(BPT) - There's no doubt that small businesses are a driving force in the American economy. And because they feel the shifts in the economy so acutely, the insight of small business owners can provide a real-time picture of what's going well and where potential problems lie. The semi-annual Bank of America Small Business Owner Report explores the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country; revealing messages of both optimism and caution.
Hopes are high among small business owners for a profitable 2013 - more than half of those surveyed said they anticipate their revenue will increase in the next year. And most small business owners also feel they are currently in a good position in regards to capital, with 70 percent saying they have what they need to run their businesses effectively.
In addition to revenue, small business owners were optimistic about hiring and staffing in 2013. In a challenging job market, 31 percent of small business owners say they plan to hire within the next year, which is good news for those seeking employment. A mere 3 percent said they had plans to reduce staff numbers.
The optimism revealed in those numbers isn't the whole story. Pragmatic concerns about the outlook of the economy are still on the minds of many business owners. More than half said they have concerns about the effectiveness of government leaders, commodities prices, health care costs, the recovery of consumer spending and the strength of the U.S. dollar.
Despite those concerns, small business owners are not considering changing career paths. On the contrary, regardless of the ups and downs of the economy and the challenges inherent to the business world, two-thirds of small business owners say they don't regret their decision to go into business.
When it comes to keeping their own fiscal houses in order, many small business owners admit they look for outside guidance - and only 29 percent ranked themselves as 'very savvy' when it comes to managing their finances. To make those critical decisions and plans, they rely on accountants, other small business owners, bankers and financial advisors.
'Small business owners are looking for expertise from their bank as well as other sources so they can make the right decisions for their business heading into 2013,' says Robb Hilson, small business executive at Bank of America.
Not only are small businesses part of the backbone of America's economy, they're an important indicator of its current state. The optimistic, yet practical outlook many small business owners have indicates that though the economy continues to improve, there's still work to do. To learn more about the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report and ways that small businesses can meet the challenges of the coming year, visit about.bankofamerica.com.