What are small business owners’ hiring plans for 2014, and how do your plans compare to those of your peers? A recent study from Bank of America asked entrepreneurs about their plans for the coming year, and found that many business owners will be hiring new employees. Although nearly half (47 percent) of small business owners say finding qualified employees is difficult, almost one-third (31 percent) report planning to hire in the next 12 months.
Why are small business owners hiring? Good news: More than half (56 percent) are adding employees to handle an increase in business. More than a third (36 percent) want to add new or different skills to their businesses. Twenty-nine percent are hiring because they have job openings to fill, while about one-fourth (26 percent) say they want to ease the burden on their overworked employees. Finally, about two in 10 (22 percent) are proactively responding to changes in the business environment, such as the increase in mobile device usage.
Small business owners are willing to spend to get the employees they need. More than half (54 percent) of small business owners say providing competitive salaries is important to attracting and retaining employees, while 45 percent say they use monetary bonuses for this purpose.
Other strategies entrepreneurs use to attract and retain workers include offering flexible schedules (47 percent) and health and wellness benefits (27 percent). Despite concerns over Obamacare, 56 percent of entrepreneurs say health care reform is not affecting their plans to hire.
Overall, small business owners are feeling well capitalized to carry out their hiring plans in 2014. Nearly three-fourths say they have enough access to capital, while almost nine out of 10 respondents (87 percent) who applied for a loan in the past two years say they got approved for funding. So far, 21 percent of respondents plan to apply for a loan in 2014.
What do these results mean to you?
- If you’re on the fence about hiring, now could be the time. Smart employers are getting out in front of the curve by adding the skills and experience they need now, instead of waiting until changes in the business environment force them to be reactive. By acting quickly while the economy is still uncertain, you could get qualified employees for less money.
- If you’re considering a business loan, why not make your move now? With high rates of approval for business owners in the last few years, those with a well-thought-out plan for using the loan proceeds and good documentation of their financials stand an excellent chance of landing the capital they need.