Factors Impacting the Export Performance of SMEs: An Exploratory Developing Country Study
The decrease in the export performance of Zimbabwean SMEs provides clear justification for re-thinking export marketing strategies. The literature highlights that for firms to perform better in the dynamic global environment, they need develop ‘market-driven’ strategies. This exploratory study examines the relationship between various market driven strategies and export performance of select manufacturing SMEs. From regression and correlation analysis of the data collected from a convenience stratified sample of 332 SME owner-managers, four policy makers and four export analysists, it was ascertained that various internal (customer focus, organizational capability and cross-functional co-operation) and external (market characteristics, industry characteristics, technology and market turbulence) factors do impact the export performance of manufacturing SMEs, albeit some not significantly. Thus, owner-managers of manufacturing SMEs need to be cognizant of the factors and incorporate them into any strategy aimed at improving export performance.
Keywords - SMEs; Zimbabwe; Marketing; Exporting