Small business owners expressed optimism about their business growth over next five years, although a majority are still recovering from “Great Recession” of 2008, notes Bank of America study. But not all is rosy, the study is titled  64 Percent of Small Business Owners Are Still Recovering From the ‘Great Recession’. However, going forward business are more bullish.

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Exudes optimism over next 5 years

According to the Bank of America report, small business owners continue to have a positive outlook on growth and the economy. Of note, Millennials are more positive about the direction of the national economy than Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers:

Millennials are confident

Over the next five years, two out of three small business owners plan to grow their business despite experiencing struggles with the recent recession. Nearly two-thirds of small business owners anticipate their revenue to increase in the next 12 months, compared with 68% a year ago. However, Baby Boomer small business owners are less optimistic about revenue growth than their younger counterparts:

Confidence over business growth

However, seven years after the “Great Recession”, only 1 in 5 small business owners indicate they have completely recovered. Moreover, longer-tenured companies are more likely to still be feeling the impact of the recession (32%) than shorter-tenured companies (16%):

Working towards recovery

Digging deeper in to the top concerns of small business owners, the report points out that healthcare costs and the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders are their biggest concerns:

Top concerns of small business owners

Small business owners seek more lending support

The Bank of America survey highlights the tendency of small business owners to be self-sacrificing by putting the needs of employees above their own.

Self-sacrificing small business owners

Some of the financial sacrifices include accumulating personal debt or delaying their own compensation versus laying off employees or delaying employee compensation:

Financial sacrifices

The report also highlights that small business owners struggle to find qualified staff as they deal with a lack of necessary skills and unrealistic expectations:

Difficult to find candidates

Despite their struggle to find talented employees, the Bank of America survey points out that employee appreciation programs are widespread and offered by nearly all small business owners.

Employee appreciation programs

Highlighting customer focus, over half of small business owners believe that strong customer relationships are a primary driver of repeat business. Sensing the importance of customer focus, owners adopt various techniques including expanding product offerings and becoming more environmentally friendly:

Adapting to customer demands

The report also notes that small business owners feel supported by residents in their local communities. When determining where to set up shop, small business owners look to local communities where they already live and work:

Factors impacting business location

Small business owners are also seeking more support through lending than they did a year ago. As they struggle to find qualified staff, small business owners’ number one priority for using loan capital is training and developing existing staff:

Purpose of loan utilization Small Business Owners

Many business owners are also concerned about government policies negatively impacting their businesses. As regards government policies that would have the greatest positive impact on their business, small business owners cited expanded tax breaks for automatically enrolling employees into retirement savings accounts and incentives to keep jobs on U.S. soil.

Expectations from government policies