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Spring Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Finds San Francisco Small Business Owners Working Beyond Traditional Retirement Age, but Find Healthy Work-Life Balance

May 13, 2014

Biggest Sources of Satisfaction Include Supporting Their Families, Being Their Own Bosses and Having Satisfied Employees

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- More than half of San Francisco small business owners are choosing to work through their golden years, according to the spring 2014 Small Business Owner Report, released today by Bank of America.

The report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners in the Bay Area and around the country, found that 55 percent of San Francisco small business owners plan to work until they are over 65 years old or until they are no longer physically able to work. When asked why they will retire later, 65 percent of respondents said they are doing so because they enjoy running their business and do not want to stop working.

While entrepreneurs in this area may be working well beyond the traditional retirement age, their hours are manageable. San Francisco small business owners log the fewest number of hours in relation to their counterparts across the country, averaging a 44-hour work week (compared to a 48-hour work week nationally). Yet, only half (54 percent) have taken a vacation in the past year (two-thirds say they will take a vacation in 2014). While 61 percent believe they have made personal sacrifices for their business, fewer feel this way in comparison to the national average (72 percent).

They also want their employees to be happy – in fact, 15 percent of San Franciscans rank having satisfied employees as one of their top three accomplishments. Making enough money to support their family (21 percent) and being their own boss (18 percent) top the list of San Francisco small business owners’ biggest accomplishments.

“San Francisco as a market continues to experience growth, due in large part to the strength of small business,” said Emily Shanks, Small Business Banking regional executive at Bank of America. “While entrepreneurs here are passionate about their businesses, many still have concerns about attracting and retaining customers. Bank of America has small business bankers on the ground who understand the market and can help with growth so that small businesses will be better positioned to thrive.”

Small business owners excited about the year ahead

Small business owners in San Francisco are optimistic about local growth in the year ahead, having more confidence in their local economy than the macro economies. Almost half (49 percent) of San Francisco small business owners are confident that their local economy will improve over the next 12 months. They are less confident when looking at national and global economies. Forty-one percent think that the national economy will improve, while only 35 percent believe the global economy is on an upward swing.

San Francisco small business owners are split down the middle when it comes to the growth of their own businesses, with 48 percent saying they are looking to maintain the current size of their business, while nearly the same number (50 percent) are looking to grow operations in the coming year.

Women-owned businesses have cautious outlook

The report also delved into the perspectives of female small business owners in San Francisco, looking at how they compare to their male counterparts. Findings revealed Bay Area men are growing their businesses at a faster rate than women. Fifty-four percent of men believe their revenue will increase over the next year, while only 40 percent of women responded as such. Additionally, men are hiring at a much faster rate than their female counterparts, with 43 percent of men planning to expand staff in the next 12 months, compared to 29 percent of women.

When it comes to their personal lives, women in San Francisco are more likely than men to sacrifice time for themselves (69 percent versus 60 percent). Nationally, men are more willing than women to sacrifice time with children, with 46 percent of men saying they have spent less time with their children as a result of running their small business, while only 37 percent of women admit to this. However, the trend is reversed in San Francisco, as 53 percent of women versus 42 percent of men say they are likely to put business before children.

Retiring later, no heir in place

Not surprisingly considering how many respondents plan to work past age 65, only 29 percent of small business owners in San Francisco have a succession plan in place - far fewer than the 52 percent nationally who do. Among those with a plan, nearly half (48 percent) intend to transfer or sell their business to a family member. Eleven percent will transfer to one of their children, whether or not they are active in the business.

Lending activity to small businesses strong

Bank of America has a nationwide network of banking centers and professionals that are committed to its more than 3 million small business clients and their local communities. In 2013, Bank of America extended more than $2.4 billion in new loans to small businesses in California – a 31 percent increase over 2012. This has helped enable Bank of America to exceed its national small business lending pledge to the White House and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

For an in-depth look at the attributes of the nation’s small business owners, read the full spring 2014 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, and for additional Los Angeles-based insights, download the Small Business Owner Report Los Angeles infographic here.

About the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report

Braun Research conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report survey by phone between March 4 and March 31, 2014, on behalf of Bank of America. Braun contacted a nationally representative sample of 1,000 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 also surveyed in 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 (where n=300) is +/ 5.7 percent; and the margin of error for the oversampled markets (where n=301) is +/ 5.6 percent, with each reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

The Braun Research survey results conducted on behalf 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 largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small businesses, 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 49 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,100 retail banking offices and approximately 16,200 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users and more than 15 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 more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Visit the Bank of America newsroom for more Bank of America news.

Reporters May Contact:

Colleen Haggerty, Bank of America, 1.949.464.2338

Source: Bank of America

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Source: Business Wire

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