Classification of West Yorkshire manufacturing SMEs and their perceptions of success
Ninety nine percent of British industry is made up from SMEs (Small to Medium
sized Enterprises), therefore the success of the UK economy depends upon the
success of the SME (DTI, 2003). But what do SMEs themselves define success as
being? What do they aspire to and what help do they need to get there? A great deal of
assistance is available to British SMEs from various sources though these tend to sell
services rather than finding the most appropriate solution to the needs of the SME.
This research suggests that to engage appropriately with the SME it is best to classify
SMEs on their aspirations. Once the problems in SMEs were defined it became clear
that they then needed a method to solve their difficulties. A set of generic pathways to
success had to be produced that SMEs could follow that also linked in with what they
Results from this research are significant. Company aspirations and definitions of
success have been clearly defined. A new classification system has been produced
that has four distinct SME types with different but sometimes overlapping
characteristics. Detailed pathways to success have been created for SMEs to follow.
These were then validated by utilising ten real case studies that prove that if the
'Pathways to Success' are followed then SMEs can become more successful.
This research has made significant contributions to the knowledge base relating to
SMEs and their improvement.