“…Greed, for the lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.”
- Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987)
While we certainly are not living in the go-go, high-flying, greed-is-good ‘80s any longer, there is still a belief in some quarters that many business people remain quite Gekkoish –selfish, materialistic and looking out only for themselves.
In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth, and I am happy to report that the latest Bank of America Small Business Owner Report (SBOR) agrees. Twice a year, my friends at Bank of America survey 1,000 small business owners across the country. The SBOR always contains fascinating insights, and this latest one is no different.
What I love about the Fall 2017 SBOR is how it busts several common myths about small businesses and their owners, including the one that business owners are greedy and selfish.
- Giving money to a charity (nearly 50%)
- Giving employees bonuses (35%)
- Giving employees holiday gifts (33%)
Here’s another busted myth: Or Millennials are the most cynical and jaded of all generations. Maybe not. Guess who the SBOR found to be – by far – the most optimistic of all small business owners? You bet, it’s the Millennials.
According to the SBOR, “When looking across generations, millennial small business owners have a significantly more optimistic outlook compared to Gen-Xers, Baby Boomers and senior entrepreneurs.” Here’s an example of just how enthusiastic they are:
- 81% expect to make more money next year, as opposed to 60% of Gen Xers and only 45% of Boomers
- Almost half of Millennials surveyed expected to hire more employees next year, as opposed to only 25% of Gen Xers and 11% of Boomers
Here is another great small business myth busted by the Small Business Owner Report: it turns out that social media is not all that important to the small business bottom line. If you do any reading about small business—in fact, if you are simply alive and part of the Internet culture today—you well know the importance of social media. But consider this amazing statistic from the survey:
67% of small business owners said that social media had no effect whatsoever on the bottom line of their business. Not only that, but half of those surveyed said that online ratings had no effect on the success of their business.
One last myth buster. Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, right? Apparently not, at least not when it comes to running a business. While men in the survey generally were a tad more optimistic than the women, it was practically statistically insignificant. For instance, almost half of men anticipated revenues to increase over the next year. A little more than half of women said the same thing. Similarly, 16% of men said they planned to hire next year while 16% of women said that, too.
As I said, the Small Business Owner Report always contains a lot of great information, and this one delivered in spades – busting, as it does, myths about small business owners that deserved to be busted.
Related article: Nine Reasons Why Millennials are Important to your Small Business
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss
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