According to the third-annual California Bank & Trust Small Business survey, an overwhelming majority of respondents (86%) felt that their business was moving in the right direction with 87% expecting growth over the next year and 65% expecting growth of 5% or more over the next 12 months. Additionally, 63% of respondents expected growth to increase year-over-year. Interestingly, the Los Angeles region is slightly more bullish than the Bay Area and San Diego, with 43% of small business owners expecting a growth rate of more than 10% over the next 12 months compared to 38% in the Bay Area and 26% in the San Diego region.
“The growth rates echo what we are experiencing with our banking businesses throughout California,” added Nixon. “We are seeing increased demand across the board for commercial and small business lending, cash management, international banking, merchant services, online and mobile banking and wealth management services. This activity underscores an increased need for capital to support the growth plans of small businesses.”Additional highlights from the survey include:
- Areas of Investment. Small businesses are planning to make significant capital investments over the next 12 months. Eighty-four percent of small businesses surveyed are planning to invest more or the same amount in technology over the next 12 months, just over 70% in both online marketing and equipment, and 66% in social media.
- Hiring. More than half of small businesses surveyed plan to hire additional employees in 2014. Ninety-two percent plan to hire 1-10 additional workers with one-quarter or 25% of this group planning to hire 5-10 employees.
- E-Commerce & Online Presence. An online presence continues to be significant for small businesses throughout the State. Ninety-six percent of respondents have a website, just over 60% currently use digital marketing techniques to promote their business and over 52% said an e-commerce online presence was “extremely important” or “very important.” Interestingly, when asked the primary source of sales growth, an overwhelming majority (74%) said traditional sales.
- Social Media. Nearly 60% of respondents maintain a social media presence for their business and 34% are increasing their investment in this communication medium.
- Succession Planning. Almost 90% of those surveyed have a succession plan in place, saying they would pass on their business to a friend or family member (30%), sell business to employees (16%) and sell their business to the highest bidder (43%).
- Financing. Close to 35% of small businesses surveyed are expected to need financing over the next 12 months with 49% saying that bank loans are their primary source of funding.
- Banking. The most common usage of online banking includes accessing account information/resources (78%) and conducting transactions (67%). In addition, “competitive rates,” “customer service” and “payment and term options” were the most important factors when looking for a loan provider, above “industry knowledge,” “regional knowledge” and well beyond “government backing.”
- International Sales. Thirty-eight percent of California small businesses derive sales from international markets with 9% saying international markets accounted for over 25% of their sales.
About California Bank & TrustCalifornia Bank & Trust, a subsidiary of Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ: ZION), is one of the largest banks headquartered in California with over $10 billion in assets and nearly 100 branches statewide. CB&T provides a full array of financial solutions for businesses and individuals, including commercial banking, business banking, small business lending, cash management, international banking and wealth management. The professional bankers at CB&T are backed by major resources, yet maintain local-decision making authority and regional market and industry expertise. They are committed to providing clients with valuable business and economic insights and to connecting them with the beneficial business relationships they need to succeed. Since 2002, CB&T has been rated by the FDIC as “outstanding” for its Community Reinvestment Act activities. CB&T has also consistently won the Greenwich Excellence Awards for Business Banking. To learn more, visit www.calbanktrust.com. Connect with California Bank & Trust on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. About the Survey California Bank & Trust surveyed more than 680 respondents in California online in April 2014. The small businesses were defined for the survey as having $10 million or less in annual revenues and employees of 50 people or less. For the complete findings of the survey, please click here. Media Please Note: For further detail about California Bank & Trust’s survey results, Small Business Banking, to schedule an interview with Tory Nixon, or to request high-resolution photography, please contact Douglas Myers at Landis Communications, Inc.: (415-359-2303; firstname.lastname@example.org).