Dowouona: Business owners optimistic despite recession worries

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Amy Dowuona

While 67% of business owners fear a recession will affect their business in the next year, 77% say their business is equipped to survive a recession, according to the new Spotlight on Women and Bank of America minorities 2022.

In Oklahoma City, low unemployment has been a driver of continued growth, and estimates predict that employment numbers will soon surpass pre-pandemic levels. OKC’s business landscape is varied and diverse, and surveys of women- and minority-owned businesses can offer insight into emerging trends for the local economy.

The recent survey covers several key demographics, including women, blacks, and Hispanic-Latino business owners. Across the spectrum, 66% of business owners expect their revenue to grow over the next 12 months – a seven-year high – with minority-led businesses leading their non-minority counterparts in these positive projections. Hiring plans also hit the highest levels in seven years, with 38% of respondents saying they plan to hire in the next 12 months.

Women business owners have a positive outlook and 47% plan to expand their business in the next year. Many women believe their businesses face unique challenges, with 29% citing a lack of equal access to capital and 60% saying they are self-made, compared to 51% of men. Despite these obstacles, 71% say they feel equipped to weather a recession.

Within the black community, business owners are using their platform to drive social change, and two in five are actively engaging with social causes. From volunteering to monetary commitments, these efforts drove growth, with 61% reporting increased sales and 40% strengthening ties with their community.

Hispanic-Latino business owners are more optimistic than their peers about business prospects. Over the next 12 months, 71% plan to increase their revenue and 59% hope to grow their business. For the Hispanic-Latino community, local involvement is a two-way street, with 60% of owners saying the community plays an active role in supporting their business, and nearly nine in ten noting that they actively give back to their community through donations, volunteerism and other avenues.

Faced with many challenges, such as inflation, supply chain and labor shortages, small business owners continue to play a vital role in our local and national economy. At OKC, a diverse, engaged and active cohort of small business owners continues to make this a great place to work and live, and Bank of America is delighted to support these businesses and the OKC community as a whole.

Amy Dowuona is a small business banker for Bank of America Oklahoma City.

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