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Small business owners optimistic for 2023, national survey shows

by Andrew Moreau | November 6, 2022 at 4:50 a.m.

It's no surprise that minority and women business owners learn to be survivalists -- opportunities for loans, capital investments and business development generally don't lean in their favor.

They've learned to overcome barriers -- the latest challenges introduced by the pandemic brought new roadblocks such as labor shortages and supply-chain snarls.

Inflation is playing havoc with pricing and a potential recession looms for the small business owners. They remain resilient, however, and ready to charge ahead undaunted.

Overall, 66% of small business operators are forecasting revenue increases next year, according to Bank of America's national 2022 Women and Minority Business Owner spotlight. The report includes operational challenges and small business owners' thoughts on the nation's business and economic outlook.

Small business owners are optimistic about the next 12 months, reporting that revenue forecasts going forward are at a seven-year high and projections for expansions have increased significantly since the spring.

Three of every four entrepreneurs report their businesses are well equipped to survive a recession while 63% of women business owners are optimistic as well and say they expect revenue to increase over the next 12 months.

"As we look ahead to 2023, small business owners are optimistic about the future, even with ongoing economic challenges and uncertainty," Sharon Miller, president of small business and specialty lending at Bank of America, said of the findings. "The data underscores what we've seen time and time again: the continued resilience of small business owners whose success remains foundational to our local and national economies."

Just more than half of the entrepreneurs have plans to expand their businesses, an increase from 37% this spring.

Inflation was the primary concern among small business operators -- at 75% -- followed by commodities pricing at 69% and concerns over the threat of recession that worried 67%.

With mid-year elections looming on Tuesday, 66% of business owners were uneasy about the nation's political environment and 65% were keeping a watchful eye on interest rates.

An overwhelming number of entrepreneurs -- 80% -- remain concerned about key supply chain delays that popped up during the pandemic. Likewise, labor-shortage problems also contribute to owners' unease with 38% planning to hire in the next year, another seven-year high.

Women business operators are especially anxious about access to capital to support and grow their businesses, with 29% reporting barriers to raising funds is a top issue they face on an ongoing basis and adding they do not think they will ever have equal access to capital.

Similarly, women business owners say they face more challenges in business than their male counterparts, and 59% feel they have to work harder for the same success as men.

Minority business owners feel they face more challenges accessing capital for their businesses and 46% of Black and Hispanic-Latino business owners report they've had to overcome funding barriers.

The foundation of Bank of America's report is a survey of more than 1,300 small business owners across the nation, assessing their plans for 2023 and including breakdowns related to gender and ethnicity.

TECH STARS INVITED

How would you like to win $2,500 to spark your business?

The opportunity is available next weekend when entrepreneurs can learn how to build and support a startup in just 54 hours.

Techstars Startup Weekend, offered by the Little Rock Venture Center and Startup Junkie of Fayetteville, offers opportunities over three days to meet mentors, investors, co-founders and sponsors who will show entrepreneurs how to get more done faster.

Startup Weekend will feature entrepreneurs in health, agriculture, education and community technology. The collaborative sessions allow any participant to pitch a business idea. Winners in each category will be awarded $2,500.

Sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday and end at 9:30 p.m. Sunday. More details and registration information is available at venturecenter.co.

ROCK DENTAL ENTERS FLORIDA

Rock Dental Brands of Little Rock has entered the Florida market for the first time through an affiliation with Coastline Orthodontics of Jacksonville, Fla. The dental practice management group now oversees 102 dental offices in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida.

Rock Dental Brands has more than doubled its business and affiliated with 37 additional practices since 2019, with projections to continue expanding. The organization announced in September that it secured $45 million in credit commitments from Chicago-based Twin Brook Capital to help fund more growth.

"Rock Dental Brands will continue to invest in well-established and successful practices like Coastline Orthodontics," Chief Executive Officer Kristi Krum said. "We have no plans of slowing down."

Coastline Orthodontics was founded in 1985 and has two locations in Jacksonville, in addition to clinics in Fernandina Beach and Macclenny, Fla.

PUT GOOGLE TO WORK

The Arkansas office of the Small Business Administration is partnering with two local organizations to offer business owners an opportunity to learn how Google can help them expand operations and their customer base.

A webinar at 10 a.m. Thursday will teach small business owners how to set goals for their website, connect Google Analytics to a website and understand how to monitor and analyze reports generated through the Google offering.

The session, also sponsored by the Arkansas Small Business Technology and Development Center and the Better Business Bureau, will offer tips on using Google to advertise and amplify and track business sales and success during the holiday season. The webinar is designed for businesses unfamiliar with the Google Ads service.

Registration details are available at asbtdc.org.

Column ideas or recommendations? Thoughts or musings that need pursuing? Contact me at amoreau@adgnewsroom.com or at 501-378-3567.

Print Headline: Small business owners optimistic for 2023, national survey shows

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