To reach its conclusions, the bank studied survey responses from 1,000 participants across the U.S. Roughly 67% of entrepreneurs expect to record higher earnings before next October despite feeling less confident in the country’s financial future than last year. Only 34% of respondents believed the national economy would improve over the next 12 months, compared to 44% in 2022. Perspectives among women and minority small business owners varied on several points. Almost one-third (31%) of women entrepreneurs believed that they would never have equal access to credit, compared to 35% of Black entrepreneurs and 20% of both Hispanic-Latino entrepreneurs and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, the number of women who believed credit access is currently equal increased by 3% since last year’s survey.
Inflation topped the list of worries for women and minority small business owners, with 78% labeling it as their primary concern, followed by unstable politics (67%), rising interest rates (65%), high prices (63%) and the possibility of a recession (60%). In spite of these credible threats to their earnings, entrepreneurs across all demographics held favorable expectations for their companies. About 63% of women respondents anticipated revenue growth in the next 12 months, compared to 91% of Hispanic-Latino respondents and 86% of Black respondents. AAPI small business owners gave more conservative expectations for the future than in the previous year, with the number of respondents expecting to see higher earnings before next October declining by 8%.
Overall, sentiments among women and minority small business owners have held steady in 2023 despite the ongoing economic turmoil caused by the COVID pandemic and international conflict. Should their revenue predictions prove true in the coming months, entrepreneurs should begin to feel even more confident in their long-term success. However, to truly boost optimism in the sector before next October, nationwide trends such as rising inflation and interest rates must reverse course or at least show signs of doing so in the near future. Efforts must also be made to end discriminatory lending practices and improve access to capital for underprivileged communities in the U.S. Taking care of the issues affecting entrepreneurs will also help the nation’s economy since small businesses provide crucial jobs for their local markets.