The article contains an empirical analysis of the strategy processes followed by new small firms to achieve speedy growth and success. It draws upon new evidence gathered by face-to-face semi-structured interviews with owner-managers of small firms. These interviews followed an agenda which investigated firm strategies in terms of environmental scanning, strategy implementation and evaluation and control. The article refers to 17 case studies of firms, constructed using this framework. Cluster analysis was used to split firms into groups of high, medium and low performers, using measures of growth, profitability and productivity. This primarily qualitative analysis is augmented by longitudinal quantitative evidence from the 150 firms from which the sub-sample of cases was selected. So the qualitative work is supported by statistical inferences from the larger dataset. This new empirical evidence supports the main hypothesis that even very young firms, who proactively use formal strategic planning, will tend to perform better than those who follow a more ‘visionary’ or reactive approach to running the business.
- strategy processes
- strategic planning