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What Keeps You Up At Night?

A survey of EOY alumni asking them to rate the importance of 35 core business issues.

The results are in from Ernst & Young's annual survey of past recipients of Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, who were asked to rate the importance of 35 "core business issues" on a scale of one (unimportant) to 10 (extremely important). As it turns out, their top 10 concerns, listed below, aren't much different from those of most other entrepreneurs, with the possible exception of number one. (The survey was sent to about 1,100 companies, of which 259 responded. The rankings are based on the percentage of respondents giving the issue a rating of 8, 9, or 10.)

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1. Retaining key personnel (73%)
2. Enhancing customer service (71%)
3. Improving quality (71%)
4. Gaining greater market penetration (70%)
5. Controlling health-care costs (63%)
6. Getting useful, timely financial information (56%)
7. Managing cash flow (56%)
8. Growing without loss of control (53%)
9. Building personal wealth (52%)
10. Recruiting key personnel (51%)

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As for the least pressing concerns, let's just say no one will ever confuse this group of EOY alumni with the Sierra Club. Environmental issues ranked near the bottom of the list (number 27), right down there with international expansion (number 24), succession planning (number 25), downsizing (number 33), and inflation (number 35).

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Last updated: Jul 1, 1992

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