Small businesses optimistic about future growth

Robb Hilson, Small Business Executive at Bank of America

Robb Hilson, Small Business Executive at Bank of America

Small business owners in the US are feeling buoyant about the national economy, with many feeling positive about health of the economy and their potential for economic growth, according to the latest Bank of America/CFI Group Small Business Forecast.

Small business owners rated the health of their local economy 20% higher than they did in August 2014. In addition, they are 14% more optimistic about their potential for economic growth over the next six months. Overall, the small business owners’ satisfaction/optimism index moved from a 69 to a 70, on a scale of 1-100.

“Entrepreneurs are feeling the effects of an improving economy and they believe 2015 will be a strong year for small businesses,” said Robb Hilson, Small Business Executive at Bank of America. “Economic optimism is running high, and we’re excited to see how small business owners’ enthusiasm and increased confidence will shape their plans for long-term business growth.”

When asked to assess the health of their small businesses, 37% of respondents said small businesses are doing ‘well’ or ‘very well’, up from 27% in August 2014. On the flip side, just 15% feel the health of their small business is ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, compared to 21% who shared those responses six months ago. Similar to previous findings though, entrepreneurs aren’t making immediate changes to their business just yet and are still taking a relatively cautious approach to growing in terms of hiring and investment.

The financial environment is also primed to support small business growth, with small business owners rating their access to credit up 7% from six months ago. Small business owners also reported a better cash flow position for their business, with research indicating a 4% improvement from the previous study.

Millennials tend to be the most positive about the future of their business, scoring 80 out of 100 in the Optimism category, with Gen-Xers scoring 73 and boomers 67. They are also the most confident about the state of the economy (58 out of 100), while boomers are more negative (49). This was similar to findings in the fall 2014 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report. In addition, millennials are also most likely to plan to grow their business (65 out of 100), followed closely by Gen-Xers (61).