Sharon Miller: May 14, 2019

SMALL BUSINESS OUTLOOK REMAINS STRONG

DESPITE DIP IN ECONOMIC CONFIDENCE

Entrepreneurs Split on Impact of Tax Reform, Trade Policies

Sharon Miller

Head of Small Business, Bank of America

According to the spring 2019 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 (SBOs) across the country, U.S. entrepreneurs continue to project a strong business outlook this spring, despite a slight dip in economic confidence.

Topics Bank of America Executive Sharon Miller is available to discuss include:

·         Small business owners’ economic outlook, concerns and growth expectations

·         Entrepreneurs’ views on economic factors, including tax reform and trade

·         The importance of preparing for unexpected events

·         The impact of online reviews on the small business bottom line

Bank of America Spring 2019 Small Business Owner Report Key Findings:

Small business owners’ revenue forecasts, growth and hiring plans are strong for the year ahead, a trend that continues from last fall

  • 67% of SBOs plan to expand
  • 59% of SBOs expect their revenue will increase
  • 24% of SBOs plan to hire

Economic confidence among business owners has dipped slightly this spring

  • 48% are confident the national economy will improve (down from 55% in fall 2018)
  • 51% expect their local economy will improve over the next 12 months (down from 54% in fall 2018)
  • Concern over certain major economic factors has risen since fall 2018, including health care costs (66%), interest rates (48%), stock market and consumer spending (both 47%)

Many entrepreneurs identify the political environment as a concern, but they’re divided on how policy issues are impacting their businesses

  • 65% of entrepreneurs express concern about the current political environment
  • 59% say the implementation of new U.S. trade tariffs has had no impact on their business, while 18% report a negative impact and 9% report a positive impact
  • 51% say the tax policy has had a neutral impact on their business, 28% say it has been positive and 21% say it has been negative

33% of SBOs are concerned about climate change impacting their business

Most business owners are preparing for the unexpected, but many may not be doing enough

  • 80% of SBOs have taken steps to secure data in case of a cyber breach, while 20% do not
  • 69% of SBOs have taken steps to protect their business in case of an economic downturn, while 31% have not
  • 61% of SBOs have a continuity plan in place in case of a flood, fire or other disaster, while 39% do not
  • 24% of SBOs have a plan in place to address reputational issues, while 76% do not

Entrepreneurs report online reviews as more helpful than not, but also acknowledge the hazard of a negative write-up

  • 62% of SBOs say positive reviews have a greater impact on their business than negative reviews
  • 80% of SBOs say a positive review has led to a new business opportunity
  • 54% of SBOs have had a negative review and of those, only 32% believe it led to a loss of business and 66% respond as soon as possible to mitigate impact

 

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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