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Start-Up Size Strategy and Risk Management: Impact on New Venture Performance

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  • André van Stel
  • Andrew Burke
  • José Maria Millán
  • Concepcion Roman

Abstract

Start-up size is a key strategic decision for entrepreneurs. Should entrepreneurs start up close to minimum efficient scale or should they take less risks and start-up on a smaller scale? Previously, this strategic decision appeared to be one of simply making a choice between a higher risk/reward larger start-up versus a lower risk/reward smaller scale start-up. However, recent research on the relationship between risk management and performance (Burke, 2009) indicates that in situations of greater uncertainty and where innovation is incremental, a lower risk small start-up size can enable greater reward through enhanced post start-up flexibility and agility. In this paper we provide the first statistical test of the efficacy of start-up size strategies. We focus on employer businesses that provide jobs. We find that employer businesses that originally adopted a small scale (own-account) start-up strategy have higher survival chances and entrepreneurial incomes than employer businesses that employed personnel immediately from start-up. We also find that prior entrepreneurial experience positively affects firm survival and entrepreneurial incomes. Given the high failure rates among start-ups and the associated difficulty for new enterprises to create sustainable jobs, the research results highlight how strategic choice in relation to firm start-up size and risk management can have an important bearing on new venture performance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EIM Business and Policy Research in its series Scales Research Reports with number H201207.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 10 Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eim:papers:h201207

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References

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  1. Evans, David S., 1986. "The Relationship Between Firm Growth, Size, and Age: Estimates for 100 Manufacturing Industries," Working Papers 86-33, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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  16. José Millán & Emilio Congregado & Concepción Román, 2012. "Erratum to: Determinants of self-employment survival in Europe," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 259-263, February.
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  19. Parker,Simon C., 2009. "The Economics of Entrepreneurship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521899604, November.
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