Sharon Miller: December 24, 2019


Changes in U.S. Trade Policies Increasingly Impacting Entrepreneurs


Sharon Miller

Head of Small Business, Bank of America


According to a new Bank of America study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of more than 1,000 small business owners (SBOs) across the country, U.S. business owners are entering the new decade on a high note, with 82% anticipating year-over-year revenue growth as they close out 2019. Entrepreneurs are confident about their business prospects, with expansion plans, revenue projections and intent to hire remaining strong and steady from last fall.


Topics from the study that Bank of America Executive Sharon Miller is available to discuss include the views of entrepreneurs around:

  • Economic outlook, concerns and growth expectations
  • Hot-button issues including health care costs, tax reform and trade
  • Holiday season challenges and opportunities


Bank of America Fall 2019 Small Business Owner Snapshot Key Findings:

  • Small business growth indicators remain steady and strong
    • 82% of SBOs anticipate their 2019 year-end revenue to be higher than 2018
    • 69% of SBOs plan to expand in the year ahead
    • 58% of SBOs expect their revenue will increase in 2020
    • o24% of SBOs plan to hire over the next 12 months
    • 12% of SBOs intend to apply for a loan next year
  • Confidence in local economies holds steady, while confidence in national economy waivers slightly
    • 52% of SBOs expect their local economy to improve over the next 12 months (level with 54% in fall 2018)
    • 49% are confident the national economy will improve (down from 55% in fall 2018)
    • The top five factors influencing business owner confidence in the national economy this fall are elections, the U.S. political climate, GDP growth rate, inflation and interest rates.
  • Concern around health care costs and the political environment declined, while concern about other economic issues is on the rise.
    • The top two economic concerns for entrepreneurs in the year ahead are health care costs (61%) and the current political environment (61%) though both declined since this spring.
    • Concern has increased across consumer spending (54% vs. 47% in spring 2019), strength of the U.S. dollar (50% vs 46% in spring 2019) and corporate tax rates (45% vs. 40% in spring 2019)
  • U.S. trade policies are impacting more business owners
    • 44% say they are feeling the effects of tariffs (up from 41% in the spring and 36% in fall 2018)
    • Of those business owners who have been affected this fall, the greatest impact has been on the costs of their goods and supplies (61% have noticed an increase), as well as raising customer pricing (55%).
  • Holiday season brings challenges and stressors, but resilient business owners have ways to cope
    • 66% of SBOs say their business is facing challenges during the holiday season, including balancing work and personal commitments (42%), creating customer demand (37%) and keeping prices competitive (36%)
    • As stress levels rise, 48% are taking extra steps toward self-care and 38% are taking a vacation
    • 74% of SBOs are spending time with family and friends during this holiday season, and 29% are providing their employees with special perks and bonuses.


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More About Bank of America Executive Sharon Miller:

Sharon Miller is the head of Small Business at Bank of America. Her team is responsible for providing access to capital in the communities we serve, as well as delivering advice and guidance to Bank of America’s over 11 million business-owner clients. Miller’s team of more than 2,500 associates delivers advice and guidance on cash management, business financing, home lending, investments and retirement. They work with clients through Bank of America’s nationwide network of approximately 4,300 financial centers, as well as virtually through the latest videoconferencing and chat technology. Under Miller’s leadership, Bank of America Small Business’ client experience index is at an all-time high and Small Business deposits have increased to more than $100 billion. Committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment within the company, Miller has been an active executive leader of Bank of America’s Diversity & Inclusion Council. She has served on Merrill Lynch’s Director Advisory Council to Management and has held numerous market leadership roles across the country. Miller has held leadership positions in United Way, March of Dimes and Communities in Schools. She appears regularly on national and local TV and radio, discussing small business issues and advocating for the nation’s entrepreneurs as the engine that drives the United States economy.


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