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The development of SMEs has become an important factor in nation’s building and economic development. While developed nations have leveraged on the growth of SMEs, survival rates has been less than 10% in Nigeria despite various government intervention programmes. This study evaluated the effect of entrepreneurial strategies on the development of SMEs on selected firms in Ogun state Nigeria.


Survey research design was adopted for the study. The population of the study consist of 2425 middle and top level staff of 7 selected firms. Stratified random sampling technique was adopted to select the sample size of 446. Respondents were determined using Taro Yamane formula for sample size. Data was collected using self-administered structured questionnaire and validated for a response rate of 94%. Cronbach Alpha reliability for major constructs had an average value of 0.83. The data collected was analysed using linear and multiple regression.


Findings revealed that there is a significant relationship between entrepreneurial strategies and SME development (R = 0.535, at p<0.05).The adjusted R2=.285 value (alpha) of 44.670, the coefficient of independent variable (beta = 0.491) and F-Value yielded 163.890. Competitive strategy had significant relationship on return on investment and this effect was statistically significant at (R2 = 0.160, p < 0.05, B = 0.360, F = 77.727). There is a significant relationship between human resource strategy and employee productivity (R2 = 0.184, p < 0.05, B = 0.385, F = 91.833). The effect of market orientation strategy on market share shows a positive relationship with p < 0.05, R2 = 0.242, B = 0.395and F = 130.155. A positive and significant relationship was established between adaptation strategy and business policy with R2 = 0.553, p < 0.05, B = 0.717 and F value = 504.339.


The study concluded that, entrepreneurial strategies have strong positive relationship on the development of SMEs in Ogun State. The study recommends that SMEs should adopt entrepreneurial strategies in the form of competitive, human resource, market orientation and adaptation to increase survival rate.


Keywords: Entrepreneurial strategies, Competitive strategy, Positive relationship, Effect and

SMEs development.


Word Count: 351









Content                                                           Page

Title page                                                                                                                                i

Certification                                                                                                                            ii

Dedication                                                                                                                              iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                                                iv

Abstract                                                                                                                                  v

Table of Contents                                                                                                                   vi

List of Tables                                                                                                                          ix

List of Figures                                                                                                                         x



1.1 Background to the Study                                                                                                  1

1.2 Statement of the Problem                                                                                                  3

1.3 Objective of the Study                                                                                                      6

1.4 Research Questions                                                                                                            7

  • Hypotheses                         7

1.6Scope of the Study                                                                                                            8

1.7 Significance of the Study                                                                                                 10

1.8 Operationalization of Variables                                                                                        7

1.9Operational Definition of Terms                                                                                        10



2.1 Conceptual Review                                                                                                           12

2.1.1 Entrepreneurial Strategies                                                                                                         12

2.1.2Competitive Strategy                                                                                                      13

2.1.3Human Resource Strategy                                                                      14

2.1.4Market Orientation Strategy                                                                                           15

2.1.5Adaptation Strategy                                                                                                       16

2.1.6SME Development                                                                     21

2.1.7Return on Investment                                                       21

2.1.8Employee Productivity                                                     24

2.1.9Market Share                                                                                                                   25

Content                                                                                                                                   Page

2.1.10Business Policy                                                                                     25

2.2. Theoretical Review                                                                                                          29

2.2.1 The Organizational life-cycle theory      29

2.2.2 Resource Based View Theory                                                                                       33

2.2.3 Dynamic Capability Theory                                     35

2.2.4 The Survival-base theory                                                                                               37

2.2.5 Knowledge Based View Theory of the Firm                                  40

2.3 Empirical Review                                                                          42

2.3.1Entrepreneurial Strategies                                   42 Competitive Strategy                                                                                                  42 Human Resource Strategy                                                                                          43 Market Orientation Strategy                                                                                       44 Adaptation Strategy                                                                                                   45

2.3.2 SME Development                    46 Return on Investment                                                                                                 47 Employee Productivity                                                                                               48 Market Share                                                                                                               48 Business Policy                                                                                                           49

2.3.3 Entrepreneurial Strategies and SME Development                               50

2.3.4 Overview of the Nigerian SME Sector                                                                          52

2.4 Summary and Gaps in Literature                                                              54

2.5 Conceptual Model                                                                                                54



3.1 Research Design                                                                                                               56

3.2 Population                                                                                                                         56

3.3 Sample size and sampling Technique                                                                                57

3.3.1Sampling Technique                                                                                                        58

3.3.2 Sampling Frame                                                                                                             59

3.4 Method of Data Collection                                                                                               59

3.5 Research Instrument                                                                                                         59

3.6 Pilot Study                                                                                                                                    60

3.7 Validity of Research Instrument                                                                                      61

Content                                                                                                                                   Page

3.7.1 Reliability of Research Instrument                                                                                61

3.7.2   Pre-test reliability Analysis                                                                                          62

3.8 Method of Data Analysis                                                                                                 62

3.8.1 Model Specification                                                                                                       63

3.8.2 Conceptual Model                                                                                                         64

3.9 Apriori Expectation                                                                                                          64

3.10 Limitation of the Methodology                                                                                      65

3.11 Ethical Consideration                                                                                                     65




4.1 Data Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation                                        67

4.2 Demographic Data of Respondents                                                          68

4.3 Data analysis, Interpretation and discussion        69

4.4 Summary Table of Findings                                                                      96




5.1 Summary                           97

5.2 Conclusion                                                                                                                        100

5.3 Recommendations                                                                                                             101

5.3.1 Policy Makers                                                                                                                102

5.3.2 SME Sector                                                                                                                    102

5.3.3 Society                                                                                                                           103

5.4 Contribution to Knowledge                                                                                              103

5.5 Limitation of the Study                                                                                                    105

5.6   Suggestion for Further Studies                                                                                       105

References                                                                                                                        107

Questionnaire                                                                                                                    122




Table                                                                                                                                       Page

1.1       Number of SMEs in South Western Nigeria by State as at December 2013             9

3.1       Research Sampling                                                                                                      58

3.2       Sources of Adapted Questionnaire                                                                             60

3.2.1    Pre-test reliability Analysis                                                                                        62

3.3       Researcher’s Apriori Expectation                                                                               65

4.1       Questionnaire response rate                                                                                        68

4.2:      Distribution of the Respondents Demographic and Personal Information                68

4.3       Descriptive analysis of competitive strategy                                                              70

4.4       Descriptive analysis of Return on Investment                                                            71

4.5       Linear Regression Analysis between competitive strategy and return

on investment                                                                                                              73


4.5.1    ANOVAa                                                                                                                                                           73

4.5.2    Coefficients (a)                                                                                                           73

4.6       Descriptive analysis of Human Resources Strategy                                                   76

4.7       Descriptive analysis of Employee Productivity                                                          77

4.8       Linear Regression Analysis between human resources strategy

and employee productivity                                                                                         78


4.8.1:   ANOVAa                                                                                                                                                           78

4.8.2:   Coefficientsa                                                                                                               79

4.9       Descriptive analysis of Market Orientation Strategy                                                  81

4.10     Descriptive analysis of Market Share                                                                         83

4.11     Linear Regression Analysis between market orientation strategy and

market share                                                                                                                84


4.11.1  ANOVAa                                                                                                                                                           84

4.11.2  Coefficients                                                                                                                85

4.12     Descriptive analysis of Adaptation Strategy                                                              87

4.13     Descriptive analysis of Business Policy                                                                      88

4.14     Linear Regression Analysis between adaptation strategy and business policy          90

4.14.1  ANOVAa                                                                                                                                                           90

4.14.2  Coefficientsa                                                                                                                                                    90

4.15: Multiple Regression Analysis of Entrepreneurial Strategies and

SME Development                                                                                                     93

4.16 Summary Table of Findings                                                                                                                        96




Figure                                                                                                                          Page

  • Conceptual Model (Gap)                                                                                                 55

3.1 Conceptual Model (Hypothesis)                                                                                       64



























 1.1     Background to the Study

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have increasingly become a powerful engine for economic growth and development in today’s rapidly growing and dynamic competitive global economy (Khan, Obaidullah & Alam, 2011). On the contrary, the performance and effectiveness of small and medium scale enterprises as an instrument of economic growth and development in Nigeria has long been under academic scrutiny. This intense scrutiny has been against the backdrop of the low performance and inefficiency that characterized small and medium scale enterprises particularly in assessing its role on economic growth and development (Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN;2010).The future of entrepreneurship is a moving target and a work in progress that is widely expected to lead through innovation and adaptation for the development of entrepreneurs (Snyder, 2011).


The work of Snyder (2011) further noted that majority of job losses in America occurs in large companies which form less than 20% of American businesses while majority of jobs were created  by small businesses. An entrepreneur is an innovative person who maximizes his/her profit by following strategies on venturing into commercial undertaking (Dabson & Wilcox, 2012). The characteristics of an entrepreneur include risk taking, curiosity, imaginative, persistence, goal setter, hardworking, confident, flexible and independent. A study by Kauffman foundation in 2011 examined the relationship between economic growth and entrepreneurship and came to the conclusion that nations with higher level of entrepreneurship activity have better rate of economic growth. Clifton (2009), noted that what the whole world need is a good job and good jobs are unavailable as entrepreneurs have not been able to develop the needed strategies for job creation. Good jobs have become necessary because social contracts between big companies and their employees have changed overtime. Therefore, the best job available is that where you are owner and



self-employed (Clifton, 2009). Dabson and Wilcox (2012) noted that most developing countries use entrepreneurship as an economic development of last resort. For Nigeria to develop through the use of entrepreneurship like other developing nations the leaders must take cognizance of the people’s ability to create wealth, the process through which growth is achieved, the community where the activities take place and policies and practices that foster entrepreneurship in both public and private sectors (Dabson & Wilcox, 2012).


An SME according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is one whose capital employed excluding land is between ₦1 million and ₦150 million and employs not more than 500 persons (Ebitu, Ufot, & Olom, 2015). Ogundele (2007), noted that SMEs represent 90% of the enterprises in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Also, SMEs provide 70% of employment opportunities for the citizens and promote the development of local technology. Oyedijo (2012), have observed that small businesses employ 53% of the private workforce and account for 47% of sales and 51% of private sector gross domestic product. SMEs possess great potential for employment generation, improvement of local technology, output diversification, development of indigenous entrepreneurship and forward integration with large scale industries (Central Bank of Nigeria quarterly publication, (2011).


Entrepreneurial strategies on the other hand is the means by which an organization establishes and re-establishes its fundamental set of relationships with its environment characterized by changes in the pattern of decisions taken by the organization. These strategies include competitive strategy which involves the ability of the organization to achieve leadership status in the dynamic and uncertain market they operate; human resources strategy which capitalizes on the use of the employees to achieve the organizations aims and objectives; market orientation strategy involves aligning the organizational output to suit the market and customers need and adaptation strategy which involves the use of innovation to allow the organization becomes relevant all in a bid to achieving SME development.


SME development is the growth of a SME with the systematic use of scientific and technical knowledge to meet specific objectives or requirements of the organization.

SME development in this study is measured with the organization’s return on investment (ROI), employee’s productivity, market share and the business policies of the firm. A major gap in Nigeria’s industrial development process in the past years has been the absence of a strong and virile small and medium enterprises sub-sector (SMEs) due to financial constraints explained by high lending rates, high loan requirements and lack of viable entrepreneurial skills which does not allow SMEs to possess the much needed competitive strategies.


Furthermore, SMEs cannot employ the full arsenals of their entrepreneurial strategies due to constraints such as lack of adequate credit for SMEs, traceable to the reluctance of banks to extend credit to them. This situation arises due to poor documentation at project proposals because the human resources strategies are poorly implemented or inadequate. Matanmi and Awodun (2005) posit that if Nigeria desire to move out of the disturbing high level of unemployment and ravaging level of poverty, adequate attention must be given to the growth of entrepreneurship. They concluded that Nigeria still remain in the doldrums because of the combination of ignorance, low capacity building and lack of encouragement for entrepreneurship coupled with lack of entrepreneurial strategies.


This work will  focus on SMEs within Ogun State and analyze entrepreneurial strategies in the form of competitive strategy, human resources strategy, market orientation strategy and adaptation strategy and how it relates to the development by considering market share, return on investment, business policy and employee productivity.


1.2          Statement of the Problem

Akingbolu (2014), Okezie, Odii, and Njoku (2013)  has documented that 70% of SMEs fail in their first three years of operations in Nigeria because of their economy of scale. This is coupled with the dynamic nature of the environment, greater competitive firms and the need for continuous innovation. Product customization and growing use of ICT, forces firms to face challenges of improving their competitiveness. These difficulties are greater for the highly competitive environment for small scale businesses which negatively affect their Return on Investment (ROI). The inability of top management of SMEs to properly analyze the market is one of the leading causes of reduction in Return on investment (ROI) for SMEs (Aaker, Kumar & Day, 2008). This is as a result of their

inability to formulate and implement appropriate competitive strategies for diversification, to fulfill their role of being an industry low cost provider, developing expertise and creating a niche for their companies that will allows for SME Development.

Mwangi and Omhui (2013) posit that inability of small scale and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) to gear effort towards applying effective competitive strategies reduces return on investments because of the severe competition they face from multinational companies in the market and the need to meet consumer’s requirement for quality, quantity and price has been a major challenge that has led to the collapse and eventual failure of many SMEs. The entrepreneur’s inability to put in place adequate competitive strategy that would lead to responsive customer satisfaction, revenue growth and increased returns on investment is a factor that leads to failure (Offor, 2012).


With greater competition in the globalized market, emphasis on firm management employing human resource strategies through recruitment and selection, employee retention, compensation  in SMEs have been insufficient and this inhibits their performance and diminishes finances (Apulu, Lathan & Moreton, 2011).

Asiedu-Appiah, Aduse-Poku and Abeeku-Bamfo (2013) in their study revealed that majority of SMEs do not follow formal recruitment and selection practices. It was also evident that existing recruitment and selection practices were not systematic and lacked consistency as these practices were based on the understanding of owner-managers who had little or no expertise in the subject. These lackadaisical human resource strategies does not allow for the input of the best entrepreneurial team that will lead to increasing financial performance for the SMEs.


Despite, its significant position as the giant of Africa, in terms of natural resources, majority of firms predominantly small and medium scale enterprise still underperform while others wind up within first five years of business in Nigeria. Only five to ten percent survive to achieve maturity stage, even with available financial resources (Ayanda & Danlami, 2011; Onugu, 2005), due to lack of strategic human resource planning (Okpara, 2011) and this lack of human resource strategies has not given room for increasing performance by the SMEs. The poor performance of Nigerian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is an issue of serious concern to all Nigerians and other

stakeholders (Ibru, 2013). The current chief executive officer (CEO) SMEDAN, Nadada (2013), admitted the following problems facing SMEs in Nigeria to include, among others poor market orientation strategies, inadequate knowledge of managing firms, poor marketing skills, low entrepreneurial spirit and the absence of this leads to reduction in their market share.


Dzisi and Ofosu (2014) posit that SMEs are still lacking in so many spheres in Nigeria, as their perception of marketing has not shifted from mere advertising unto formulation and implementation of market orientation strategies. SMEs fail to utilize market orientation strategies derived from marketing research and new product development that could attract the improved market share and performance thereby leading to inadequate exploitation of its benefits as well as not giving appropriate value to the entrepreneurs (Leopoulos, 2006).


A study by Ebitu (2015) exposes that in the southern part of Nigeria, marketing problems such as difficulty in managing firm’s advertising, lack of adequate marketing research, unawareness of competition, poor branding and packaging, low level of knowledge on business market analysis, poor promotion, poor segmentation strategy, poor pricing technique and unplanned distribution contribute negatively in affecting SMEs’ profit margin and their sales volume. Ebitu (2015) further observed that most of these problems were as a result of the fact that most of the managers of the SMEs are not knowledgeable about the principles and practice of marketing orientation strategies.


Today’s organizations have to deal with dynamic and uncertain environments. In order to be successful, organizations must be strategically aware. They must understand how changes in their competitive environment are unfolding and they have to innovate so as to enhance their performance thereby increasing their market share. The adaptation strategy of innovation can be used by small and midsized firms over large firms which is one area that has been underexplored (Papulova &Papulova, 2006).


Uchegbulam, Akinyele and lbidunni (2015) in their study posited that with Nigeria’s business environment situated in the midst of a challenging economic landscape and intense competition, Managers are increasingly seeking for strategic approaches to

accomplish, improve and sustain organizational performance which is lacking in most SMEs therefore causing underperformance, under productivity and inefficiency of the SMEs. Currently, business environment is perceived to have been rarely exceeded in complexity, turbulence and rapid in change, all Nigerian organizations (large or small) must pay greater attention than ever before to their environments when formulating and implementing policies and strategies in order to survive and grow (Otokiti & Awodun, 2003).


Otokiti and Awodun (2003) posit that the performance of Nigerian companies is predicated on factors such as low-sales, high cost of production, low capital utilization, lack of foreign exchange to source needed inputs, poor power supply, and low quality of goods and services, among others. These issues have led to lack of proper integration and coordination of various corporate subsystems in Nigerian organizations, resulting in the failure to achieve the stated goals and objectives. Enterprises are subsumed in the environment with which they interact by importing inputs and exporting outputs. Thus, the vagaries and the extremities of the environment affect the fortunes of organizations unless adaptive strategies are implemented to mitigate this (Kennerly & Nelly, 2003). Therefore, given the important contributions of SMEs to the economy and the survival rate of SMEs in Ogun state for the period 2010-2013 at 22% when compared to Lagos 54% and Oyo at 73% (Nadada, 2013) and considering the proximity of Ogun State which is between Lagos and Oyo States,  investigation in the state is unavoidable.


This research aims at determining the relationship between entrepreneurial strategies and development of SMEs in Ogun State, Nigeria.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to evaluate the impact of entrepreneurial strategies on the development of SMEs in Ogun State, Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:

  1. examine the effect of competitive strategy on Return on Investment;
  2. identify the effect of human resources strategy on employee productivity;
  3. evaluate the effect of market orientation strategy on market share;
  4. determine the effect of adaptation strategy on business policy and
  5. examine the effect of Entrepreneurial Strategies on SMEs development.

1.4 Research Questions

The study answered the following research questions:

  1. What is the effect of competitive strategy on Return on Investment for SMEs development?
  2. How does human resources strategy affect employee productivity for SMEs development?
  3. What is the effect of market orientation strategy on market share for SMEs development?
  4. What is the effect of adaptation strategy on business policy for SMEs development?
  5. How does Entrepreneurial Strategies affect SMEs development?


1.5          Hypotheses

The hypotheses for the study are as follows:

H01:        Competitive Strategy has no significant effect on return on investment for SMEs development.

H02:             Human Resources Strategy has no significant effect on employee productivity for SMEs development.

H03:         Market Orientation Strategy has no significant effect on market share for SMEs development.

H04:         Adaptation Strategy has no significant effect on business policy for  SMEs  development.

H05:    Entrepreneurial Strategies has no significant effect on SMEs development.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study investigated entrepreneurial strategies and SME development in Ogun State. The state was chosen because of its position as second to the least state in south west Nigeria in terms of SMEs development (National MSME survey report, 2013).


Available Statistics from SMEDAN shows that as at 2013, Lagos had 11,663, Ogun 1,794, Oyo 7,987, Osun 2,273, Ondo 1,999 and Ekiti 1,030 SMEs respectively as shown in Table 1.1 and Figure 1.1. Statistics shows that of the 26,746 SMEs in the South west states of Nigeria, Ogun accounted for only 1,794 which is 6.7% of the total SMEs business in the region. The survival rate of SMEs in the state for the period 2010-2013 is 22% when compared to Lagos 54% and Oyo at 73% (Nadada, 2013).


Table 1.1: Number of SMEs in South Western Nigeria by State as at December 2013

State Number of SMEs Percentage SMEs (%)
Lagos 11,663 44%
Ogun 1,794 6.5%
Oyo 7,987 30%
Osun 2,273 8.0%
Ondo 1,999 7.5%
Ekiti 1,030 4%
Total 26,746 100%

Source: National MSME Survey Report. (2013)


Source: Researcher field work 2017


The research was limited to SMEs within the Ota/Agbara Industrial axis. This location was selected because the bulk of the SMEs, about 78% are located within this region (Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, 2010). SMEs were selected because of their importance to the development of any nation.


The target respondent for the study consisted of management personnel as well supporting personnel working at the top and middle management level within the selected firms. The total estimated figure for the population arrived at, based on survey of few selected firms was two thousand four hundred and twenty-five (2425) personnel. Information with regards, the population number was sourced from the human resource department (HRD) of the firms. Using Yamane (1967) formula for sample size determination, the study was able to arrive at a sample size of four hundred and forty-six (446) respondents including a provision for thirty percent non respondent.  Lastly the study would be carried out using descriptive survey design.


1.7 Significance of the Study

The general understanding of this study would serve as a useful guide to management, practitioners, executive, corporate managers most especially in SMEs to understand how entrepreneurial strategies in their business policies, leadership styles, recruitment and selection, innovation and pricing aid or enable, the relationship and the extent of its effect on the attainment of development by the SMEs. The study would also enable the SMEs to proactively respond to changes within the environment more effectively as well as enable them implement better business strategy for their operation and development. This study would enable stakeholders in SMEs to understand that employing all these strategies together would enable them achieve organizational growth and development.


Understanding from this study would enable the government to create better policies and regulation with regards to the research variables in a way to enable development and growth within the country’s economy and sector as well. Findings from this study will enable the society to be more informed and provide more knowledge with regards to entrepreneurial strategies as it relates to SMEs development. It would also provide more knowledge concerning entrepreneurial strategies and reveal what makes it to be entirely different from one SME firm to another.  Lastly, it is also hoped that these findings would contribute to the body of knowledge and stimulate more researcher’s interest in this field of study.

1.8          Operationalization of Variables

The variables of this study are operationalized as follows:

Y = f(X)

Y = Dependent Variable

X = Independent Variables


Y = SME Development

X = Entrepreneurial Strategies

Y = (y1, y2, y3, y4)

X = (x1, x2, x3, x4)


y1 = Return on Investment (ROI)

y2 = Employee Productivity (EP)

y3 = Market Share (MS)

y4 = Business Policy (BP)

x1 = Competitive Strategy (CS)

x2 = Human Resources Strategy (HRS)

x3 = Market Orientation Strategy (MOS)

x4 = Adaptation Strategy (AS)

y1= f (x1) …………………………………………. Equation 1

y2= f (x2) …………………………………………. Equation 2

y3= f (x3) …………………………………………. Equation 3

y4= f (x4) …………………………………………  Equation 4

Y=f (X) …………………………………………… Equation 5


The variables in Equation 1- 5 are the working Equations that were evaluated in this study.

y1 = a0 + β1x1 + e

y2 = a0 + β2x2 + e

y3 = a0 + β3x3 + e

y4 = a0 + β4x4+ e

Y = a0 + β1x1 + β2x2 + β3x3 + β4x4 + e


1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

The operational definitions of terms for this study are:

Entrepreneurial Strategy: is the means by which an organization establishes and re-establishes its fundamental set of relationships with its environment characterized by changes in the pattern of decisions taken by the organization.

Competitive Strategy: is defined as long term strategies taken to attract customers, withstand the competitive pressures of the market and also to help and strengthen the firm’s market position taken after evaluating its strengths and weaknesses compared to those of its competitors.

Human Resource Strategy: is a coordinated set of actions aimed at identifying current and future human resources needs in order to integrate an organizations, people, system and culture towards achieving the organizational goal.

Market Orientation Strategy: are business strategies that focus on identifying and meeting the stated or hidden needs or wants of customers through its product mix.

Adaptation Strategy:  is defined as the modification of strategies in a business to cope with cultural and demographic differences in the market to make it successful in situations different from originally anticipated.

SME Development: this refers to the growth of an SME with the systematic use of scientific and technical knowledge to meet specific objectives or requirements of the organization.

Return on Investment: this is a ratio that takes the firm’s profit for a given accounting period.

Employee productivity: this is defined as production attributable to staff with the least effort.

Market Share: this is the share of product or revenue held by a firm in a relevant market.

Business Policy: this is defined as plans or principles which guide the thinking and decision making and action of an organization.


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