SME Growth: The Relationship with Business Advice and External Collaboration
The paper presents multivariate analysis of the relationship of SME growth with the acquisition of external business advice, whilst controlling for the influence of SME characteristics of age, manufacturing/services, high technology, innovator, level of skill of the workforce, exporter and number of competitors. The relationship of external business advice with SME performance is statistically significant for only a small number of sources and fields. Obtaining external advice in fields such as business strategy and staff recruitment is associated with positive firm performance. The main positive relationships of advice and performance are dominated by private sector sources such as lawyers, suppliers, customers and business friends/relatives. Collaborative arrangements with suppliers nationally/internationally have a strong positive relationship with employment and turnover growth; collaboration with local suppliers has a strong positive relationship with growth in profitability. There is little evidence of statistically significant relationships between government-backed providers of business advice such as Business Link and firm performance. Copyright 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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