurs expressed concern about the current political environment, though they are divided over how major policy issues are directly impacting them. Forty-eight percent of New York business owners say the new tax code has had an impact on their business — with 24 percent reporting that impact as positive. This is down from the 45 percent who anticipated a positive impact one year ago.
Regarding U.S. trade policy, 42 percent say they have been impacted by tariffs, with 17 percent reporting the impact as mixed, 14 percent reporting it as negative and 11 percent reporting it as positive. Additionally, 35 percent of New York entrepreneurs say they’re concerned about climate change impacting their business.
Unexpected or major economic events can transform a business in the blink of an eye. While most New York entrepreneurs are taking steps to protect their business from potential threats such as natural disasters, a majority of New York entrepreneurs do not have a plan to address reputational crises or challenges.
Customer feedback holds tremendous sway in the digital era, with online reviews serving as a powerful channel for sharing both compliments and criticisms. While 58 percent of New York business owners have received a negative online review of their business, 58 percent believe positive reviews matter the most, while 42 percent say negative reviews have a greater impact.
Furthermore, 66 percent say reviews are important to the success of their business, with 76 percent reporting that positive reviews have helped generate business opportunities. Recognizing that negative reviews also have an impact, 70 percent of business owners who have received one say they respond as soon as possible to limit the reputational damage.
For a complete, in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s small business owners, read the spring 2019 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report.
Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Survey for spring 2019 online between February 8 and February 24, 2019 using a pre-recruited online sample of small business owners. Ipsos contacted a national sample of 1,504 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 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 66 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 4,400 retail financial centers, including approximately 1,800 lending centers, 2,200 financial centers with a Consumer Investment Financial Solutions Advisor, and 1,500 business centers; approximately 16,400 ATMs; and award-winning digital banking with more than 37 million active users, including over 27 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 approximately 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
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Susan Atran, Bank of America