Small companies pay handsomely for services that keep their businesses running. So how satisfied are they with their battery of lawyers, accountants, techies, and actuaries? It's a mixed bag, says market researcher Willard & Shullman Group, which surveyed 525 small-company execs in August. While small businesses seemed generally content, there were pockets of dissatisfaction, particularly with employment agencies and mammoth computer companies. Overall, says President Bob Shullman, "companies supplying to small businesses haven't figured out how to do it yet." To ensure quality service, he recommends the basics: "Look at the details, and get it in writing."

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