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Key success factors for developing and managing small and medium-sized enterprises post Covid-19 pandemic.

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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an essential role in the South African economy. Specifically, South Africa’s SME sector creates employment opportunities, contributes to economic development, alleviates poverty and hunger, and promotes entrepreneurship activity. However, the breakout of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic fundamentally changed the business world. In South Africa, COVID-19 has immensely affected SMEs and threatened their survival. This study, therefore, sought to determine the key success factors (KSFs) for developing and managing SMEs post-COVID-19. Although there are various KSFs for developing and managing the SMEs, this study particularly examined: 1) strategic planning, 2) human resources, 3) finance, 4) operations, and 5) marketing as key aspects for the development and management of SMEs post-COVID-19. The KSFs Strategic Management Model by Thompson et al (2016) formed the study’s theoretical framework. The target population was SMEs enrolled in the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Minara Chamber of Commerce. The sample size is 334 SMEs was broken down proportionally across the three respective Chambers. In order to best determine the KSFs for SMEs, the study adopted a quantitative approach through the application of a questionnaire with closed-ended questions. The Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 25 was used for data analysis and to provide both descriptive and inferential statistics, which are detailed through tables and figures. Factor analysis was further applied to determine the groupings of each aspect’s items, while the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) Measure of Sample Adequacy and Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity were also run. The reliability of aspects were also established, and Cronbach’s alpha values indicated. The study findings highlighted that all the selected aspects are key in ensuring SME development and management post-COVID-19. The significance of the study is that it provides useful knowledge to entrepreneurs regarding SME success in a post-COVID-19 market.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.