FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Small businesses in Florida are performing well despite lingering concerns about the U.S. economy, according to the inaugural Florida Small Business Pulse Check, a survey commissioned by TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®. The regional survey polled small business owners in Central and South Florida about business goals, hiring plans, credit and financial needs and the anticipated impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
More than 240 business owners in Central Florida's I-4 corridor (Hillsborough, Polk, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties) and South Florida (Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties) with revenues of $5 million or less participated in the survey. Overall, 81 percent of owners expect to meet or exceed revenue goals in 2014, even though 55 percent indicated the national economy has negatively impacted their business operations in the past year.
"The major metro areas in Central and South Florida have made significant recoveries in the past few years, and our TD Bank Small Business Pulse Check shows that as owners are seeing relief from the recent tight economic conditions, they are still careful," said Ernie Diaz, Regional President for TD Bank in Florida. "We are seeing more interest from small business owners to prime their companies for future expansion."
Small Operations, Measured Growth
Businesses in Florida remain very small; nearly one-third have an annual gross revenue of less than $50,000 and an average of 2.4 employees. Central Florida owners are slightly more optimistic about growth than their South Florida counterparts, with 56 percent saying revenue/sales will increase in 2014, compared with 53 percent in the South. Despite this anticipated growth, the majority of business owners reported that they would keep staffing levels the same, with just 17 percent in South and 14 percent of Central Florida expecting to hire.
When thinking about current and future financial needs, more business owners in South Florida are seeking access to credit compared with business owners in Central Florida, at 24 percent vs. 18 percent, respectively. Throughout the state, small business owners named product/equipment costs (53 percent) and marketing/advertising (38 percent) as their reason for needing credit.
"Access to credit is starting to get better in Florida through government-lender economic partnerships and increased SBA activity, and we are seeing more small business owners looking to reinvest in their companies," Diaz said. "While lenders and business owners remain cautious, there is movement in the market. TD Bank is committed to partnering with small businesses and to be a resource and advisor to help fuel smart growth."
Minimal Impact from ACA Expected
Just 9 percent of businesses in Central Florida and 25 percent in South Florida are required to provide health insurance to employees under the ACA, owners reported, while 20 percent in Central and 37 percent in South Florida currently provide medical benefits. Business owners remain confident that the ACA will have nominal impact on operations, with 70 percent in Central and 65 percent in South Florida saying the law has had no impact at all. When asked about how they will manage costs related to providing new health care coverage under ACA, 53 percent of owners in Florida expect to absorb or cover costs, 26 percent will reduce staff and 20 percent will reduce benefits or bonuses.
Hispanic Business Owners Faring Better
The same study also surveyed 100 Hispanic business owners throughout Florida about their outlook and small business needs. Sixty percent of Hispanic owners said they expect to grow revenue in 2014, and 30 percent will hire additional employees. Hispanic businesses also report being more profitable than the general market, with 22 percent of Hispanic small businesses having gross revenue/sales of more than $500,000, compared with 18 percent of Florida small businesses overall.
Hispanic owners also indicated the ACA will create more of a strain, as 43 percent of their businesses are now required to provide health care insurance. These owners said the top ways to manage ACA-related costs will be to absorb/cover costs (48 percent) and reduce benefits/bonuses (15 percent). In addition, 31 percent expect to increase the price of their products and services to cover the cost of providing medical coverage, a sharp increase over the general survey population of business owners (4 percent).
Hispanic owners also indicated they are primed to invest more heavily in their operations, with nearly one half of owners saying they have credit needs compared with just 21 percent of Florida business owners overall. Of those Hispanic small business owners seeking credit, 70 percent will use it for equipment costs, 38 percent for marketing/advertising and 10 percent for rent or mortgage.
TD Bank operates in approximately 160 locations in Florida, and offers a wide array of commercial and small business banking and loan products including business checking accounts, corporate credit cards, cash management and payment processing, working capital loans, real estate mortgages, bond purchases and equipment leases. Visit www.tdbank.com for more information.
Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted the survey of 241 small business owners, including 100 Hispanic small business owners, for TD Bank July 17-25 in eight Florida counties in the Central and South Florida regions. The Florida Small Business Pulse check has a margin of error of +/- 6.3 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.
About Angus Reid Public Opinion
Angus Reid Public Opinion is the Public Affairs practice of Vision Critical — a global research company. Vision Critical is a leader in the use of the Internet and rich media technology to collect high-quality, in-depth insights for a wide array of clients.
About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 8 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at approximately 1,300 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.tdbank.com. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US.
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol "TD". To learn more, visit www.td.com.
SOURCE TD Bank