People have always asked around for recommendations before they do business. After all, they work hard for their money. They want to know they're spending it in a place that will give them what they expect at a fair price. Once upon a time, they might have approached a neighbor to ask where they should eat dinner or what contractor they should hire.
The newest obstacle that's keeping employees from finding better jobs in their own field is a twist on the noncompete agreement.
A lot of disputes with contractors start out small. They end up turning into something big because people aren't sure how to handle the issue. They'll either delay talking to the contractor (which can give a relatively minor problem time to morph into a really huge problem) or approach the contractor in a way that creates unnecessary hostility.
Nothing is guaranteed in life -- especially where business is concerned. A shift in the local economy, a change in your personal circumstances, even new developments in technology can suddenly bring a once-thriving small business to a sudden halt.