Despite headwinds from supply chains, inflation and labor shortages, small business owners are forecasting a strong year ahead, according to the 2022 Women & Minority Business Owner Spotlight, a new report from Bank of America exploring the outlook of entrepreneurs nationwide.
The report is based on a survey of more than 1,300 small business owners across the country, with additional insights into gender and ethnicity, and found that revenue expectations rose to a seven-year high, and expansion plans increased significantly since the spring, according to a press release.
Over the next 12 months:
– 66% of business owners expect revenue to increase—a seven-year high
– 52% plan to expand their business—up from 37% this spring
– 83% plan to obtain funding for their business—up from 70% this spring
As the possibility of a recession looms, 77% of entrepreneurs say their business is equipped to survive a recession.
“As we look ahead to 2023, small business owners are optimistic about the future, even with ongoing economic challenges and uncertainty,” said Sharon Miller, president, Small Business, head of specialty Banking and Lending at Bank of America.
“The data underscores what we’ve seen time and time again: the continued resilience of small business owners whose success remains foundational to our local and national economies.”
Inflation and commodities prices are top concerns
When asked about their primary concerns, small business owners identified inflation (75%) and commodities prices (69%), followed by a potential recession (67%), the U.S. political environment (66%) and interest rates (65%). A strong majority (88%) say inflation and supply chain issues (80%) are continuing to impact their operations, leading to price increases.
Hiring plans are up significantly with wages on the rise to attract talent
Amid labor shortages, business owners reported that their hiring plans are reaching the highest levels in seven years, with 38% planning to hire in the next 12 months. The majority (61%) of business owners say labor shortages are currently impacting their business, up from 41% in the spring. Among those business owners impacted:
– 49% are working more hours
– 31% are raising wages to attract competitive talent
– 30% are having difficulty filling job openings
The report also includes specific insights on the perspectives of women, Black, Hispanic-Latino and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) business owners, examining key areas including access to capital, business outlook, social change and community.
Women, minority entrepreneurs face barriers accessing capital
More than a quarter (29%) of women business owners surveyed said they do not think they will ever have equal access to capital, while 40% of Black business owners, 27% of Hispanic-Latino business owners and 22% of AAPI business owners said the same.
Minority business owners reported more challenges accessing capital for their businesses than the national average, with 46% of Black and Hispanic-Latino business owners and 55% of AAPI business owners reporting they’ve personally faced challenges.
Black business owners were most likely to say they are concerned about credit availability—57% of Black business owners surveyed expressed concern vs. 45% overall.
Women business owners project growth but are less optimistic than men
Women business owners have an overall positive business outlook, while confidence in their business and the broader economic landscape is more tempered than their male peers. Over the next 12 months:
– 63% expect revenue to increase vs. 68% of male business owners
– 47% plan to expand their business vs. 57% of male business owners
– 38% are confident that the national economy will improve vs. 50% of male business owners
Overall, women business owners say they face more challenges in business than their male counterparts, with the majority (59%) saying they have to work harder for the same success as men.
Black business owners advocate for social change through their businesses
Fifty-five percent of Black business owners say racial justice and equity are important causes for their business, compared to 30% of non-Black business owners. Eighty-seven percent of Black business owners say they are committed to driving social change through their business, and two in five have active pledges or commitments toward social causes through their business, including volunteering, making operational changes and monetary commitments. As a result of these efforts:
– 61% say they have increased sales
– 40% say they deepened ties to their community
– 34% say they have increased their customer base
In addition, Black business owners are more optimistic than their non-Black counterparts about their business outlook. Over the next 12 months:
– 72% expect revenue to increase vs. 63% of non-Black business owners
– 65% plan to expand their business vs. 50% of non-Black business owners
Hispanic-Latino business owners prioritize building generational wealth
Keeping the future of their families in mind, a strong majority (86%) of Hispanic-Latino business owners are committed to building generational wealth through their business—compared to 77% of non-Hispanic-Latino business owners. Community involvement is a priority, too: 88% of Hispanic-Latino business owners say they actively give back to their communities, taking actions such as donating products/services, volunteering and sponsoring local events and teams.
Additionally, Hispanic-Latino business owners are more optimistic than their non-Hispanic-Latino peers about their business outlook. Over the next 12 months:
– 71% expect revenue to increase vs. 65% of non-Hispanic-Latino business owners
– 59% plan to expand their business vs. 52% of non-Hispanic-Latino business owners
AAPI business owners rely on family to drive business
AAPI business owners report strong support systems, as 80% say their family supports their business. Providing for the next generation is also top of mind, with 82% of AAPI business owners aiming to build generational wealth through their business. Additionally, more than one in three (37%) AAPI business owners said they received guidance on starting their business from family members.
When asked about their business outlook for the coming 12 months, 62% of AAPI business owners said they expect their revenues to increase, while 60% said they plan to expand their business (vs. 52% of non-AAPI business owners).
For an in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s small business owners, please read the full Bank of America 2022 Women & Minority Business Owner Spotlight.
Bank of America 2022 Women & Minority Business Owner Spotlight
Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the Bank of America 2022 Women & Minority Business Owner Spotlight survey online between July 26 and Aug. 17, 2022 using a pre-recruited online sample of small business owners. Ipsos contacted a national sample of 1,308 small business owners in the United States with annual revenue between $100,000 and $4,999,999 and employing between two and 99 employees, as well as 357 interviews of Hispanic small business owners, 369 interviews of Black small business owners and 150 interviews of Asian American small business owners. The final results for the national and demographic segments were weighted to national benchmark standards for size, revenue and region, while the final results for the Hispanic segment were weighted for size, revenue, region, and whether the respondents were primarily English-speaking or Spanish-speaking.