OREANDA-NEWS. Miami small business owners’ confidence remains high this spring, according to the spring 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, which found that 71 percent believe their revenue will increase over the next year – higher than any market surveyed and 20 percentage points higher than the national average.

The report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners in Miami and around the country, also found that their outlook on business growth and hiring plans is healthy, with 71 percent planning to grow their business over the next five years. Hiring projections were stronger than any other market surveyed, with 47 percent of Miami entrepreneurs planning to hire new employees in 2016.

“Unlike their counterparts in the rest of the country who expressed election year uncertainty, Miami small business owners are very optimistic about their business prospects,” said Odalis Martinez, Miami small business banker manager at Bank of America. “Miami entrepreneurs are confident in the future ? growth and hiring plans remain steady, and expectations for revenue increases are strong.”

The survey found that Miami small business owners remain increasingly positive about the prospects for their economy improving over the next year, and the most optimistic of any city surveyed:

Top concerns impacting Miami small business owners

Despite the optimism about prospects for growth, the election year is creating some uncertainty for Miami small business owners. Seventy-nine percent believe the presidential election will impact their business “a lot” or “somewhat,” 12 percentage points higher than the national average. When asked specifically about top economic concerns for the next year, Miami-area small business owners were most concerned about the “effectiveness of U.S. government leaders” (74 percent) – in line with previous election years

Closely following, other top concerns for Miami entrepreneurs were health care costs (73 percent) and the strength of the U.S. dollar (63 percent). Despite these concerns, Miami small business owners’ anxiety about several other economic factors has declined or remained flat since spring 2015. Concern over corporate tax rates has dropped by 10 percentage points, while credit availability, commodities prices and consumer spending have also declined.  

Miami entrepreneurs plan to hire, invest in new equipment with loan funding

Miami entrepreneurs continue to seek capital for their business, as 29 percent have applied for a loan in the last two years and 24 percent report they intend to seek funding in 2016; both findings are significantly higher than the national average. Of those who intend to apply for a loan, Miami small business owners are most likely to use the funding to hire more employees (49 percent), invest in new equipment (42 percent), and invest in new technology (24 percent).

Skill and work experience top hiring factors; education less so

Forty percent report they care most about skill level when hiring a candidate, followed by fit with company culture (30 percent) and previous work experience (28 percent). Only 1 percent of Miami entrepreneurs say education level is the most important factor when hiring.

When Miami entrepreneurs ranked qualities they find most important for their employees to exhibit, 60 percent said they most value candidates who have experience. Fifty-seven percent value candidates who are trustworthy and hardworking (53 percent). Logical thinking (36 percent), sales ability (22 percent) and knowledge of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) (10 percent) were valued less.  

When asked which generation of workers they prefer to hire, Miami small business owners favor millennials (44 percent) ? 18 percentage points higher than their national counterparts and the highest of any market surveyed. Forty-two percent prefer to hire Generation X, and 1 percent would prefer to hire baby boomers ? the lowest of any of the nine markets surveyed.

Health care costs and minimum wage increase remain important issues

Health care continues to loom prominently as an issue of importance for small business owners in Miami, with 71 percent experiencing rising costs year over year. In addition, 44 percent of Miami small business owners report an increase in health care costs of up to 20 percent since last year, and 26 percent say costs went up by more than 20 percent. Forty-seven percent offer health insurance to their employees ? 7 percentage points higher than the national average.

As Miami considers a potential minimum wage increase from its current $7.93 per hour, 66 percent of Miami small business owners believe an increase would have a positive impact on the economy, compared with 47 percent of their national counterparts. Despite this encouraging outlook, 75 percent say they will need to take financial measures to compensate for an increase in the minimum wage. Thirty-nine percent of Miami-area business owners would increase the price of products and services in order to compensate, while others would make some full-time employees part-time (18 percent) or reduce operational spending (15 percent).

For a complete, in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s small business owners, read the entire spring 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, and for additional insights, download the Small Business Owner Report national infographic.

About the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications conducted the spring 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report survey online between March 17 and April 19, 2016 using a pre-recruited online sample of small business owners. GfK contacted a national sample of 1,000 small business owners in the United States with annual revenue between $100,000 and $4,999,999 and employing between 2 and 99 employees. In addition, a total of 300 small business owners were also surveyed in nine target markets: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The final results were weighted to national benchmark standards for size, revenue, and region. Previous waves of the Small Business Owner Report survey were conducted by telephone. Best efforts were made to replicate processes in sample, weighting, and method.

Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 47 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,700 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs, and award-winning online banking with approximately 33 million active users and approximately 20 million mobile users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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