According to the fall 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 entrepreneurs are optimistic their 2017 year-end revenue will surpass 2016 revenue. Confidence in the economy also surged as nearly half of business owners expect their local economy and the national economy to improve in the year ahead (up 11 percentage points and 15 percentage points, respectively, from fall 2016).
The bank said the positive outlook on the economy bodes well for growth, as 92% of small business owners 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 report, however, also found 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 only 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,” said Sharon Miller, head of small business, Bank of America. “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.”