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Boston Small Business Owners Increasingly Likely to Hire and Grow Revenue in 2015

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Forty-four percent of Boston small business owners are planning to hire over the next 12 months, according to the fall 2014 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, released today by Bank of America. This is a significant increase from the last two years, when only 28 percent (2013) and 24 percent (2012) of Boston small business owners planned to hire. Additionally, Boston small business owners are more confident revenue will increase this year as compared to last year. Fifty-six percent expect a revenue increase in the next 12 months, compared to 47 percent in fall 2013.

The Small Business Owner Report is a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners in Boston and around the country.

“Boston entrepreneurs are increasingly optimistic about hiring new employees and growing their business,” said Colleen Matteson, Boston Small Business Banking manager at Bank of America. “We’re committed to helping these small businesses at every stage of their development, especially as they embark on new chapters.”

Boston small business owners hesitant to embrace technology
Boston small business owners seem to be slightly less wired than their peers across the country. Only 59 percent of Boston small business owners give themselves an “A” or “B” grade when it comes to tech savviness (compared to 67 percent nationwide). Furthermore, Boston small business owners are more likely than their national counterparts to give themselves a “C” grade on tech skills (34 percent versus 27 percent nationwide).

Consequently, many Boston small business owners think they can run their business without the help of technology. Almost half (49 percent) of Boston small business owners say they could successfully run their business indefinitely without a smartphone or tablet.

Boston pride: confidence in local economy
Confidence in the local economy has risen dramatically over the past two years. In fall 2012, only 28 percent of Boston small business owners believed the local economy would improve. Forty-four percent now say they expect the local economy to improve in the next 12 months.

However, Bostonians are skeptical about the economy beyond their city limits – only 37 percent believe the national economy will improve (compared to 45 percent nationally), and just 27 percent feel the global economy will improve over the next year.

Boston small business owners are also concerned about a number of larger economic issues, especially health care costs. Eighty percent of Boston small business owners are concerned about the impact of healthcare costs on their business, the highest of any city surveyed in the report. This is also an increase of 14 percent over last year. Other economic concerns include:

  • Sixty-nine percent are concerned about the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders.
  • Sixty-four percent are concerned about the strength of the U.S. dollar.
  • Fifty-seven percent are concerned about the price of commodities.

Surprisingly, only 56 percent of Boston small business owners are concerned about unemployment rates, compared to 80 percent nationwide.

Bostonians generous at year-end
Boston small business owners are more likely to offer perks during the holiday season than they were year ago. Almost half (48 percent) are planning to close their office during the holidays, an increase of 13 percent from last year. Additionally, 44 percent are planning to give gifts to their employees, compared to 37 percent of local small business owners who planned to do this last year.

Seventy-one percent of Boston small business owners expect to hit their year-end revenue goals, but this success may not be due to holiday sales – 83 percent say that Black Friday has minimal or no effect on their business’s bottom line. Similarly, 74 percent of small business owners in Boston believe that Cyber Monday is overhyped and has no significance on their business’s revenue.

For an in-depth look at the attributes of the nation’s small business owners, read the full fall 2014 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report and for additional Boston-based insights, download the Small Business Owner Report Boston infographic here.

About the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Braun Research conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report survey by phone in October 2014, 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. In addition, 300 small business owners were also surveyed in nine target markets: Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Miami. The margin of error for the national sample is +/- 3.1 percent; the margin of error for the oversampled markets (where n=300) is +/ 5.7 percent; and the margin of error for the oversampled markets (where n=301) is +/ 5.6 percent, with each reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

The Braun Research survey results conducted on behalf of Bank of America and interpretations in this release are not intended, nor implied, to be a substitute for the professional advice received from a qualified accountant, attorney or financial advisor. Always seek the advice of an accountant, attorney or financial advisor with any questions you may have regarding the decisions you undertake as a result of reviewing the information contained herein. Nothing in this report should be construed as either advice or legal opinion.

Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small businesses, middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 48 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,900 retail banking offices and approximately 15,700 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 31 million active users and more than 16 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world’s leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE:BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Visit the Bank of America newsroom for more Bank of America news.

www.bankofamerica.com

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