Chicago Small Business Owners Focus on Personal, Employee and Financial Wellness

Chicago Small Business Owners Focus on Personal, Employee and Financial Wellness

Bank of America Spring 2013 Small Business Owner Report Examines Health of Small Business Owners, Plans for Unexpected Disruptions and Economic Outlook

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Bank of America today released the spring 2013 Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners throughout the country. The survey, which includes an oversampling of small business owners in Chicago, found that 56 percent of Chicago small business owners feel their personal health has improved as a result of running their own small business.

Almost four in 10 (38 percent) of Chicago small business owners say they exercise more and eat healthier (also 38 percent) as a result of owning a small business. Nearly 63 percent believe they manage the stress associated with running a small business well, while only 12 percent feel they do not.

Employee wellness
Small business owners are also looking for innovative ways to keep their employees happy and healthy. Ninety-one percent of Chicago small business owners take steps to contribute to the happiness of their employees, including flexible hours or work-from-home options (47 percent), discounted services and/or goods (31 percent) and additional amenities like free snacks or massages (29 percent) as well as team building activities (29 percent).

"We're encouraged by the insights found in our most recent report and will continue to provide small business owners with the solutions they need for their business," said Jay Miller, regional sales executive at Bank of America. "Our small business experts are committed to making the financial lives of our clients and their employees better."

Optimism for business and the economy
Chicago small business owners continue to be optimistic about the financial wellness of their business and the economy.

Six out of 10 (62 percent) of Chicago small business owners anticipate their revenue to increase over the next year, with respondents citing marketing their business (59 percent), maximizing day-to-day cash flow (13 percent) and selling more to existing customers (8 percent) as tactics to reach these revenue goals. They are also willing to harness new technology, such as mobile devices (51 percent) and web meetings (60 percent), to connect with customers and suppliers.

In addition, the survey found the majority of Chicago small business owners are planning on sustaining or growing their business over the next 12 months. Specifically, more than one-third (36 percent) plan on hiring more employees (5 percent above the national response), while 49 percent expect their staffing needs will remain consistent.

In the next 12 months, 49 percent of respondents expect their local economy to improve and 52 percent expect the national economy to improve, both higher than the national response. Chicago small business owners cited recovery of consumer spending (77 percent), consumer confidence (76 percent) and the strength of the U.S. dollar (67 percent) and health care benefits/costs (67 percent) as the key factors for their outlook.

Preparedness for the unexpected
The spring 2013 Small Business Owner Report also explored small business owners' preparedness for unexpected events, such as natural disasters, staff reductions, and medical emergencies. Chicago owners feel their business could last on average six months if a significant disruption were to occur before they would need outside financial assistance. While only three out of 10 (32 percent) Chicago small business owners have been affected by a significant disruption, 54 percent have a plan in place to handle a possible incident.

Chicago small business owners seek advice
Small business owners in Chicago are well-capitalized, with 68 percent saying they have enough capital to effectively run their business. Almost three out of 10 (29 percent) say they intend to apply for a loan in 2013, which is higher than the national response (19 percent).

When it comes to financial matters, only 31 percent consider themselves very financially savvy. Chicago's small business owners look to an accountant/bookkeeper (77 percent), other small business owners (57 percent) and a financial advisor (55 percent) for financial advice.

"We've found that small business owners seek the same thing regardless of location: expertise to help with their cash flow needs and grow their business," said Miller. "Whether they're looking for help managing their payroll, capital to grow their business or mobile payment systems to help with customer transactions, we are committed to helping small business owners in Chicago continue to expand their business."

Bank of America has continued to lend actively to small businesses across the U.S. and Illinois. Through March, Bank of America has extended $118.1 million in credit across Illinois to small businesses - this includes $50.4 million in new originations. This has helped enable Bank of America to exceed its national small business lending pledge to the White House and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

For a complete, in-depth look at the insights of the nation's small business owners, please read the entire spring 2013 Small Business Owner Report, and for additional Chicago-based insights, download the Small Business Owner Report Chicago infographic here.

About the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Braun Research conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report survey by phone between March 14 and March 31, 2013, on behalf of Bank of America. Braun contacted a nationally representative 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, 300 small business owners were also surveyed in nine target markets: Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Miami. The margin of error for the national sample is +/- 3.1 percent and the margin of error for the oversampled markets is +/- 5.7 percent, with both reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

The Braun Research survey results conducted on behalf of Bank of America and interpretations in this release are not intended, nor implied, to be a substitute for the professional advice received from a qualified accountant, attorney or financial advisor. Always seek the advice of an accountant, attorney or financial advisor with any questions you may have regarding the decisions you undertake as a result of reviewing the information contained herein. Nothing in this report should be construed as either advice or legal opinion.

© 2013 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved.

Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's largest 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 52 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,400 retail banking offices and approximately 16,300 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in 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 more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYS: BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Visit the Bank of America newsroom for more Bank of America news.

Reporters May Contact:
Diane Wagner, Bank of America, 1.312.992.2370

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Illinois


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