Innovation and optimism are on the rise among small business owners, according to two recent surveys of entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs say they envision a virtual, more automated future, with one in 10 saying they could see their business employing a robot within the next 20 years, according to the 2017 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, in which business owners overwhelmingly cited innovation as a workplace priority and contributor to the success of their business.
Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed by Bank of America reported they have taken some form of innovative action in the last two years.
Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed by Bank of America reported they have taken some form of innovative action in the last two years with the most common action (46 percent) an upgrade in business technology, and the second most cited innovation (26 percent) the creation of a new product or service.
The survey said 53 percent of respondents consider themselves innovative business leaders although those in the technology sector are more likely to call themselves “industry leading” or “ahead of the curve.”
A majority of entrepreneurs (52 percent) are confident the national economy will improve over the next 12 months — up 21 percentage points from six months ago. Small business owners also are more confident in their local economy, with 50 percent confident in their local economy, up from 37 percent in the fall of 2016.
Bank of America surveyed 1,000 small business owners online between Feb. 21 and March 19 — including entrepreneurs in Dallas-Fort Worth — to create the semiannual report. Entrepreneurs in Dallas-Fort Worth were most likely in the survey to say they planned to grow their businesses over the next five years, Bank of America said.
SMALL BUSINESS BAROMETER
Another report, the Allstate/USA Today Small Business Barometer, a survey of small business owners combined with federal data to measure the nation’s entrepreneurial climate, also showed rising optimism.
Businesses owned by or that employ veterans did better than the norm on a number of metrics.
The barometer looks at the nation’s 25 largest markets, including Dallas, and rates eight indicators: innovation, technology, capital, commodities, labor, customers, optimism, and regulation.
The innovation barometer for Dallas rose to 75 from 71 last year, with both scores considered “strong.” Miami (82) and Cleveland (80) had the highest innovation readings in the most recent survey, both in the “excellent” category.
Optimism in Dallas rose to 96, up from 80 a year ago, according to the report. Nationally, optimism on the Allstate/USA Today barometer rose to 92, considered “excellent,” up from a “strong” reading of 79 in the year-ago survey.
Businesses owned by or that employ veterans did better than the norm on a number of metrics, including past business performance, optimism for the future, hiring, recent growth, and increased sales, according to the Allstate/USA Today barometer.
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