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Dallas-Fort Worth small businesses optimistic for 2016, plan hiring

🕐 3 min read

How is 2016 looking? Pretty good for small business owners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to a new study sponsored by Bank of America

According to the fall 2015 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, Dallas-Fort Worth area small businesses are “overwhelmingly optimistic about their businesses over the next 12 months,” with 72 percent expecting an increase in revenue over the next 12 months, an 8 percent increase from last year.

That also means more hiring, with 65 percent planning to add employees, compared with only 46 percent in the fall 2014 survey. That growth will require more capital investment and more than one in four (27 percent) Dallas-Fort Worth area small business owners plan to apply for a loan in 2016. More than half (57 percent) of those applying for a loan say they intend to use the capital to invest in new equipment.

“Dallas/Fort Worth small business owners have demonstrated extraordinary resilience and perseverance these last few years, and they’re excited about growing their business in 2016,” said Jeffrey Coomer, Dallas/Fort Worth small business banker manager at Bank of America. “The local spike in confidence in the economy, revenue growth and hiring will lead to a bright future for the area in the year ahead.”

Dallas/Fort Worth small business owners are also upbeat about the local economy: Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) believe the local Dallas-Fort Worth economy will improve in the next year, an increase of 11 percentage points from a year ago. Almost half (48 percent) also expressed confidence in the national economy (versus 44 percent a year ago). Skepticism remains on the performance of the global economy, as almost one-third (32 percent) expressed confidence, compared to 33 percent one year ago.

When asked about their top concerns, Dallas-Fort Worth small business owners believe the following factors could potentially impact their businesses over the next 12 months:

• The upcoming U.S. presidential election (40 percent).

• The possibility of a minimum wage increase (38 percent).

• The possibility of future interest rate hikes (37 percent).

• Financial crises in countries abroad [i.e., China and Greece] (34 percent).

Workplace trends: Nap pods?

Dallas-Fort Worth small businesses are supporting more flexible work arrangements for employees, with 41 percent offering telecommuting options, compared with 27 percent five years ago. However, Dallas-Fort Worth small businesses trail their counterparts nationally when it comes to those offering telecommuting (47 percent).

Similar to their peers nationwide, small business owners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are beginning to offer nontraditional perks, including office happy hours (21 percent), areas to relax and unwind, such as nap pods or game rooms (15 percent) or the ability to bring pets to work (14 percent).

Cybersecurity concerns

Nearly one in 10 (8 percent) Dallas-Fort Worth small business owners have been the victim of a cybersecurity breach. Although better than the national average of 12 percent, area small business owners are still showing concern: More than half (54 percent) of area small business owners worry about the security of their customers’ proprietary data, and more than half (54 percent) of local small business owners say they are prepared for an attack.

Year-end success

Dallas-Fort Worth small business owners expect to end the year on a high note: 81 percent say it’s likely they will hit their year-end revenue goal, which is 10 percentage points higher than last year. Many small business owners in the area intend to offer year-end perks to their employees, including salary bonuses (54 percent), office closures (49 percent) or a holiday party (45 percent).

For more information:

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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