Get Started: Business sales are upbeat sign about economy

Markets Associated Press

BUSINESS SALES BOOM

Continue Reading Below

Sales of small businesses rose more than 8 percent last year, a sign of increasing confidence in the economy. That's the finding of a report by BizBuySell.com, an online marketplace for small companies.

BizBuySell counted 7,844 closed transactions reported by brokers across the country, up from 7,240 in 2015. Last year's total number of sales was the highest since BizBuySell.com began tracking sales in 2007.

The number of businesses that sold in the fourth quarter rose nearly 18 percent, evidence that buyers were more upbeat following the election. Barring any changes in regulations that are negative for small business, the sales trend should continue into 2017, BizBuySell.com president Bob House said.

The report showed other signs of improving small business health. The median revenue of businesses that were sold rose 5 percent to $472,798 from $449,462.

SMALL BUSINESS LEGISLATION

Continue Reading Below

Two bills aimed at helping small businesses passed the House last week. One aims to make it easier for small businesses to solicit money from angel investors, who buy stakes in new or small companies. The bill now goes to the Senate.

The second bill, among other things, requires federal agencies to find ways to reduce the burdens that new regulations would have on small businesses. The bill also goes to the Senate.

It's too early to predict what changes may be made during the legislative process or whether these bills might become law. Thousands of bills are introduced in each session of Congress, and most never become law. Often bills are attached to legislation authorizing spending for government agencies like the Pentagon.

SMALL BUSINESS CHALLENGES

Getting customers is a far bigger challenge for small businesses than the economy is, according to a survey released Monday by Facebook.

Seventy-four percent of U.S. small business owners in the December survey cited attracting customers as one of their most important challenges. Related to that, 56 percent said increasing revenue and 46 percent said maintaining their profitability are among their top challenges.

Just a quarter of the 428 owners called uncertainty over economic conditions one of their big challenges.

All the survey participants have Facebook pages for their companies. The World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development partnered with Facebook on the survey.

STARTING A BUSINESS?

People interested in starting a business can learn about the process in an online seminar sponsored by SCORE, the organization that gives free counseling to small businesses. It will be held Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Learn more and register at http://bit.ly/2jsYQiw .

_____

Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joyce-m-rosenberg