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It takes a village when it comes to small businesses, according to a new study, finding that small business owners get by with some help from their family, friends and community. Eighty-three of respondents said that when it comes to operational, financial and emotional support their family is there for them.
In the semi-annual 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report 38% said that their family and friends had given them loans or financial gifts to help support their business. While 53% get additional support from their family, whether its acting as an adviser, investor, partner or even working for them. Who helps them the most? For 35% the answer was family and friends, only superseded by employees (44%).
For the study they connected with 1,000 small business owners in the U.S. "We know small business owners are inherent self-starters making significant personal sacrifices on behalf of their businesses, but what's fascinating is this dimension of family, friends and community that they see as core to their success," said Sharon Miller, head of Small Business, Bank of America. "As apprehension about the economy stalls plans for many to grow and hire, small business owners are forging ahead with a foundation of support from loved ones and local networks. It shows why it's so important for us at Bank of America to serve and support business owners, their families and local communities."
Support gets them through but what about the economy
Even with all this support, their optimism about the state of the local (37%) and national (31%) economies is good. What about revenue? Here too small business owners remain steady with 52% believing there will be growth in 2017, while 55% are making plans to grow their business over the next five years and 25% have plans in the works to hire in 2017. Yet these statics are the lowest found in the survey since 2012.
Business can be challenging but for small business owners the bright spot in all of that is all the love and support they get not only from their family but friends and community too. With 62% reporting that people in their community shop at local businesses, and for 47% their community has helped make them a success. How do they give back? For 67% this means supporting charities in their local areas.
New small businesses show an upswing in optimism
While the outlook of small businesses may be a bit dampened, in some respects, new small business owners, those who are under 5 years of age are clearly feeling more optimistic in two areas – the overall growth potential of their business and the economy.
While 52% believe that their local economy will grow in the coming year, 43% of businesses who have been around for 6-10 years say the same. What about businesses running for 10 years or more? Just 31% are feeling optimistic.
When it comes to growth of the national economy they are still optimistic, but a little less so about the coming year (39% vs. 34% vs. 28%). What about revenue? Here too newer small business owners have an upswing in optimism, believing they will see growth here too, with 78% saying just that, while their counterparts are less optimism (65% of growing businesses and 42% of older firms).