Bank of America today 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 survey, which includes an oversampling of small business owners across the Chicago market, found the majority of Chicago small business owners are planning on sustaining or growing their business over the next 12 months. Specifically, nearly one-third (32 percent) plan on hiring more employees, while 52 percent expect their staffing needs will remain consistent.
In addition, more than half (52 percent) of Chicago’s small business owners surveyed anticipate that revenue will increase in 2013, while 13 percent expect revenue to decline. However, this optimism is tempered by their views on the economy, with only 33 percent of Chicago small business owners confident that their local economy will improve over the next 12 months. Respondents were even less confident in the national (33 percent) and global economies (23 percent) improving in that same period.
The significance of Chicago’s local economy
The study also shows that the local economy has the greatest impact on Chicago’s small business owners. Three in five (60 percent) reported that the majority of their customers come from the local community, compared to 31 percent who indicated that their customers come primarily from outside the local community but within the U.S. Only two percent indicated that the majority of their customers come from outside the U.S.Additionally, 79 percent of Chicago’s small business owners believe that the local economy plays a significant role in their business. Comparatively, 68 percent believe the national economy plays a significant role, and only 31 percent believe the global economy is significant to their business. “The success of small business owners in Chicago has an outsized positive impact on our city. As Chicago’s economy continues to grow, we need to help small business owners capitalize on the economic vitality they have helped to create,” said Jay Miller, Central region small business banking sales executive at Bank of America. “Bank of America remains fully committed to supporting small business owners with their financial needs so that they have more time and more confidence to focus on the things that matter most for their business.”