Bank Of America Survey Finds Family, Friends And Community Core To Small Business Success

Small business owners are getting by with a little help from their friends, family and community, with 83 percent reporting they receive financial, operational and/or emotional assistance from their family, according the fall 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report.

The report, based on a semi-annual survey of 1,000 small business owners across the country, found that 38 percent have received financial gifts or loans from family and/or friends to fund their business, and 53 percent rely on family to serve important roles in their business, whether as advisers, employees, investors or partners. When asked who helps them most with running their business, 35 percent responded "friends and family," exceeded only by "employees" (44 percent).

Support from family, friends and community has proven to be a bright spot in an otherwise challenging business environment. Overall optimism about the national (31 percent) and local economies (37 percent) improving remain in line with lower levels reported in the spring. Revenue expectations, as well as plans to grow and hire, also held steady from spring to fall. Fifty-two percent of entrepreneurs predict revenue growth in 2017; 55 percent plan to grow their business over the next five years; and only 25 percent plan to hire in the year ahead - all among the lowest projections recorded in the survey since 2012.

"We know small business owners are inherent self-starters making significant personal sacrifices on behalf of their businesses, but what's fascinating is this dimension of family, friends and community that they see as core to their success," said Sharon Miller, head of Small Business, Bank of America. "As apprehension about the economy stalls plans for many to grow and hire, small business owners are forging ahead with a foundation of support from loved ones and local networks. It shows why it's so important for us at Bank of America to serve and support business owners, their families and local communities."

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