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Business pulse beats faster - sort of

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  • | 11:00 a.m. April 1, 2016
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The SunTrust Banks Business Pulse Survey is the latest example of a rebounding economy.

To wit: More than four of 10 small businesses with annual revenues of $2 million to $10 million plan to introduce a new product or service, up from 31% in 2015, the survey reports. At least one-third, 36%, of middle market companies with annual revenues of $10 million to $150 million are exploring mergers and acquisitions, up from 25% last year. And 80% of survey respondents say their businesses are strong and they are confident about their company's finances.

Another shift: Nearly three of 10 middle market companies, 29%, want to expand into international markets, while 32% of small businesses seek to grow their business domestically.

The survey is a national sample. But Allen Brinkman, CEO of SunTrust's West Florida division, says he sees evidence of the bounce-back optimism in the region, particularly in mergers and selling companies.

Many of the bank's loan officers and others who work with businesses, says Brinkman, have shifted their client focus to talk about transition planning — something not always common. “One of the most important things a business owner can do,” Brinkman tells Coffee Talk, “is to think about the end.”

One dent in the good news is uncertainty for business decision makers shows no quit. Nearly 7 of 10, 68%, of small business leaders are most concerned about uncertainty in the economy, the survey reports. Ditto that rate for worry over changes in health care laws. The rates of concern for cash flow stability, 66%, and employee morale, 65%, also represent solid majorities.

Brinkman, based in Tampa, has noticed the worries among the bank's client base. Says Brinkman: “There is still a lack of certainty in health care that creates an area of anxiety moving forward.”


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