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Monday, March 13, 2000
 
Facts about U.S. and Washington small businesses

  • Small-business owners aren't satisfied to be only on the buying end of e-commerce. Thirty percent will be selling their products and services online by the end of this year, according to an unscientific survey by Ceridian Small Business Solutions of Minneapolis.

  • What's the most popular chain among franchisees? Not surprisingly, it's McDonald's, according to the International Franchise Association. The Golden Arches are followed by 7-Eleven and Subway Sandwiches. The top franchise industries include fast-food, retail, service and automotive businesses.

  • Nearly 119,000 people across the country last year attended small-business workshops conducted by the Service Corps of Retired Executives. In addition, about 266,000 people attended SCORE counseling sessions in 1999, according to the group's annual report.

  • The number of people starting small businesses has plummeted amid the greatest economic boom in history, at least in part because few people are willing to give up the security of their jobs. The number of businesses started or purchased fell 31 percent to 3.1 million in 1998, the most recent year available, from 4.5 million in 1995, the National Federation of Independent Business reports.

  • Most customers won't tell a business they're dissatisfied, they'll just quietly go elsewhere, says J. David Harper Jr., president of The Harper Financial Group in Atlanta. "Stop them," he writes in Be Your Own Boss magazine. "Set aside time to get their input. Schedule a one-on-one meeting or focus group. Contact your customers by phone or send them a questionnaire."

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