Small Business Owners Continue to Be Optimistic About 2013, Yet Concerns About the Economy Remain

Bank of America released the fall 2012 Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country. The shows the state of business and entrepreneurship in Washington D.C. Check out the infographic here. Here are some of the findings:

  • The majority of Greater Washington’s small business owners are planning on sustaining or growing their business over the next 12 months.
  • Nearly one-third (32 percent) plan on hiring more employees, while 59 percent expect their staffing needs will remain consistent.
  • Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of the Washington, D.C., small business owners surveyed anticipate that revenue will increase in 2013, while only 6 percent expect revenue to decline.
  • Only 50 percent of Greater Washington small business owners confident that their local economy will improve over the next 12 months.
  • Respondents were even less confident in the national (39 percent) and global economies (27 percent) improving in that same period.
  • More than half (54 percent) reported that the majority of their customers come from the local community, compared to 32 percent who indicated that their customers come primarily from outside the local community but within the U.S. Only 4 percent indicated that the majority of their customers come from outside the U.S.
  • 72 percent of Greater Washington’s small business owners believe that the local economy plays a significant role in their business. Comparatively, 52 percent believe the national economy plays a significant role, and only 30 percent believe the global economy is significant to their business.
  • Ninety-two percent say that Black Friday has either a minor or no impact on their business’s bottom line, and 74 percent believe Cyber Monday is overhyped and has no significance to their bottom line.
  • When questioned about their relationship to larger businesses, less than one in five (16 percent) respondents views larger businesses as their biggest competitors. Seventy-six percent indicate they have larger businesses as customers, and 35 percent say that larger businesses motivate them to become better small business owners.
  • From a competitive perspective, Greater Washington small business owners cite a number of factors that they believe drive customers to choose them over larger businesses, including customer service (77 percent), quality and reliability/trust (both 66 percent). One in three (31 percent) believe customers choose them because they are local.
  • Sixty-five percent of respondents believe they have enough access to capital to run their business effectively, and only 12 percent said that they applied for a business loan over the past year. Despite their optimistic views for growth in the coming year, 76 percent do not intend to apply for a business loan in 2013.
  • Only 32 percent of Greater Washington small business owners describe themselves as “very savvy” regarding financial matters. When seeking advice, they tap into a broad network for help, including accountants/bookkeepers (67 percent), financial advisors (60 percent), their banker (46 percent) and friends/family (42 percent).
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