March 26, 2018

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report

Main Street Monday — Bank of America Survey Finds Hispanic Entrepreneurs Overwhelmingly Optimistic About Future

“Hispanic small business owners expect robust economic growth, higher revenue and increased hiring in 2018,” says Elizabeth Romero, Small Business Central Division executive, Bank of America. “As one of the fastest-growing segments of the small business sector, Hispanic entrepreneurs also anticipate strong long-term growth, and are leveraging digital tools, social media and their community to ensure they continue to flourish in the evolving small business climate.”

According to the survey the majority believe the national economy (60 percent) and their local economies (67 percent) will improve in 2018 – much higher than their non-Hispanic counterparts (46 percent and 48 percent, respectively).

These optimistic sentiments appear to extend well into the future. Seventy-seven percent of Hispanic small business owners report growth plans over the next five years, while only half of non-Hispanic entrepreneurs cite the same. A strong majority (89 percent) also believe the business environment for Hispanic entrepreneurs will strengthen in the next decade.

Hispanic business owners see heritage as a key differentiator

While two-thirds of Hispanic small business owners believe they face unique challenges, many say their heritage provides an advantage with respect to:

  • Business growth (43 percent say their heritage helps, versus 16 percent who say their heritage harms; 41 percent say it has no impact).
  • Customer development and retention (42 percent say it helps, versus 15 percent who say it harms; 43 percent say it has no impact).
  • Networking (39 percent say it helps, versus 23 percent who say it harms; 38 percent say it has no impact).

Hispanic small business owners trailblazing in social media use, reporting a positive impact on their bottom line

According to the survey, Hispanic entrepreneurs lead their non-Hispanic peers by 20 percentage points in the use of digital tools to run their business (93 percent, compared to 73 percent of non-Hispanics). Three-quarters also report they are reliant on social media in running their business, versus just 40 percent of their non-Hispanic counterparts.

In addition, a solid majority of those Hispanic entrepreneurs who are active on social media use it to connect with clients and peers – including to market their business (78 percent, compared to 49 percent of non-Hispanics), network (76 percent, compared to 46 percent of non-Hispanics) and share updates with customers (74 percent, compared to 39 percent of non-Hispanics).

Employee talent and in-person community networks driving success

Hispanic entrepreneurs value their employees as an integral part of business success, and view in-person communities as a significant contributor to business and professional growth.

Eighty-one percent of Hispanic small business owners believe their ability to attract and retain quality employees directly impacts their growth. Additionally, Hispanic entrepreneurs (87 percent) are much more likely than their non-Hispanic counterparts (54 percent) to take specific actions to reward and motivate their employees, including:

  • Forty-one percent provide employees flexible hours or the option to work remotely, compared to 34 percent of non-Hispanic small business owners.
  • Thirty-three percent offer employee perks, compared to 16 percent of non-Hispanic entrepreneurs.
  • Twenty-seven percent have employee reward or bonus programs, compared to 14 percent of non-Hispanic small business owners.

Sixty-four percent of Hispanic entrepreneurs rely primarily on in-person interactions when connecting on matters relevant to their business growth, while 36 percent prefer to connect virtually. Similarly, 59 percent of Hispanic business owners say they receive more support to run their business from those in their physical community, while 41 percent lean more on virtual communities.

For a complete, in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s Hispanic small business owners, read the full 2018 Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight.