NORTHFIELD, Ill. — Fewer owners and managers of small food and beverage businesses indicated during the third quarter of 2007 that they are planning to expand operations during the next 12 to 24 months, according to the latest Small Business Research Board (SBRB) study released Nov. 7.
 
Of the 800 owners and managers responding to the nationwide quarterly poll, co-sponsored by International Profit Associates, 27 percent said they plan to expand their businesses the next 12 to 24 months, a 2-percent decrease from 29 percent reported during second quarter.
  
Forty-one percent of respondents intended to expand as their primary methods for growing their businesses. Expansion at current locations was mentioned by 22 percent of participants, while 19 percent said they intend to add locations.  
 
The addition of new products was mentioned by 19 percent of respondents as a principle means for achieving growth.
 
Improved staff training ranked first among options for enhancing business efficiency during the third quarter. A portion of those polled indicated they would add staff (second) before improving automated systems (third). Improvements to existing automation or technology and enhanced employee incentive programs were fourth and fifth.

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