By Lisa Leiter
Chicago small-business owners are more concerned about rising health care costs than business owners in other major metropolitan areas.
That’s according to a new survey by Bank of America, which this morning released its inaugural Small Business Owners Report.
More than three-quarters (76 percent) of the 300 local small-business owners surveyed say they are concerned about rising health care costs, a greater percentage than in the other eight markets studied, including New York, Los Angeles and Washington. Nationally, the biggest concern among small-business owners is the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders.
“Small-business owners in Chicago are a pretty savvy group,” says Jay Miller, B of A’s central region small-business banking sales executive. “They are more focused as managers, looking at things that are important to their employees and their potential employees and more focused on the bigger picture than traditional small businesses in other parts of the country.”
Not surprisingly, 7 in 10 of the Chicago business owners surveyed say the local economy is important to the success of their business. That’s in line with the national figure. But they are less sanguine about the local economy: Just 37 percent say they expect it to improve in the next 12 months.
Mr. Miller says the results point to Chicago’s long-held, conservative reputation.
“Chicago business owners used to be able to look further out in the future as part of the budgeting process but when the economic downturn hit a few years ago, they lost that visibility to predict future results. They are looking for that visibility to return, and while they have seen signs of an uptick, they are not seeing people make the same forward order commitments as they did three or four years ago,” he says.
Almost a third (32 percent) of Chicago owners surveyed plan to hire more employees in the year ahead, among the highest of all other cities. Mr. Miller also attributes that to cautiousness, saying owners delayed increasing staff that was cut during the recession until they were more confident about financial results.
But by no means is significant hiring taking place, and as a result, Miller says business loan demand has yet to bounce back significantly.
Forty-one percent of local small-business owners surveyed applied for a loan in the past two years, and three out of four were approved.
Lisa Leiter writes about small business and produces Crain’s monthly “Entrepreneurs in Action” video reports.
Follow her on Twitter: @LisaLeiter.
By Lisa Leiter
The second annual report commissioned by American Express OPEN shows that Illinois and the city of Chicago have some room for improvement when it comes to women-owned firms and their performance.
Illinois has an estimated 366,700 women-owned firms, most of them in the Chicago area, making it the fifth largest state for women-owned businesses. Since 1997, their number has increased by 54 percent, a growth rate that ranks the state 19th nationwide. Illinois’ growth rate matches the overall national rate over the same 15-year period.
When it comes to increasing revenue, though, Illinois’ women-owned firms are close to the bottom of the list. There are only two states with lower revenue growth rates — Maine and Michigan — between 1997 and 2012. In Chicago alone, the numbers are not much better, the city ranked 20 out of the top 25 metropolitan areas in terms of revenue growth of women-owned businesses, with $46.8 million in sales estimated for this year.
“The holy grail for a lot of businesses is not (revenue) growth,” says Alice Bredin, a small business adviser to American Express OPEN. “For others, staying static and having an income is what they want. It’s not just true for women-owned businesses.” Crain’s recently tackled the profit vs. growth debate.
Ms. Bredin says that one of the report’s most eye-opening findings is that women are still stalling out at a certain growth point, when businesses reach between $250,000 and $500,000 in revenue. “Women have trouble hitting the million-dollar mark and that speaks to an area in which women need support in going after money and being encouraged in every way to do that,” she says. “Men just go out and make the case and get the money, and women haven’t had as much luck with that.”
In terms of employment, women-owned firms provide 327,300 jobs in the state, down 16.6 percent since 1997.
The report, based on Census data, also combines the rankings of each state in terms of growth in the number of firms, revenue and employment, a state’s “economic clout” for women-owned firms. Illinois ranked 44th out of 50.
The industries with the highest concentration of women-owned businesses: health care and social assistance. The lowest: construction. The fastest growth in the number of women-owned firms over the past 10 years has been in education services.
In this month’s “Entrepreneurs in Action” video, Lisa Leiter sits down with three notable names in the entrepreneurial community to highlight some of the successes of 2011. Code Academy’s Neal Sales-Griffin, TapMe’s Matt Spiegel and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center’s Kevin Willer weigh in on what’s trending for 2012.
- mobiletxtmarket: the next time you get your phone bill think of unlimited 4G talk, text & data $49.00 a month or FREE http://t.co/Ipcwr1Elp8 May 22, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: Do you have to market your business using Mobile Technology, ABSOLUTLY yes, all will show you why. http://t.co/K0509ZquLA May 20, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: Win a FREE year of @Solavei Mobile Service by #Tweet2getFREE #SolaveiCHICAGO Click 2 win http://t.co/AQEoDytNlR May 14, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: @Dontoverpaymktg if you love nw marketing you'll love this http://t.co/Y23jw3PJPr take a look and connect with me on the page, April 29, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: @avonforwomen @sparkitup add a 2nd direct sales you can sell to both the your avon customers and their spouse http://t.co/TlF0VpXWKv April 29, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: take a look at this video and contact me... 4g unlimited text, talk, data, http://t.co/vVdnKfx0Nh April 24, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: do something about the high cost of mobile service http://t.co/vVdnKfx0Nh April 24, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: #solavei members in IL contact me email@example.com. what to do a social at Buffalo Wild wings,, want to join April 11, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: Lennon & Maisy - Ho Hey (The Lumineers) NASHVILLE: http://t.co/FPnuIydL1F via @youtube April 6, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: @angelaksgiles sorry for the delayed, can NOT keep pace with all that's going on in the mobile world. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org March 31, 2013