FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida small businesses are on track to meet or exceed their revenue goals for 2015, according to the second annual Florida Small Business Pulse Check, a regionally focused survey by TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®, that includes questions to better understand the small business outlook in South and Central Florida. TD Bank asked business owners about their revenue goals, hiring expectations, financing needs, impact of tourism, business optimism and the influence of the U.S. economy on their business.
Nearly half of respondents (46 percent) are feeling optimistic and think it is going to be a good year for their business, with 16 percent saying it will be their best year yet. Revenue projections also are looking strong for Florida's small businesses, with 52 percent on track to meet their revenue goals in 2015, and 29 percent expecting to exceed their goals, compared with 28 percent who reported such expectations in 2014.
Contributing to this optimistic outlook is an easing of negative impact from the national economy on the state's small businesses. While last year 55 percent of respondents said the state of the U.S. economy had a negative impact on their business, just 39 percent of Florida business owners feel the same way in 2015 — highlighting a significant improvement year-over-year.
Building on this year's positive business outlook trend, nearly half of Florida business owners (49 percent) plan to grow their revenue/sales in the next 12 months, and indicated their highest priority for 2015 is expanding their product/service offerings (37 percent). Despite these growth plans, the majority of survey respondents do not intend to increase hiring, with 76 percent stating they are planning to keep staffing levels the same.
"Small businesses in Central and South Florida no longer feel constrained by the national economy, and are once again pulling ahead in performance," said Ernie Diaz, Regional President of Florida, TD Bank. "It's encouraging to see this strong optimism among small business owners."
Tourism Not a Strong Factor for State's Small Businesses
Tourism is one of Florida's core industries, but for small business owners, it is a very small piece of the pie.
- More than three-quarters of respondents (77 percent) say their businesses do not rely on tourism or seasonal residents, and 55 percent report that their earnings/revenue remains steady throughout the year.
- Of the 23 percent of businesses that do rely on tourism or seasonal residents, 65 percent are owned by women, compared with 35 percent owned by men.
- Of those businesses with seasonal or inconsistent revenue, 33 percent of businesses reported winter (December-February) as their highest revenue season, while summer (June-August) was the slimmest season, with just 17 percent taking in the majority of their business revenue during those months.
- Business owners also have different business management tactics during seasons of lower revenue, with 46 percent stretching out savings, 22 percent reducing or hiring staff as needed, 6 percent relying on a line of credit, and 35 percent without particular revenue management methods.
Optimism Fluctuates County-by-County
While Florida small business owners are feeling more positive about their business prospects overall, there is a difference in outlook between Central and South Florida.
- More than half of Central Florida owners (53 percent) are feeling optimistic, compared with only 40 percent of South Florida respondents.
- Business owners in Central Florida are more likely to exceed their revenue goals than their counterparts down South, at 31 percent vs. 28 percent of respondents, respectively.
- Along with this growth, 15 percent of Central Florida small businesses report they intend to add employees, compared with 11 percent in South Florida.
Credit Needs Comparable Across Florida
When it comes to current and future financial decisions, businesses in both Central and South Florida show a similar need to access loans or credit. This need has grown year-over-year in Central Florida, increasing from 18 percent in 2014 to 23 percent in 2015, with South Florida remaining fairly flat at 23 percent compared with 24 percent in 2014.
Businesses do differ on how they plan to use these financial products. In Central Florida, business owners indicated they would apply for a loan/line of credit for office supplies or materials (34 percent) and business travel (31 percent), while South Florida owners said their highest credit needs include product/equipment costs (35 percent) and marketing/advertising (24 percent).
Additionally, the majority of Florida business owners (60 percent) will consider their primary financial institutions if their business has additional credit or financing needs.
"It's encouraging that more businesses are reporting plans to expand, and that they will seek financing to fuel this growth," Diaz said. "We encourage small business owners to have a conversation with their bankers about the best types of financing for their needs and how to best use credit."
TD Bank operates in more than 150 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.
Vision Critical conducted the survey of 250 small business owners for TD Bank in July 2015 across eight counties in Central Florida (Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Polk, Hillsborough, Pinellas counties) and South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach counties). Included were small businesses of $5 million or less in revenue. The Florida Small Business Pulse check has a margin of error of +/- 6.2 percent.
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.
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