Survey: Metro Atlanta small businesses see growth

Things are looking up for many small business owners in metro Atlanta, according to a new Bank of America study.

The semi-annual 2014 Small Business Owner Report shows that most expect to hit their revenue goals for the year and are hiring more workers. But they are still concerned about healthcare costs, corporate tax rates and gas prices.

“We found that small business owners are optimistic about achieving their year-end revenue goals and many will celebrate by offering year-end bonuses and other special holiday perks to their employees,” said Robb Hilson, a small business executive at BOA.

The study by Braun Research questioned 1,000 owners with annual revenue between $100,000 and $4.9 million, and employing between two and 99 workers. In addition, 300 were questioned in targeted cities, including Atlanta.

The report specifically noted that Millennial small business owners are more optimistic about the economy than baby boomers and Gen-Xers. Millennials are most likely to hire additional staff , seek out alternative sources of capital such as peer-to-peer networks or microlenders, and are embracing technology at a faster rate than owners in older age groups.

Here are a few of the highlights specific to metro Atlanta:

• 67 percent of Atlanta respondents said they expect revenue to grow over the next 12 months, up from 53 percent a year ago.

• 49 percent plan to hire staff in the next year, compared to 26 percent last year.

• 50 percent said their local economy will improve over the next year, a 21 percent jump.

• 76 percent of Atlanta respondents give themselves an “A” or “B” grade in tech savviness, while only 67 percent of their national counterparts rated themselves the same.

• 62 percent plan to award holiday salary bonuses to employees (compared 52 percent nationally).

• 50 percent will hold a holiday party for employees (compared to 49 percent nationally).

• 43 percent said they will offer flexible hours or vacation time around the holidays (compared to the 35 percent nationally).

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