CHERRY HILL, N.J., April 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Massachusetts small business owners are optimistic about their business prospects in 2015, according to the Small Business Pulse Check sponsored by TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®, a regionally-focused survey that explores the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses. TD Bank asked 250 business owners across the state of Massachusetts about their revenue goals, 2015 outlook, financing needs and the impact of this year's unseasonably cold winter on their business and productivity.
The Small Business Pulse Check reveals that Massachusetts business owners are feeling positive about their 2014 business performance. According to the survey, 82 percent of business owners met or exceeded their 2014 revenue goals. From a regional vantage, 83 percent of eastern Massachusetts business owners said they met or exceeded last year's revenue goals, compared with 76 percent in western Massachusetts.
The U.S. economy is variably impacting business performance throughout the state. Nearly twice as many small business owners in eastern Massachusetts than in the western part of the state said they are being negatively impacted by the economy (32 percent vs. 17 percent). Despite this economic variability, 60 percent of all Massachusetts small business owners said they are expecting sales/revenue to increase in 2015.
"Business owners are feeling better about business prospects overall, despite some lingering challenges," said Mark Crandall, TD Bank Regional President, Southern New England. "Last year was a good year for many Massachusetts small businesses, and it's encouraging many of them are projecting solid growth for 2015 as well."
What's in store for 2015?
This year's harsh winter caused many small businesses to get off to a rough start in the New Year. Forty-three percent indicated revenue was negatively impacted by this year's winter weather, and 35 percent of small business owners noted that the winter weather negatively affected employee productivity. Boston businesses were especially affected, with 45 percent of city business owners reporting a negative impact on revenue, and 40 percent experiencing lower productivity.
Despite this setback, owners project overall revenue and sales growth throughout the year. Seventy-five percent of Massachusetts small business owners surveyed said they are optimistic and excited about their business opportunities in 2015, and nearly 30 percent believe 2015 might be their best year to date.
In order to achieve these goals, 31 percent of small business owners surveyed statewide said expanding their product or service offerings is this year's top priority, followed by streamlining costs (19 percent) and hiring and retaining employees (15 percent).
New technology is becoming increasingly important to operations, with one-half of businesses leveraging some form of smart payment technology, which implements user profiles for fast and secure checkout. This use is notably high among western Massachusetts business owners (61 percent compared with 50 percent in eastern Massachusetts). Of those business owners using smart payment technology in Massachusetts, 84 percent noted that it is very or extremely important to their daily business operations.
With growth top of mind, 55 percent of statewide business owners have applied or are planning to apply for a loan or line of credit in the next 12 months. Of those business owners, 55 percent said they would dedicate the funds to working capital, followed by cash flow (39 percent) and office supplies/equipment (35 percent). In western Massachusetts, 59 percent of owners said they would pursue lines of credit.
"As Massachusetts business owners grow more confident, they begin to consider how additional funds can help fuel their growth," Crandall said. "TD Bank is committed to helping business owners optimize growth in 2015 with affordable and safe financing options, whether they want to expand, make additional hires, buy new equipment or simply prime the business for future growth."
TD Economics, the independent research arm of TD, produced a report with a more detailed look at the economic recovery and prospects of Massachusetts. To access the report, visit TD Economics.
The study was conducted among a representative group of small business owners from Massachusetts in March 2015. For purposes of this study, western Massachusetts is defined as Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Worcester counties and eastern Massachusetts is defined as Middlesex, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties. The study included small businesses reporting $5 million or less in revenue and 100 or fewer employees. The sample size of 250 has a margin of error of +/- 6.2%. The survey was conducted by Vision Critical.
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.
About Vision Critical
Vision Critical provides a cloud-based customer intelligence platform that helps companies build engaged, secure communities of customers they can use continuously, across the enterprise, for ongoing, real-time feedback and insight.
SOURCE TD Bank