By American Trucker staff
Optimism apparently abounds in the small business sector within the U.S., according to the 2017 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual survey of 1,000 business owners across the country.
Nearly three-quarters of the entrepreneurs polled in this survey are “optimistic” their 2017 year-end revenue will surpass 2016 revenue, with nearly half expecting their local economies and the national economy to improve in the year ahead – economic optimism that’s up 11 and 15 percentage points, respectively, from the fall of 2016.
That “positive outlook” for the U.S. economy bodes well for growth, as 92% of small business owners polled indicated that a “positive economic environment” is a critical factor to their ability to grow.
Other growth factors include customer demand (93%), the ability to attract and retain quality employees (76%), favorable government policies (76%) and access to capital (63%).
The 10-page report, however, also found that long-term growth plans remain unchanged from fall 2016, as 51% of small business owners plan to grow their business over the next five years.
In addition, plans to hire are down year-over-year as 16% of entrepreneurs plan to hire more employees in the year ahead, versus 25% in fall 2016.
“Entrepreneurs continue to be upbeat about future economic growth as they set their sights on 2018,” explained Sharon Miller, head of small business for the Bank of America, in a statement. “Small business owners are optimistic about their ability to close the year strong and the outlook for the economy in the year ahead. However, these surges in small business owner confidence have not yet translated into plans for long-term growth.”
Interestingly, rural business owners are apparently more confident about the health of the U.S. economy, while their urban counterparts are more optimistic on revenue, growth and hiring:
- 57% of urban entrepreneurs plan to grow their business over the next five years versus 50% of their rural peers.
- 52% of urban business owners are confident that their revenue will increase in the coming year versus 47% of rural entrepreneurs.
- 20% of urban entrepreneurs plan to hire in 2018 versus 15% of rural business owners.
Conversely, rural entrepreneurs’ confidence in the national economy tops that of their urban counterparts as 51% of rural business owners believe the national economy will improve over the next 12 months, compared to 45% of business owners in urban areas.