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Business Success: Factors Leading to Surviving and Closing Successfully

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  • Brian Headd
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    Abstract

    This paper focuses on the startup factors that lead to new firms remaining open, and if they close, the factors leading to whether the owner considered the firm successful at closure. Two independent logit models were developed for closure and success characteristics using the Bureau of the Census' Characteristics of Business Owners (CBO). Business Information Tracking Series (BITS, formerly the LEEM), also from the Bureau of the Census, was used to evaluate business survival rates as the CBO had non-response bias with respect to closure. About half of new employer firms survive at least four years (an estimated one-third of non-employer firms survive this period), and of the firms that closed, owners of about a third felt the firm was successful at closure. Major factors leading to remaining open are having ample capital, having employees, having a good education, and starting for personal reasons (freedom for family life, or wanting to become one's own boss). If the firm closed, major factors leading to owners perceiving the business successful at closure are having no start-up capital or ample capital, having previous ownership experience, and avoiding the retail trade industry. Owners of firms with and without employees had similar rates of believing closed businesses were successful at closure. Owners who were young or started without capital had a higher likelihood of closure but when they closed, they were more likely to consider the firm successful. Gender, race and being older play a small, if any, role in survivability or in owners' perception that the closed firm was successful. Retail trade was the only variable that led to businesses being more likely to close, and more likely to be deemed unsuccessful by the owner at closure.

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    File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2001/CES-WP-01-01.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 01-01.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:01-01

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    Keywords: CES; economic; research; micro; data; microdata; chief; economist;

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    1. Holmes, Thomas J & Schmitz, James A, Jr, 1996. "Nonresponse Bias and Business Turnover Rates: The Case of the Characteristics of Business Owners Survey," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(2), pages 231-41, April.
    2. Everett, Jim & Watson, John, 1998. " Small Business Failure and External Risk Factors," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 371-90, December.
    3. Alfred R Nucci & Timothy Bates, 1990. "An Analysis of Small Business Size and Rate of Discontinuance," Working Papers 90-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    4. Holmes, Thomas J & Schmitz, James A, Jr, 1996. "Managerial Tenure, Business Age, and Small Business Turnover," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 79-99, January.
    5. Brian Headd, 1999. "The Characteristics of Business Owners Database, 1992," Working Papers 99-8, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. Audretsch, David B & Mahmood, Talat, 1995. "New Firm Survival: New Results Using a Hazard Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 97-103, February.
    7. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
    8. Stearns, Timothy M. & Carter, Nancy M. & Reynolds, Paul D. & Williams, Mary L., 1995. "New firm survival: Industry, strategy, and location," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 23-42, January.
    9. Bates, Timothy, 1990. "Entrepreneur Human Capital Inputs and Small Business Longevity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 551-59, November.
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