Well over half of small businesses expect their revenue to increase over the next 12 months. This compares to fall of 2020, when just 34% of small business owners were confident of increasing revenue. This positive statistic about the outlook of small businesses after the unprecedented disruption of 2020 and early 2021, was unveiled by the Bank of America.
Bank of American Small Business Owner Report 2021
Bank of America’s 2021 Small Business Report was based on a survey of nearly 1,000 small business owners. The survey was conducted in March 2021. It reveals that economic confidence and business outlook is witnessing a rebound. 56% of participants say they are confident the local economy will improve, which is a significant rise from 39% last fall. Half of respondents anticipate the national economy will expand, up from 37% in fall 2020.
Small Business Planning on Hiring in Forthcoming Months
Such is the confidence among small business that 21% plan to hire in coming months, a 7% rise from fall 2020. These heartening figures confirm just how much the small business community is progressing as the nation continues to lift lockdown restrictions. The research also shows what small businesses are doing to help aid recovery. 62% say they have been building a digital strategy, and 30% have been accepting forms of cashless payments. The Bank of America’s report provides important insight into strategies small businesses are adapting to pave the way for a rebound.
The Backbone of the US Economy
Talking about the resilience of small business and the moves they are taking to secure recovery, Sharon Miller, head of Small Business at the Bank of America commented:
“Small business owners have showed time and again during the pandemic that they are the resilient backbone of our economy and of local communities throughout the country. From providing essential services to revamping operating models, I am inspired by the dedication and passion of entrepreneurs across the country and encouraged to see their renewed optimism about the future of their businesses.”
“Almost 80% of those surveyed say a widely available vaccine and/or herd immunity in their community will play a pivotal role in bringing business back to pre-pandemic levels,” Miller continued.
The research also looked at the leading concerns small businesses are facing. The political environment and health care costs are among the top concerns, with 71% and 64% reporting such concerns, respectively. These figures are consistent with those reported in the fall of 2020. Worries that have witnessed a drop in prevalence since last fall are those about the pandemic. 55% of those surveyed in the last Bank of America report highlighted such concerns, down from 75% last fall. Fears about consumer spending has also dropped 75% last fall to 55%.
Steps to Aid Recovery
The report also explores the steps small business owners are taking to help aid recovery. It found that 62% of business owners have adopted new digital tools and strategies to optimize operations in response to the pandemic. Such digital initiatives include 47% of small businesses interacting with customers virtually, and 36% interacting with employees virtually. 30% have started accepting digital payments, and 26% have enhanced their social media presence. While the report presents a positive picture of small businesses gathering momentum after months of hardship, it confirms the value of taking savvy steps to gain momentum and boost revenue, such as taking operations online.