A new Bank of America (BofA) small business owner report explored the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small-business owners across the country. The methodology included a phone survey of 1,000 small-business owners in the U.S. with annual revenue between $100,000 and $4,999,999 and employing between two and 99 employees. Of these 1,000 participants, about 100 were Hispanic small business owners.
The survey, according to a BofA news release, uncovers a sense of optimism among small-business owners about their own business as they look toward the next 12 months. It also found that managing the ongoing success of their business creates more stress for small-business owners than any other aspect of their lives.
Respondents cited diverse reasons for staring their own business. Hispanic small-business owners' reasons ranged from the business being passed down (24 percent) to wanting to become their own boss (24 percent).
Hispanic small-business owners were more optimistic that the national economy would approve than their peers were, according to the study. About 48 percent of Hispanic business-owners said the national economy will show improvement in the next 12 months, while 35 percent of overall respondents felt this way.
"We know how much small-business owners give up to make their businesses successful, but despite their sacrifices, they are still optimistic about the future," said Dean Athanasia, preferred and small-business executive at BofA. "Therefore, we believe that the financial services industry, the business community and the general public must continue to take steps to support the growth and success of our small business sector."
Owning a small business comes with certain stressors. No. 1 on the the list for Hispanic small-business owners was managing the ongoing success of the small business (38 percent), followed by maintaining a healthy relationship with a spouse or a partner (22 percent).
Being your own boss also entails certain sacrifices. Hispanics said difficulty in finding time for themselves was the biggest sacrifice (64 percent), while keeping physically fit (40 percent) and maintaining a healthy relationship with spouse or a partner (33 percent) were also very significant.
Is it time to expand?
Overall, six in 10 respondents anticipate an increase in revenue in the next 12 months. More specifically, 66 percent of Hispanic small-business owners expect the revenue increase, and 38 percent plan to hire more employees. About 48 percent plan to market their business to acquire more customers.
Hispanic business-owners are ahead of the curve when it comes to taking care of their employees. About 34 percent offer a 401(k) plan, 18 percent offer health savings accounts, 19 percent offer a pension, 12 percent offer an IRA, and 10 percent offer flexible spending accounts.
Notably, despite the prevalence and growing influence of social media, survey findings indicate that small-business owners may not be leveraging this marketing tool to its fullest potential. Only 38 percent of SBOs who use social media to market or promote their business engage in conversations with customers, while less than half (47 percent) utilize social media to offer discounts and deals to their customer base.
About 80 percent of Hispanic business-owners would like to take better advantage of tech tools for managing their small enterprises, as compared to 64 percent overall, according to the survey.
Online banking accounted for 79 percent of Hispanics' vote as to a technology solution that would be helpful, while 48 percent said direct payments would be another helpful solution. Mobile banking also scored high with 33 percent of respondents.
Small business owners value professional financial advice
Only slightly more than a quarter (27 percent) of small-business owners describe themselves as being financially savvy when it comes to running their business. The remaining respondents admit to needing occasional or ongoing expert help.
When seeking financial guidance, 81 percent of Hispanic small-business owners look to a financial adviser for advice, followed by an accountant or bookkeeper (73 percent). Others tend to ask other small-business owners (65 percent) and family and friends (65 percent).
"As the economic environment becomes more complex, Bank of America is committed to providing small business owners with dedicated resources to stay ahead of their financial needs," said Athanasia. "Through our 1,500 associates who work with small businesses across the country and our 1,200 Merrill Edge financial solutions advisors, small-business owners can benefit from highly specialized advice from local experts who intimately understand the full range of their business and personal financial needs."
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