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B of A Survey: Running Small Businesses More Stressful Than Raising Children

May 18, 2012, 08:00 AM
Filed Under: Economy

Bank of America released its inaugural Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country. The survey uncovers a sense of optimism about their own business as they look toward the future 12 months. It also found managing the ongoing success of their business creates more stress for small business owners than any other aspect of their lives.

The survey indicates that maintaining a small business causes small business owners twice as much stress as maintaining a healthy relationship with a spouse or partner, nearly three times as much stress as raising children and more than four times as much as managing their own personal finances. In addition, small business owners regularly forego free time (57 percent), exercise (37 percent) and other important personal priorities in order to manage their business.

“We know how much small business owners give up to make their businesses successful, but despite their sacrifices, they are still optimistic about the future,” said Dean Athanasia, Preferred and Small Business executive at Bank of America. “Therefore, we believe that the financial services industry, the business community and the general public must continue to take steps to support the growth and success of our small business sector.”

Confidence in Local Economy and their Own Decisions Fuel Optimism

Small business owners have more confidence in their local economy than the national economy. When asked about the next 12 months, 42 percent expects their own local economic conditions to improve compared to 35 percent who expects the national economy will improve.

However, reservations about the state of the national economy did not dampen optimism among small business owners regarding their future business prospects. Nearly seven of 10 (69 percent) small business owners view their local economy as very important to their business’s success. Moreover, reflective of the independent character that typifies most small business owners, the majority of respondents (53 percent) stated that their own decisions, rather than the overall health of the economy, are more likely to influence business outcomes. This sentiment was particularly strong among young small business owners, those between the ages of 18 and 34 (66 percent).
Confidence was further evident in two key indicators of performance – hiring and revenue expectations. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of small business owners expect to expand their workforce in the next 12 months, while more than half (56 percent) plan to keep their staffing levels consistent year over year. Among those small businesses planning to hire, owners expect to increase the number of employees by 25 percent on average. Furthermore, 61 percent of all respondents forecast a revenue increase, and 32 percent projects that revenues will remain the same.
Read the full Small Business Owner Report

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