What are the Strategic Goals of Small Businesses?

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Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

What are the Strategic Goals of Small Businesses?

🔥NEW When assessing the goals and the success of an organization, such as when advising on the organization's strategy, it is important to not only consider its growth strategies, but also other perceptions of success by the business owners. In particular: whats constitutes success in the eyes of the owners?

1. COMPANY GROWTH
The 'success' of an organization is often measured by company growth. However, in a context of small businesses, many small business owners (SBOs) are reluctant to grow because of a wide range of reasons:
  • Fear to lose employees.
  • Fear to lose the atmosphere within the organization.
  • Fear to lose organizational commitment.
  • Fear that employees may be less satisfied.
  • Fear of the effect of negative events such as an economic downturn.
Besides these fears, small lifestyle-oriented business owners set up businesses to undertake activities that they enjoy doing, generally via an activity that can provide the owner an adequate income. In those cases, business growth cannot measure its success.

When assessing the success of organizations, it is therefore critical to consider SBO success perception. In particular, consultants on strategic management should avoid any mismatch between success measurement and success perceptions by the business owners / users of their services. Weber c.s. mention several possible other measurements for success in small businesses:

2. FULFILLING STAKEHOLDERS' EXPECTATIONS
Jennings and Beaver (1997) argue that success of companies may also be measured by the extent to which businesses are able to sustain satisfaction of stakeholder aspirations, specifically of principal stakeholders. Those aspirations can range from growth in terms of assets, market size or profits to do business in a socially or environmentally justified way.

3. ACHIEVING EXTRINSIC AND INTRINSIC OBJECTIVES
An organization's success does not only emanate from the fulfillment of extrinsic objectives. Intrinsic successes can be an important measurement for success as well. Success in terms of intrinsic objective refers to an internal sense of satisfaction that emanates from being the owner of the business and managing this business.

⇒ Do you know of any other strategic goals and ways to measure the success of small business firms?

Source: Weber, P., Geneste, L.A. and J. Connell (2015) "Small Business Growth: Strategic Goals and Owner Preparedness" Journal of Business Strategy Vol. 36 Iss. 3 pp. 30-36

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