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A study on business strategies adopted by small to medium enterprises in the greater Durban area.

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ABSTRACT Companies today operate in volatile markets. The risk of small business failure is high. In order to survive, organisations need to have a well thought out business strategy. The principle purpose of this study is to determine whether effective business strategies exist for small and medium enterprises, also referred to as “SME’s” in the greater Durban area and to determine if these strategies contribute to the success of the organisation. The research also investigated if these strategies consist of the principles of competitive business strategies founded by Michael Porter. The research problem identified is that many small to medium businesses may not have adequate or comprehensive competitive business strategies that can adapt to varying economic conditions. Economic conditions change and fluctuate from time to time due to various changes in market conditions and businesses need to maintain adequate strategies to address these varying conditions. Small to medium businesses that lack adaptable strategies are often forced to close their doors resulting in job losses, loss of income and reduced contribution to the economy’s Gross Domestic Product. This phenomenon translates to higher unemployment and poverty in South Africa. The objective of this study was to conduct research to identify the types of business strategies that are adopted by SME’s in the greater Durban area as well as whether there is a link between the strategy of the business and its success. The research design was a qualitative exploratory study of businesses situated in Durban and surrounding areas. The findings identified common themes prevalent within a sample of SME’s. The type of competitive strategy used was also established. This, together with a SWOT analysis contributed to establishing that a strategic link to business success exits. KEYWORDS Business strategy, market, cash, stock, low cost, differentiation.


Master’s Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.