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Expert breaks down how American small businesses feel right now

Aarthi Swaminathan
Finance Writer

President Trump’s tax cuts have left small business owners across America feeling very good, according to a new survey by Bank of AmericaSharon Miller, the head of small business at Bank of America, joined Yahoo Finance’s Final Round to detail the findings.

The survey found that 63% of small business owners are ‘more optimistic’ about their business outlook. This level of optimism is at its highest level since 2015, and the last time it was this high was in 2012.

Miller said that the enthusiasm was driven by the sentiment that “the less they’re paying in taxes, the more they can invest into their business — either buy equipment, hire more employees, expand — whatever it is they want to do.”

63% of small business owners are optimistic about their business outlook.

There are 29.6 million American small businesses, and those employ about half of the U.S. private workforce. Small businesses also produced 46% of private non-farm GDP in 2008, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The Bank of America survey echoes other surveys on small business sentiment. Earlier this month, in a NFIB Small Business Economic Trends survey, NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan said that “first time in 35 years where the fewest number of small business owners have told us that taxes are their number one business problem. They’ve been so optimistic that they feel confident enough to raise wages and invest in their business, which grows the economy.”

‘Everyone has it in the palm of their hand’

Small businesses are also optimistic about technology: Small parts makers are looking forward to more business, and the services industry is offering more digital payments services.

“Business owners are using their smartphone — 90% of them … Everyone has it in the palm of their hand,” Miller said. “So, yes, technology — wearable devices … refrigerators now can tell you what you need to get at the grocery store to add to your list. So all these smart devices… [are] good for corporations. But it also trickles down into the small business where they’ve got to build these components and parts. And it helps our economy grow.”

23% of small business owners are threatened by technology — even if 77% of them are dependent on it.

Asked about blockchain and cryptocurrencies, Miller said that small businesses are currently focused on integrating digital payments more generally.

“We see that in the consumer trends that everyone’s going online,” Miller explained. “They’re mobile — they’re paying bills that way. But business owners are, as well. And in fact, half of them believe that over the next five years that it will be only digital payment. So cash coming out of the system.”

23% of small business owners do not know what blockchain is, but 13% believe it will be relevant to their business.

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