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The majority of companies involved in the construction materials industry are still privately held. The fact that construction materials need to be produced close to the point of consumption ensures that there will be a continuing demand for production sites near local markets. For this reason, it is highly likely that independently owned businesses will continue to thrive. In order to ensure survival in a harsh business climate, a small- to medium-sized business must have a formal plan defining its business, what its objectives are and how these objectives will be met. The most important objective of any strategic business plan provides a return rate to the business owners competitive with the return they could expect from an alternative investment with similar risk. It is also important to plan the transfer of a business well in advance of the retirement of the owner. This avoids family disputes over who gets to be the successor and makes planning much easier.