Get Started: Business sales, family leave survey

OPTIMISTIC BUYERS AND SELLERS

The market for buying and selling businesses is getting stronger, according to a survey of business owners and prospective buyers.

The survey by BizBuySell, a website where businesses are bought and sold, found that 65 percent of sellers and 80 percent of buyers are optimistic that they can reach a deal at an acceptable price in today's market. And 70 percent of sellers and 78 percent of buyers said they expect to close a deal quickly, within a year of starting the process.

But many sellers don't expect to walk away when they've sealed a deal. Nearly half of buyers expect to get financing for a purchase from a seller. And 75 percent want the former owner to stay on for at least six months after a sale is closed.

The survey also found that restaurants were the most popular industry for prospective buyers. And those who wanted to own a franchise were more interested in buying an existing franchise rather than a new one.

FAMILY LEAVE

Many small businesses give their workers family medical leave, even though they might not be required to by law, according to a survey by the advocacy group Small Business Majority.

More than two-thirds of the 507 owners surveyed said they have a formal, informal or case-by-case policy to give employees leave to care for ill family members. Nearly 40 percent give workers full or partial pay during leave, and another 26 percent offer pay depending on the employee.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, businesses with 50 or more employees must grant employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year to care for ill family members. But the vast majority of small businesses have fewer than 50 workers, which means many owners who grant leave are doing so voluntarily. Eighty percent of the owners in the survey said they support the family leave act.

Two-thirds of the owners also said they provide parental leave, or time off to care for a newborn. Of those owners, 46 percent offer full or partial pay, and 21 percent offer pay depending on the employee.

SMALL BUSINESS RETIREMENT PLANS

The House Small Business Committee looks at the challenges that small employers face in offering retirement plans for their workers. The committee plans to take testimony from experts on retirement plans and a small business owner.

The hearing, scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, will be streamed online at http://smallbusiness.house.gov/legislation/live.htm .

ONLINE SEMINARS

Small businesses that need information about the Affordable Care Act can get it from online seminars sponsored this month by the Small Business Administration and Small Business Majority. The seminars, being held at 2 p.m. EDT each Thursday during October, will offer basic information about the act. The information will generally be the same each week. You can get more information about the seminars and register for them at www.sba.gov/healthcare

How to give your business a successful start will be the topic of an online seminar given by SCORE, the organization that provides free counseling to small companies. The seminar will be held at noon Eastern time on Tuesday, Oct. 8. You can more information and register at http://tinyurl.com/mxdr9nq .

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