ATLANTA – Sixty percent of Atlanta small business owners plan to grow their business over the next five years, according to the spring 2014 Small Business Owner Report, released today by Bank of America. The report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners in Atlanta and around the country, also found that the majority of respondents in this area (58 percent) expect their revenues to increase over the next year.

“So many of Atlanta’s small business owners are looking to expand, which will be pivotal to the economic health of the area, given small businesses employ a substantial amount of the workforce,” said Felicia Lewis, Atlanta Small Business Banking manager at Bank of America. “Bank of America remains committed to providing resources and relationships for all small business owners and will continue to develop new and responsible ways to offer credit solutions to help small business owners grow.”

Small business owners regret lack of family time, but want children in their business

The report also examined the family dynamics of small business owners and found the biggest regret of nearly one-third (31 percent) of Atlanta small business owners is not spending enough time with their loved ones. Thirty-nine percent of small business owners in Atlanta say they spend less time with their family as a result of running their business, compared to 45 percent nationally.

Thirty-nine percent of Atlanta small business owners say their children will always have a spot in their business, 11 percent higher than the national average. Yet, only 12 percent of them currently employ their children (compared to 22 percent nationally).

Men more likely to sacrifice relationships, while women sacrifice health

Across the board, nearly three-quarters of Atlanta small business owners feel they have made significant sacrifices in their personal lives for their business. The majority of respondents (67 percent) say they have given up time for themselves.

But when it comes to family, men and women have notable differences. Nearly 40 percent of men have sacrificed a relationship with a spouse or partner, compared to just 13 percent of women. Over half (52 percent) of men have given up time with children versus just 26 percent of women.

Also notable, significantly more women (44 percent) say they sacrifice caring for their health due to running their small business, contrary to 23 percent of men.

Small business owners delaying their retirement

The report also analyzed the retirement and succession plans of small business owners. Similar to national findings, more than half of Atlanta small business owners say they plan on retiring after age 65 or until they can no longer physically work. Of those retiring after 65, about half (51 percent) say they anticipate later retirement because they enjoy running their business and do not want to stop working. However, 36 percent say they need to continue working to maintain a source of income.

Of concern, 55 percent of small business owners in Atlanta do not have a succession plan for their small business, compared to 44 percent nationally.

Gaining customers, health care costs weigh heavily on small business owners’ minds

Similar to small business owners nationally, those in Atlanta feel their biggest pain points are getting and keeping customers (26 percent), as well as unexpected costs and charges (20 percent).

Other economic factors that draw concern include:

  • The effectiveness of U.S. government leaders (72 percent).
  • Health care costs (70 percent).
  • The strength of the dollar (68 percent).
  • Consumer spending (64 percent).

 Lending activity to small businesses strong

Bank of America has a nationwide network of banking centers and professionals that are committed to its more than 3 million small business clients and their local communities. In 2013, Bank of America extended $327.6 million in new loans to small businesses in Georgia – a 17 percent increase over 2012. 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 an in-depth look at the attributes of the nation’s small business owners, read the full spring 2014 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, and for additional Atlanta-based insights, download the Small Business Owner Report Atlanta infographic here.

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


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