Magazine article USA TODAY

Complacency Foils Future Success

Magazine article USA TODAY

Complacency Foils Future Success

Article excerpt

Small business owners and managers may tend to get complacent with their success once their business has survived awhile. A study of nearly 900 companies with an average of eight employees found that older firms were less likely to use and update business plans than were younger ones.

The finding is significant because other studies have demonstrated a strong link between planning and business growth, notes David Kraybill, an assistant professor and state extension specialist in economic development, Ohio State University. "Older firms seem to identify a market that they know, and then are less likely to look for ways to maximize profits. They figure good enough is enough. That may be okay in the short run, but in the long run it could hurt them. There is a real challenge to help these aging firms do the planning necessary to survive and grow, particularly when it comes to modernization."

Kraybill conducted the study with Jayachandran Variyam, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They asked the owners or managers to indicate how much their firm was involved in four strategies that have been linked to business success. They found that:

* Only slightly more than one-fourth of the owners and managers said they used, modified, or updated business plans "very much" or "quite a bit. …

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