Bank of America Small Business Owner Report – Spring 2013: Some Highlights
Small business owners matter to local economy – they always be. With that being said, learning what they think about their business, including their insight on the current state of their business and their plan for the future, will give us some clues on small business trends.
Twice a year, Bank of America surveys small business owners to learn about their concerns, aspirations and perspectives across the country. Their latest Small Business Owner Report has just been released May 2013, and I find interesting findings that I would like to highlight in this post.
Without further adieu, here are some interesting findings from the report:
Small business owners work longer hours, but enjoying better work-life balance
Small business owners don’t mind working long hours: 72% of respondents work more than 40 hours a week. However, unlike the general assumptions, longer working hours doesn’t mean more stress. In fact, small business owners report that they have better work-life balance: 53% report that their personal health has improved since they run a small business. Furthermore, 35% report that they exercise more and 29% say that they eat healthier.
Happy employer = happy employee
Small business owners’ brings their well-being to the workplace; they launch initiatives to help employees to also enjoy a better health and wellness. The study says it all: 85% of small business owners launch innovative ways to keep their employees happy, while 31 percent offer amenities – e.g. healthy snacks, massage, etc. – in the workplace.
Not stopping there, they are also promoting work-life balance by updating their working hours policy: 45 percent of small business owners offer flexible work time options to their employees.
Tradeoff: Limited health benefits for employees
The above policies do come with one caveat: According to the study, only one-third of small biz owners offer health benefits to their employees. As most small businesses operate under tight budget, they have limited budget to offer health benefits for their employees, including the pressure of new healthcare laws; they instead offer perks, such as employee wellness program, free healthy snacks on office, and so on.
Need more attention: Business continuity planning
Small business owners need to think more seriously about the continuity of their business. A whopping 43 percent surveyed small business owners don’t have business continuity plan.
With natural disasters bound to strike anytime (e.g. the Hurricane Sandy) small businesses need to protect their asset better by planning for disaster recovery better and devising a plan for business continuity. Technologies like cloud computing and online storage can help small business owners greatly.
The majority doesn’t plan to hire more employees in the next 12 months
Despite the economic improvement, small business owners take things cautiously, and it’s expressed in their hiring policy. According to the study, only one in five plan to hire employee next year.
What’s interesting is the fact that every generation has strikingly different hiring habit, as well as economic outlook. Baby Boomer and Generation X business owners have different outlook from the younger, more optimistic Millenial Generation (Generation Y) business owners.
Check these figures out: 52 percent of Gen Y small business owners plan to hire in the next 12 months. Furthermore, 70 percent of Gen Y expect the revenue to increase, while 63 percent believe that local and national economy to improve next year. Those percentages are considerably higher than Baby Boomer and Gen X.
Small businesses continue to be the driving factor of national economy. It’s only making sense when laws and regulations support small business growths.
Nevertheless, small biz owners thrive and will continue to thrive in the midst of tough economic situation, not mentioning the unfavorable policies.
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