Small Business

Miami small businesses plan to invest in tech but pull back on hiring, report shows

Miami area small business owners are more confident about their business performance than their counterparts in other markets, according to findings of the spring 2017 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report released Tuesday.

About a third of the business owners surveyed said their revenues exceeded expectations in 2016, vs. 18 percent nationwide. And more than two-thirds of area entrepreneurs expect their revenue to increase over the next 12 months, the report showed.

This optimism is driving action for investments, as 23 percent of Miami area business owners plan to apply for a loan in 2017, the highest of any market surveyed. Nearly half plan to use the funding to invest in new technology, 30 percentage points higher than the national average of 18 percent.

Yet, despite the fact that area entrepreneurs are planning to boost technology and apply for loans, only about 37 percent plan to hire for the year ahead. That figure has dropped 10 percentage points from just six months earlier.

“Miami area entrepreneurs have had a strong year and are feeling confident for the future of their businesses,” said Odalis Martinez, Miami small business banker manager at Bank of America. “We look forward to supporting them for what’s on the horizon as they gear up for growth and borrowing plans.”

Here are some other findings of the report, based on a semi-annual study of small business owners in the Greater Miami area and across the country:

▪ Miami small business owners’ concerns over many economic factors have declined significantly since fall 2016, including for healthcare, interest rates, strength of the U.S. dollar and consumer spending.

▪ While healthcare costs are a top concern for Miami area entrepreneurs, they are significantly more likely to believe that their business’ healthcare pricing, quality and availability have improved over the past five years, compared to their national counterparts and other markets surveyed.

▪ While three-quarters of Miami area entrepreneurs say work interferes with their home life, Miami small business owners are most likely to say they have achieved a work-life balance (87 percent) compared to any other market surveyed. Despite this, stress is still present for Miami business owners, as two out of five report having had a nightmare about their business failing.

▪ When asked to describe an average work week, Miami entrepreneurs say “enjoyable” (49 percent), “interesting” (42 percent) and “fulfilling” (39 percent). Many, however, also acknowledge the stressful side of being a business owner, with 41 percent reporting their job is “demanding,” 34 percent say “stressful” and 20 percent find it “exhausting.”

▪ While 45 percent of Miami entrepreneurs work more than 40 hours a week, area business owners are the most likely of any market surveyed to say they are satisfied with the number of hours they work (89 percent). Nearly all Miami small business owners value the flexibility of their work location (94 percent) and schedule (94 percent). More than three-quarters are also satisfied with the amount of time their work schedule allows them to spend with family and close friends.

More than 1,000 small businesses nationwide, with revenues between $100,000 and $5 million and 2 to 99 employees, were surveyed for this report. An additional 300 small businesses were interviewed in Miami and nine other cities, and 150 additional small businesses in tech and medical fields were interviewed for the report. Find the national report here.

READ MORE: Hispanic small business owners expect to grow revenues, hire more in 2017, study shows

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg