The reality of the economy and decreasing confidence about near-term business prospects are compelling fewer owners and managers of small construction and contracting businesses to consider expanding their operations, according to the recently released results of the latest Small Business Research Board (SBRB) poll, co-sponsored by International Profit Associates.

The SBRB report said that 30 percent of the small construction and contracting businesses during the fourth quarter of 2007 were planning to expand their businesses in the next 12 to 24 months. This was six points fewer than those who felt the same during the third quarter 2007 reporting period.

Respondents to the survey also said they intend to focus more heavily on customer issues rather than making investments in facilities and processes.

Human resources continued to be the most important ingredient to improving productivity during the fourth quarter. Improved staff training, the addition of more staff and implementation or enhancement of employee incentive programs were the top three elements cited for improving productivity. Those were followed by improvements to existing automation or technology and adding more automation or technology, which finished fourth and fifth.

For more information about this poll or other matters related to the SBRB, contact Raymond D. Minkus at 847/441-4192.