Strategies, snarks and stories: SME owner manager perceptions of business advisers

Ardley, Barry and Moss, Philip and Taylor, Nick (2016) Strategies, snarks and stories: SME owner manager perceptions of business advisers. Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, 18 (2). ISSN 1471-5201

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Abstract

Purpose The aim is to examine the perceptions of small business entrepreneurs regarding the efficacy of external business advisers in delivering sustainable strategic and operational guidance.
Design/methodology/approach The research is interpretivist, exploring the narratives of SME owner/managers in manufacturing. Five in depth interviews were carried out, revealing a range of decision stories about the use of external business advisers.
Research limitations/implications A small scale study, it would be worthwhile to examine the perceptions of additional entrepreneurs to business advisers, in order to compare research findings.
Findings Whilst there was some scepticism towards the use of advisers in certain situations, the research revealed that levels of trust, relationship building and the credibility of the consultant are substantial factors in determining whether the engagement is successful or not.
Practical implications Policy regarding advice to small businesses should be framed in terms of the local context of the firm and its owner, rather than on broad and generalisable systems of business knowledge. Time and effort is required in order to build a sustainable relationship between advisers and owners and it is recommended particular attention is paid to the process.
Social implications The research suggests that potentially, industrial policy regarding current delivery of small business advice requires readjustments towards more of a relationship focus.
Originality/value Little established research appears to exist in relation to the tendency or otherwise, for SME decision makers to pursue and utilise external advice. This paper helps to fill an important gap in the literature whilst offering some significant and nuanced insights into the perceptions of SME owner managers.

Keywords:SME manufacturing, Business advice, Interpretative, Strategy and Operations, Narrative, NotOAChecked
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N500 Marketing
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:24926
Deposited On:09 Nov 2016 12:50

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