We can learn a great deal from other people's problems and thus develop considerable confidence that we will not encounter similar difficulties. Two surveys have been conducted for this purpose among all national associations that represents the various types of contractors and related businesses. These associations were asked to respond on the basis of their own experience to two basic questions: on what types of topics do their members feel the need for more information or improvement? And what have been the reasons that businesses within their members' line of work have been dissolved in recent years? The top five reasons for business failure were small profit margin and estimating problems, inadequate working capital, collection difficulties, and too much competition. The number one reason, though, was lack of managerial experience. Poor management traps to avoid include: (1) inadequate records. Among other things, good records help when estimating and submitting the bid for each job. (2) Forgotten tax requirements- these obligation must always be remembered, both when making estimates and when budgeting the monthly payments due. (3) Inadequate cost analysis- the contractor should keep an ongoing record of the way each employee spends each hour. (4) Failure to diversify- if at all possible, the contractor should not limit his work to a single market, such as residential, commercial or industrial. (5) Developing false confidence- it must be a policy not to expand until the contractor has sales to justify it. (6) Entangling family factors- family obligation must not be allowed to hinder one's success, especially by employing relatives who really can't handle the job that must be done. And (7) inadequate technical knowledge- no one should venture into something about which they have no background knowledge and cannot learn quickly enough.