An exploratory study of critical success factors for SMEs in Kenya

Jacqueline Douglas, Alexander Douglas, David Muturi, Jackie Ochieng

Abstract


Purpose: 70% of Small-to-Medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya fail within their first three years of existence. This paper reports the findings of a study of Kenya SMEs aimed at identifying critical success factors and barriers to their success.

Methodology:A comprehensive literature review identified variables previously identified from international research and a questionnaire was designed to survey a sample of Kenya SME owner / senior managers, selected from the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) SME membership database, to determine their views on which factors were critical to their success.

Findings: Respondents identified maintaining good relationships with customers, having a good product or service, having good marketing skills and creating a brand customers can associate with as the critical success factors. The main barriers to success were identified as high taxes, too much government regulation and corruption in municipal government.

Practical implications: From an owner/ manager perspective there is a need for them to have good marketing skills and to use them to market their goods and services. Customer relationship management (CRM) is also important for repeat purchases. Government has also an important part to play in tackling corruption and ensuring that policies and regulations are in place to create a business climate favourable to SMEs success.

Originality/value: There are many research papers that examine the impact of one or several variables that impact the success or otherwise of SMEs. However, this is one of the few surveys that has examined so many variables simultaneously and within a Kenya context.


Keywords


SMEs; survival; sustainability; Kenya; success factors

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