Business Development

The business development section of the survey provided feedback on the outlook for the manufacturing industry in general, individual business projections, and use of technology and related barriers.

Business Life Cycle
During the evolution of a business, companies go through the stages of the business life cycle and encounter different challenges requiring different solutions. When asked about the life cycle stage of their businesses, demonstrated by Figure 12, a large majority of businesses identified their industry as growing (70%) or stable (11%), with a small percentage (14%) indicating maturing or (5%) emerging.
Business Life Cycle Phase Image
Figure 12: Industry Life Cycle Phase
Primary Market Sales & Growth
Sixty-eight percent of businesses reported increased sales and 29% reported stable sales, while only 3% of businesses reported decreased primary market sales. (Figure 13) The percentage of respondents reporting their business was in the growth phase of its life cycle correlated almost exactly to the
Percieved Growth Barriers Image
Figure 14: Reported Sales & Perceived Barriers to Growth

percentage reporting an increasing primary market sales trend.
Primary Market Sales Trend Infographic
Figure 13: Primary Market Sales Trend
Likewise, the correlation between reported primary market sales trends closely corresponded to respondents’ perceptions of the absence or presence of barriers to business growth, with 73% indicating there were not barriers to business growth opportunity and 27% responding there were barriers present. (Figure 14)
Percieved Growth Barriers Image
Figure 14: Reported Sales & Perceived Barriers to Growth
Technology
An overwhelming majority of businesses (79%), of varying sizes and sectors, reported technology as having an increasingly important role in daily business operations and, not surprisingly, a similar majority of companies (72%) report moderate to heavy investment in new technology. (Figure 15)
New and advanced technologies are emerging for just under half (44%) of companies, and these technologies will change either their product or how it is produced or marketed.
Figure 14: Reported Sales & Perceived Barriers to Growth
Future Plans
Business owners were asked to advise on their future operational plans, including expansion or downsizing expectations, services that could support growth endeavors, and possible issues related to their plans.
Milledgeville-Baldwin County businesses were generally very positive about their future prospects, with 56% of businesses planning to expand at their current locations within the next 36 months.
(Figure 16)
Expansions are expected to result in a total increase of an estimated 140 jobs and community dollar investment of $11,205,000.00, of which more than 60% will come from the Manufacturing & Distribution and Retail sectors. The availability of skilled labor to support expansion plans was a commonly identified concern.
Expansion Plans Infographic
Figure 16: Expansion Plans within 36 Months