Sharon Miller: May 17, 2017

Bank of America Survey Finds Small Business Confidence in the Economy Jumps 21 Percent in Six Months

Growth and Revenue Expectations Remain Flat as Hiring Plans Sink to Five-Year Low


Head of Small Business, Bank of America

According to the spring 2017 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of 1,000 small business owners across the country, small business owners’ confidence in the economy has surged in the last six months – although entrepreneurs are still cautious about turning plans into action.

Topics Bank of America Executive Sharon Miller will discuss include:

  • Small business owners’ economic outlook, concerns and growth expectations
  • Small business stressors and work-life balance
  • Predictions for 20 years into the future of small business, and the importance of innovation
  • Entrepreneurs’ views on health care costs, quality and availability

Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Key Findings:

  • Small business owners are confident about the economy, but cautious about turning plans into action
    • Small business owners’ confidence in the economy has jumped significantly in the last six months
      • 50% expect their local economy to improve over the next 12 months (up from 37% in fall 2016) and 52% expect the same of the national economy (up from 31% in fall 2016)
    • Revenue expectations and growth plans remain flat since fall 2016, while hiring plans sink to a five-year low
      • 48% expect their revenue to increase over the next 12 months (flat from 52% in fall 2016)
      • 56% plan to grow their business over the next five years (flat from 55% in fall 2016)
      • 18% say they plan to hire more employees in the next 12 months (down from 25% in fall 2016)
    •  Health care costs top list of economic concerns; most feel cost increases have worsened in last five years, while split on access and quality
    • 64% are concerned about the impact of health care costs on their business
    • Half (50%) say the pace of annual health care cost increases over the past 5 years has worsened
    • Meanwhile, they are split about whether the availability and quality of their business’ health care has improved or worsened in the last 5 years.
  • For entrepreneurs, the stress of running their business is worth it because they are fulfilled and have achieved a work-life balance
    • 81% say they are satisfied with the number of hours they work and 82% have achieved a work-life balance
    • 47% say running their business is demanding and 30% say it is stressful
    • However, they are more likely to say running their business is fulfilling (52%), interesting (52%) and enjoyable (51%)
    • One-quarter (24%) of small business owners say they have had a nightmare about their business failing
  • When asked for their top two predictions about the future of small business 20 years from now:
    • 49% predict more offices will be virtual environments rather than physical locations
    • 42% predict more operations will be conducted by automation
    • 42% predict businesses will go paperless

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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 delivering business and personal financial solutions to the company’s 3 million small business owners and entrepreneurs. Miller’s team of more than 2,000 associates delivers advice and guidance on cash management, business financing, home lending, investments and retirement. Prior to this role, Miller was Central Division Executive for Financial Center Sales and Merrill Edge® at Bank of America. In this role, she led financial center teams working in nearly 900 locations across 11 states, providing a full range of financial products, services and expertise to over 8 million Bank of America households. Miller joined Bank of America in 1996. She started her career as a Financial Advisor in Houston, Texas. She has held various leadership positions in the company, including National Sales Executive for Preferred Banking and Merrill Edge®, Complex Director for Merrill Lynch in Texas, Regional Executive for the Premier Banking and Investment business, and Market Executive for Nevada. Miller has been actively involved in the Bank of America community throughout her career.  She has been an active member of Bank of America’s Diversity Council, 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.

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