Owners have a big say in how the aims of the business are decided, but other groups also have an influence over decision making. For example, the directors who manage the day-to-day affairs of a company may decide to make higher sales a top priority rather than profits.
Customers are also key stakeholders. Businesses that ignore the concerns of customers find themselves losing sales to rivals.
In a small business, the most important or primary stakeholders are the owners, staff and customers. In a large company, shareholders are the primary stakeholders as they can vote out directors if they believe they are running the business badly.
Less influential stakeholders are called secondary stakeholders.