Dowuona: Business owners remain optimistic despite recession fears

Amy Dovner

According to the new Bank of America 2022 Women and Minority Business Owners Spotlight Report, while 67% of business owners are concerned that a recession will affect their business in the next year, 77% say their business is well positioned to weather it.

In Oklahoma City, low unemployment has been a factor in continued growth, and employment is estimated to soon surpass pre-pandemic levels. Oklahoma City’s business environment is diverse, and survey insights about women and minority businesses can provide insight into emerging trends in the local economy.

The recent survey covered several key demographics, including female, black and Hispanic Latino business owners. Across the spectrum, 66% of business owners expect their revenues to grow in the next 12 months — the highest level in seven years — and minority-led companies lead non-minority-led companies in these positive forecasts ethnic peers. Hiring plans are also at a seven-year high, with 38% of respondents saying they expect to hire within the next 12 months.

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

In the Black community, 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 an increase in sales and 40% deepening ties to their community.

Hispanic Latino business owners are more optimistic about 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-Latinx community, local engagement is a two-way street, with 60% of property owners saying the community plays an active role in supporting their business and nearly nine in 10 property owners saying they actively give back to the community through donations, volunteering and other ways.

Small business owners continue to play a vital role in our local and national economy in the face of inflation, supply chain and labor shortages among many challenges. Oklahoma City’s diverse, dedicated and active population 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 entire Oklahoma City community.

Amy Dowuona is a Small Business Banker at Bank of America Oklahoma City.

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