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(Graphic: Business Wire)

Bank of America today released its 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 found the majority of small business owners are planning on sustaining or growing their business over the next 12 months, as 31 percent plan on hiring more employees, while 56 percent anticipate their staffing needs will remain consistent.

More than half of the small business owners surveyed anticipate that revenue will increase in 2013, while only seven percent expect revenue to decline. However, this optimism is tempered by their views on the economy. Small business owners are wary about the health of the overall economy. Only one-third (34 percent) are confident that the national economy will improve over the next 12 months, and 38 percent believe their local economy will improve in the same time period.

“Small businesses are critical to the growth of economy,” said Dean Athanasia, Preferred and Small Business executive at Bank of America. “Heading into 2013, small business owners have a high level of confidence in their ability to build and sustain a successful business. We must continue to fuel this confidence by providing the specialized services and support small business owners need to stay focused on thriving in an uncertain economic environment.”

Other insights small business owners shared in the survey include:
  • Small business owners continue to be excited about owning their own business. When asked if they have had second thoughts about their decision to become a small business owner, two-thirds (66 percent) say they have never regretted the decision to go into business.
  • Small business owners see little to no benefit from Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Ninety-one percent of small business owners say that Black Friday has either a minor or no impact on their business’s bottom line, and 81 percent believe Cyber Monday is overhyped and has no significance to their bottom line.
  • Less than one in five (17 percent) respondents view larger businesses solely as their biggest competitors. Seventy-nine percent indicate they have larger businesses as customers, and 31 percent say that larger businesses motivate them to become better small business owners.
  • 70 percent of small business owners believe they have enough access to capital to run their business effectively, and only 16 percent said that they applied for a business loan over the past year. Despite their optimistic views for the coming year, 78 percent do not intend to apply for a business loan in 2013.

Only 29 percent of small business owners describe themselves as “very savvy” regarding financial matters. When seeking advice, they tap into a broad network for help, including accountants/bookkeepers (75 percent), other small businesses (50 percent), financial advisors (48 percent) and friends/family (40 percent).

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