Get Started: Business owners upbeat, but not about economy

By JOYCE M. ROSENBERG Markets Associated Press

OPTIMISTIC — ABOUT THEIR OWN FUTURE

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Small business owners are upbeat about their companies' prospects, but their optimism is tempered by concerns about the economy and government regulations.

That's the finding of a survey of 1,000 owners released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife. An index based on the survey registered at 60.6 on a scale of one to 100. The chamber and insurance company plan to release the index quarterly going forward.

The survey, conducted last month, is in line with others released in recent months by banks and small business advocacy groups that showed owners more optimistic about their own prospects than about the local and national economies.

Components of the Chamber of Commerce-MetLife index that reflected owners' optimism included their assessment of their companies' financial health, their hiring intentions, revenue expectations and plans to invest in their businesses. Drags on the index included their view of the national and local economies and the amount of time they spend on complying with regulations.

The survey found that 61 percent of the small business owners rated the health of their companies as good and 38 percent called business very good. However, companies with fewer than five employees were the least upbeat, with only 33 percent rating their companies as very good.

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LEARNING ABOUT SEO

Company owners need to learn SEO, or search engine optimization — the strategy businesses use to make themselves easily found in online searches — if they want to be successful in internet marketing. SCORE, the organization that gives free counseling to small businesses, is sponsoring an online seminar on SEO; it will explain the basics and strategies that owners can use to get their companies to place higher in search results. It will be held Thursday, June 1 at 1 p.m. Eastern time. You can learn more and register at http://bit.ly/2rfYz3N .

You can view past SCORE seminars by visiting the website, www.score.org .

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