Seventy-two percent of small business owners expect their revenue to increase in the next 12 months, compared with 62 percent a year ago, according to a semi-annual survey of 1,000 small business owners released by Bank of America (PDF). Other signs of optimism include an increase in expectations for hiring in the next 12 months, up significantly from 51 percent in the fall of 2014 and 31 percent in the fall of 2013.


confidence

 

“We’re seeing a dramatic increase in optimism among small business owners in the economy, revenue growth and hiring, Even with instability in the global markets and the uncertainty they have about the upcoming election, small business owners are confident and ready to expand their businesses. They are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and we commend them for their entrepreneurial spirit and stamina through a challenging economic time.” – Robb Hilson, Bank of America Small Business executive


Highlights from the Fall 2015
Small Business Owner Report

The Economy

61% | Optimistic for their local economies (up 12 percentage points from previous year)
56% | Optimistic for the national economy (an 11 percentage points from previous year)
45% | Expressed optimism for the global economy (up 14 percentage percentage points from previous year)

Hiring Plans

Small business owners are significantly more likely to hire new employees than they were a year ago.

newsroom_bankofamerica_com_files_press_kit_additional_Small_Business_Owner_Report_-_Fall_2015_pdf 2

67% | Plan to hire staff during next 12 months (up 16 percentage points from previous year)

Borrowing Plans

35% | Say they will apply for a loan in 2016
44% | Have applied for a loan in the past two years (up 15 percentage points from previous year)

Technology

telecommute88% | Say technology is helping them better serve customers
50% | Have invested in new tech to better connect with employees
71% | Investing in technology upgrades one or more times per year
47% | Offering telecommuting options (Up 12 percent from 5 years ago)
54% | Believe telecommuting options have increased productivity
34% | Concerned telecommuting makes employees unreliable

Benefits & Perks

Employee benefits are also changing, with small businesses taking a page out of the startup book by offering perks like areas to exercise, unwind or relax.

11% | Pet-friendly work environments
8% | Onsite fitness facilities
20% | Nap pods and game rooms

Cyber Threats

Small_Business_Owner_Report_-_Fall_2015_pdf

12% | Have been the victim of a cybersecurity breach
66% | Have taken measures to be prepared for a cyber attack

(Note: Recently, we reported on research by Nationwide Insurance that says 80 percent of small businesses are not prepared for a cyber attack. We assume the wording of the questions in the two surveys influenced the difference in response.)


About the Survey

The survey was conducted by Braun Research, Inc. by phone from August 21 through September 22, 2015, 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.


Photo: ThinkStock
Graphics: Bank of America