Bank of America Finds 60% of Small Business Owners Expect their Revenue to Increase This Year, a Significant Rebound since Last Fall
Optimism among business owners increases as economic confidence bounces back and high levels of concern over the pandemic begin to decline
The research, based on a survey of nearly 1,000 small business owners across the country conducted in March, reveals business outlook and economic confidence have bounced back significantly from levels seen in the fall. Over the next 12 months:
- 60% of business owners expect their revenue to increase, up from 34% in fall 2020.
- 56% are confident their local economy will improve, up from 39% in fall 2020.
- 50% anticipate the national economy will improve, up from 37% in fall 2020.
- 21% plan to hire, up from 13% in fall 2020.
Furthermore, 79% of business owners say a widely available vaccine and/or herd immunity in their local community will be helpful in bringing their business back to normal, while 15% say that business is already back to normal.
“Small business owners have showed time and again during the pandemic that they are the resilient backbone of our economy and of local communities throughout the country,” said
Top economic concerns
Consistent with last fall, business owners’ top concerns for the year ahead include the
Operating during the pandemic and the transition to digital
More than half (55%) of business owners say they faced difficulties keeping their businesses open as a result of the pandemic. As a result, many business owners made operational changes to their business over the past year, with 62% anticipating these changes will remain permanent – including:
- Continued enhancement of sanitation practices (54%)
- Further building a digital sales strategy (32%)
- Accepting more forms of cashless payments (27%)
- Maintaining shortened hours of operation (22%)
Sixty-two percent of business owners adopted new digital tools and strategies to optimize operations in response to the pandemic, including:
- Interacting virtually with customers (47%) and employees (36%)
- Banking online or in mobile apps (36%)
- Accepting digital payments (30%)
- Enhancing their social media presence (26%)
Sixty-eight percent of business owners utilized various funding sources to support their operations through the pandemic, including:
- Personal savings (48%)
- Business and/or personal credit cards (34%)
- Paycheck Protection Program loans (33%)
- Personal economic stimulus checks (23%)
- Business lines of credit (20%).
The pandemic’s impact on health and wellness
The coronavirus dealt a heavy blow to entrepreneurs – impacting not only their business, but personal wellbeing. Business owners acknowledge the pandemic’s effect on their business has impacted their mental (39%) and physical (34%) health, and more than four-in-five (85%) say the pandemic has created extra stress around running their business. However, entrepreneurs are finding healthy, productive ways to cope, including making time to unwind and do activities they enjoy (46%) and prioritizing time with friends and family (40%). When asked how they felt about running their business during the pandemic, 52% of business owners said determined/resilient, followed by stressed (48%), anxious (43%) and hopeful (38%).
Commitment to social justice
This past year sparked a greater sense of urgency and action around social justice issues – with many entrepreneurs evaluating how to address these topics within the context of their businesses. Fifty-three percent say they are committed to advocating for social change through their business and 31% say recent social justice issues have impacted their approach to conducting and running their business. Many entrepreneurs expressed benefits from committing support to social justice issues – from boosting employee morale, satisfaction and retention (31%), to attracting customers (29%) and talent (24%), and even positively impacting their bottom line (24%). Thirty-six percent say their local communities prioritize shopping at businesses with a clearly demonstrated commitment to social justice.
For an in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s small business owners, read the full
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Building on the company’s longstanding focus on advancing racial equality and economic opportunity, in
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