The Independent Business Scene: What's Out There

According to current data from both government and business sources, there are an estimated ten million businesses in the United States today. The majority of these are small to mid-sized businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) uses number of employees to determine size classification. "Very Small" is any business with fewer than 20 employees; "Small" has 20 to 100; "Medium" has 100 to 500; and "Large" has 500-plus. The percentage of large business to all others is less than one percent. In fact, looking at these figures only within the 50 major metro areas--the main areas for the larger business--large business accounts for less than one half of one percent!

The importance to the marketplace of small to mid-sized business swells even further when the sale of a business is the focus. Using percentages provided by the business brokerage industry, the SBA and other government agencies, it can be estimated that twenty percent of the total 10 million-plus U.S. businesses sell each year. In round figures, that percentage translates to 200,000 businesses sold yearly. We are still dealing with statistics that are based on the largest metro areas; therefore, the percentages and figures are distorted, nationwide, in favor of the larger business. Nevertheless, the breakdown of the sale of business by size still shows where the real activity lies . . .

Business size Number sold per year
Very small 178,000
Small 18,000
Medium 3,000
Large 1,000

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