More Small Business Owners in Metro New York Are Still Recovering From the Great Recession Than Any Other Market

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The FINANCIAL — More small business owners in metro New York (68 percent) are still recovering from the recession than any other market, according to the spring 2015 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners in metro New York and around the country.

This is more than the national average (64 percent) and all other markets, including Miami (61 percent), Los Angeles (60 percent) and Chicago (59 percent).

The report reveals that metro New York entrepreneurs are working hard to combat the impact of the recession. Almost nine out of 10 metro local small business owners (86 percent) work more than 40 hours a week. They also make a lot of financial sacrifices for their businesses:

Nearly three-fourths (71 percent) would delay or reduce their own compensation if forced to make ends meet in their business (67 percent nationally).

Forty-three percent carried business costs on a personal credit card (35 percent nationally).

Thirty-seven percent have delayed or forgone compensation for up to two weeks (32 percent nationally).

“Small business owners in the metro New York area are resilient individuals who have made a lot of personal sacrifices for the sake of their businesses, customers and employees,” said Michael Angelone, metro New York small business banker manager at Bank of America. “Our small business bankers are committed to working with these hardworking entrepreneurs to support them and to help them succeed.”

In spite of lingering concerns, metro New York small business owners are still optimistic about their business in the years ahead; nearly two-thirds (64 percent) plan to grow their business in the next five years. In addition, 59 percent anticipate revenue growth in the coming year.

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Nearly half of metro New York entrepreneurs (44 percent) say they expect to hire more employees this year, but many (48 percent) say it’s difficult to find qualified staff. Metro New York entrepreneurs say the top challenges in finding qualified staff are attributed to a skills gap (61 percent) and high salary demands (48 percent).

Metro New York small business owners show appreciation for customers, embrace technology

The majority of metro New York small business owners (60 percent) say that establishing relationships with customers and clients is the primary driver of repeat business, and they find many ways to show their appreciation, including:

Monetary rewards, such as discounts or free upgrades (33 percent).
Social media promotions (28 percent).
Personalized gifts (28 percent).
Free products or services for their first visit (28 percent).

The report also found that 70 percent of metro New York small business owners have become more technologically advanced to meet customer demands. Forty percent say that social media and online review sites have provided informative feedback that has prompted a change in their businesses, and 36 percent experienced an uptick in customers.

Local small business owners remain concerned about health care costs, but less so about other issues

The spring 2015 Small Business Owner Report found that metro New York small business owners are increasingly concerned about the impact of health care costs compared to findings in the fall 2014 Small Business Owner Report (73 percent versus 65 percent six months ago). However, they are significantly less worried about many other issues than they were six months ago, including the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders (63 percent versus 81 percent), the strength of the U.S. dollar (50 percent versus 69 percent), interest rates (50 percent versus 62 percent) and the global stock market (42 percent versus 52 percent).

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When it comes to government policies, metro New York small business owners say the greatest potential for a positive impact on their business could come from expanded tax breaks for automatically enrolling employees into retirement savings accounts (33 percent) and incentives to keep jobs on U.S. soil (29 percent). Conversely, the policies that would have the most negative impact on their business would be required health care plans for employees (36 percent) and mandated sick leave for employees (32 percent).

Local entrepreneurs feel supported by their local community, but less so by policymakers

Metro New York small business owners overwhelmingly support other small businesses in the community by shopping small. Sixty-nine percent of metro New York small business owners gave themselves an “A” or “B” grade for shopping at other local small businesses. They also rate their local community high in shopping small, as 63 percent handed out an “A” or “B” grade when assessing how well metro New York residents frequent small businesses.

While many small business owners feel supported by their local community, only 28 percent of metro New York entrepreneurs believe that policymakers appreciate small business owners.


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