Dowoouna: Business owners remain optimistic despite recession fears

Amy Doverner

According to the new Bank of America 2022 Women and Minority Business Owners Spotlight, while 67% of business owners are concerned that a recession will affect their business in the next year, 77% of business owners say their businesses will be able to survive a recession down.

In Oklahoma City, where low unemployment has been a factor in continued growth, it is estimated that employment will soon surpass pre-pandemic levels. OKC’s business environment is diverse, and survey insights about women and minority businesses can help us understand emerging trends in the local economy.

The recent survey covers several key demographics, including women, black and Hispanic Latino business owners. Across the spectrum, 66% of business owners expect their revenue to increase over the next 12 months — the highest level in seven years — and minority-led companies outperform non-minorities in these positive forecasts Ethnic peers. Hiring plans are also at their highest level in seven years, with 38% of respondents saying they expect to hire in the next 12 months.

The outlook for female business owners is positive, with 47% planning to expand their business in the next year. Many women feel their businesses face unique challenges, with 29% saying they lack equal access to capital and 60% saying they are self-taught, compared to 51% of men. Despite these hurdles, 71% said they felt capable of weathering a recession.

In black communities, business owners are using their platforms to drive social change, with two in five business owners actively working on social causes. Whether through volunteering or monetary commitments, these efforts have driven growth, with 61% reporting increased sales and 40% deepening their ties to the community.

Hispanic Latino business owners are more optimistic about their business prospects than their peers. In the next 12 months, 71% expect to increase their income and 59% expect to expand their business. For the Hispanic Latino community, local engagement is a two-way street, with 60% of owners saying the community plays an active role in supporting their business, and nearly 9 in 10 saying they actively give back through donations, volunteerism community and other avenues.

In the face of numerous challenges including inflation, supply chains and labor shortages, small business owners continue to play a vital role in our local and national economy. At OKC, a diverse, dedicated and active group of small business owners continues to make it a great place to work and live, and Bank of America is excited to support these businesses and the OKC community as a whole.

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

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