Sales of Small Businesses Jump 68 Percent in 2013

uptranding graphA recent survey of business transfer specialists shows that 2013 was a banner year for small business sales, due primarily to the leading edge of the Baby Boomer generation who reached retirement age and sold their businesses.  The survey was conducted by, the world’s largest online business-for-sale marketplace.

The jump for 2013 was a 68 percent increase in the number of businesses sold versus 2012.  Of those businesses that were sold in 2013, about half came from Baby Boomer business owners who were retiring.

The same BizBuySell survey shows that over 80 percent of survey respondents believe even more businesses will be sold in 2014, including a number of firms currently owned by people from the Baby Boomer generation.  Survey respondents attributed the spike in small business transactions basically to improving economic conditions.

“This year was certainly a big step forward for the business transaction market,” says Curtis Kroeker, group general manager at “After several years of gradual progress, there was a sharp spike in business transactions at the end of 2012 and it carried over throughout 2013. BizBuySell’s transaction numbers increased every quarter of the year.

“Overall, transition specialists recognize the uncertainty of the economy, but still appear very confident that small business transactions will continue to rise in 2014,” Kroeker adds. “As more buyers and sellers, including Baby Boomers, continue to flood the market, all the pieces point to another strong year in the business-for-sale community.”

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William Bruce is an Accredited Business Broker and Appraiser assisting buyers and sellers of privately held businesses in the transfer of ownership.  His practice includes consulting services nationally on issues of business valuation and transfer.  He may be reached at (251) 990-5934 or by email at  His business brokerage website may be viewed at  He participated in this survey.
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About William Bruce

President, American Business Brokers Association / Business Broker and Accredited Business Intermediary assisting business buyers and sellers with the transfer of ownership since 1986 / Author: How to Buy a Business.
This entry was posted in Business Valuation & Appraisal, Buying or Selling a Business and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sales of Small Businesses Jump 68 Percent in 2013

  1. Thanks for posting, Will. A few thoughts:
    “Boomers” may be selling, but my sense is that many YOUNGER “Boomers” are the people who are buying. Downsized corporate professionals often look to business ownership options when they discover that the job market for them “ain’t what it used to be”, particularly in terms of employers willing to pay the compensation they’re accustomed to getting. They also seem ready to “be their own boss”, and to get out of the corporate rat-race to earn an income and build equity on their own terms.

    Another interesting aside to this is these younger Boomers have recent college-graduate kids; many of whom are struggling to find employment in their chosen field (by education). I read a recent NYT article where many of these Boomers are going into business – with their kids. The rationale seems to be that the parents have some business savvy, experience, and capital; while the college grad kids have the energy, ideas, and modern skill sets. So, they’re seeing complimentary partnership opportunities.

    Many Boomers I speak with are interested in “recession-proof” (i.e. stable markets of consumer or business needs) business ownership options. High growth industries are also popular requests from small business owners-to-be: Growing B2B services (temp staffing, for example), and expanding market B2C services (like senior care / senior living services).

    From my interactions with clients, I agree with the article: I expect solid growth in small business sale transactions in 2014, with many transferring from older Boomers to younger Boomers.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    • Julian, thanks for dropping in.

      I agree. Younger Boomers are among the business buyers that I’ve worked with during the last few years. The vagaries of the corporate world have driven a significant number of them into small / medium size business ownership. As I heard a speaker say recently, “There is no more job security. The only job security you’ve got now is the person looking back at you in the mirror.”

  2. Terrance J. Conway says:

    Dear Bill: Where do you get your numbers? How do you locate sellers?, I have looked in my remote corner of the earth.

    • Terrence, these numbers come from, the world’s largest online business-for-sale marketplace. They publish their results quarterly. This website is where I market my business offerings, and it’s where most of my buyers come from.

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