Any successful business depends on the quality of its management team. But for a very small firm the relationship between management and economic performance is often more visible. Understanding the workings of this relationship can be difficult, particularly when studying small firms that have become highly successful in a short space of time, so developing more complex management structures. This study offers a systematic analysis of this important labour market, drawing on themes of organizational behaviour, strategy and leadership and addresses the public policy issue - "the people gap". By exploring aspects of ownership, motivation, promotion, incentives and training, this study discusses how these issues have very different implications when related to the context of small firms rather than that of large firms. A central question posed is how far economic performance is likely to be affected by these different patterns of ownership, organizational and management structures.