Jul 25, 2014
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Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Explores Gender Perspectives, Shows Women Are More Optimistic About Business Growth Than Men

Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Explores Gender Perspectives, Shows Women Are More Optimistic About Business Growth Than Men

Female small business owners are more optimistic about their growth prospects than their male counterparts, according to the spring 2014 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report. Key findings that support this optimism include:


·         Fifty-six percent of women are planning to hire more employees in the next year (compared to 50 percent of men). 

·         Sixty-eight percent of women are planning to grow their business over the next five years (compared to 63 percent of men).

·         Seventy percent of women business owners expect their revenues to increase over the next 12 months (compared to 66 percent of men).


Released today in alignment with National Small Business Week, the Small Business Owner Report is a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country.


“Women-owned small businesses have become an increasingly important driver of the U.S. economic recovery, with hundreds of women launching new companies every day,” said Robb Hilson, Small Business executive at Bank of America. “The optimism women business owners express about the prospects for their business underscores the need for dedicated resources in their communities to help support their growth plans.”


Women and men differ in strengths and amount of time spent with family


According to the report, women are more likely to count multi-tasking, creativity and empathy for employees among their top skills, while men are more likely to deem their key strengths as being confident, strategic and tech-savvy.


Women are also more likely to sacrifice time for themselves to run their business, while men are more likely to sacrifice their relationship with their spouse/partner and time with their children. As a result, half of men (50 percent) say they spend less time with their family due to running a business, while only 37 percent of women feel the same way, and one in three say they spend more time with their family as result of being a small business owner.


Women are also more likely than men (29 percent vs. 18 percent) to employ their children in their business. Men are 15 percent more likely to say it is best for their relationship if their children don’t work for them (27 percent of men vs. 12 percent of women). 


Some women feel they face different challenges than men


More than one-third of women (38 percent) are concerned that they should be spending more time on household responsibilities (compared to 29 percent of men), while 41 percent of men think they should be making more money (compared to 35 percent of women). When asked if they feel they should be spending their time differently, nearly one in three (31 percent) women who answered “yes” believes this is due to gender stereotypes.


Nearly a third (29 percent) of women feel that they have less access to capital than their male counterparts, with even more (32 percent) saying they have less access to new business opportunities. However, nearly one in five women (18 percent) thinks they have more access to clients than men do.


“We want to make sure women small business owners have access to all of the resources they need to succeed,” said Anna Colton, small business banker national sales executive for Bank of America. “Bank of America is doing our part to offer support and resources for women in local communities across the country by hiring an additional 200 small business bankers in 2014. We’re also developing relationships with organizations dedicated to the same effort, such as our Elizabeth Street Capital initiative with The Tory Burch Foundation.”


Older owners will retire later and are less likely to have a succession plan


The report also analyzed the retirement and succession plans of small business owners. According to the findings, as this group ages, they are more likely to put off retirement. Seventy-one percent of owners over age 56 plan to retire after age 65, or until they are physically unable to work, while only 31 percent of owners age 19-35, and 44 percent of owners age 36-55 plan to work that long.


Surprisingly, younger small business owners are more likely to have a succession plan in place for when they retire than their older counterparts, as more than half of owners age 19-35 have a succession plan in place, while only 41 percent of those over age 56 know the fate of their business. The largest number of older owners who don’t have a succession plan say this is because they don’t have a successor (46 percent), while nearly one in five (18 percent) say they aren’t ready to give up control of their business.





Optimistic about their businesses, but concerned about economic issues


The report found improved optimism from last year, with revenue expectations rising 17 percent from the spring 2013 Small Business Owner Report. The report also showed:


·         More than half (52 percent) of small business owners are planning to hire more employees in the next year (an increase of 21 percent from spring 2013).

·         Small business owners are more confident in their local economy than they have been since this report first launched in 2012 (51 percent are confident in their local economy, an increase of 13 percent since fall 2012).


However, small business owners are increasingly worried about the effect of national and global issues on small businesses, with concerns about health care costs and the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders rising dramatically. Seventy-four percent of small business owners are concerned about health care costs (an 18 percent increase over the spring 2013 report), and 75 percent are concerned about the effectiveness of the U.S. government (a 17 percent increase from last year). When looking at results by gender, women were more concerned about nearly every economic issue, with men only showing more concern about the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders.


Bank of America’s commitment to small businesses


Bank of America has a nationwide network of banking centers and professionals that are committed to its more than 3 million small business clients and their local communities. The personal connection of small business bankers, client managers and practice solutions specialists contribute to the success of small businesses and their communities by making expertise more accessible. The resources of Bank of America help Small Business owners succeed by offering convenient interactions and comprehensive banking, credit and cash management solutions.


In 2013, Bank of America announced that it extended $10.7 billion in new loans to small businesses – a 24 percent increase over 2012. This has helped enable Bank of America to exceed its national small business lending pledgeto the White House and the U.S. Small Business Administration. In addition, the bank announced that it will add another 200 small business bankers in 2014.


For a complete, in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s small business owners, read the entire spring 2014 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report and for additional insights, download the Small Business Owner Report national 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 between March 4 and March 31, 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 49 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,100 retail banking offices and approximately 16,200 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users and more than 15 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.





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