SMEs and strategic management : tools and methods to fill the gap

/ Olga Annushkina, Luana Carcano, Ugo Lassini, Federico Visconti. - Milano : McGraw-Hill [etc.], c2012. - xi, 167 p. ; 24 cm. - ISBN 978-88-386-7338-2.

All SMEs come to a turning point at some time in their life cycle: at such times firms strategic positioning in the competitive arena becomes a key determinant of its long-term sustainable performance; it also distinguishes one type of entrepreneurs from another.

Today more than ever, SMEs are urged to spend more time “managing strategy” and to develop resources and competences of strategic management. The book proposes methods and tools that allow them to analyse the existing strategy, to control the performances and to evaluate the direction of the development.



1. SMEs: their distinctive features and their role in modern economies1
1.1 The importance of SMES in the international economic context2
1.2 The definition: quantitative parameters6
1.3 The definition: qualitative elements8
1.4 The role of the entrepreneur13
1.5 Small and medium enterprises: a concise model16
2. Stay or grow?21
2.1 Asking the key question: stay or grow?22
2.2 Asking the key question: industry analysis24
2.3 Avoiding the key question: decide not to decide34
2.4 Assessing the key question: deciding to stay37
2.4.1 The segmentation matrix38
2.4.2 The large firm-SME cooperation matrix41
2.5 Assessing the key question: deciding to grow45
2.5.1 Do I grow alone or with other firms?47
2.4.2 Strategic determinants of increases in earnings48
2.6 The consequences of the decision to grow: organizational (r)evolution52
3 Mastering the niche61
3.1 Design a successful focalized strategy62
3.2 The key strategic decisions65
3.2.1 What distinguishes the firm from competitors?66
3.2.2 What is the right level of strategic autonomy?70
3.2.3 What is the right level of innovation?73
3.3 Execute to succeed75
3.3.1 Leading an International niche76
3.3.2 Excellence in experimenter strategy78
3.3.3 Top end competitive posItioning81
3.3.4 Excellence as specialists84
3.3.5 Leader in technology-Intensive industries85
3.4 Conditions for sustainability: mastering the niche in the long run88
4 SMEs: growth management91
4.1 The growth process92
4.2 The internationalization of SMEs: directions, opportunities and threats100
4.3 Planning the foreign market(s) entry103
4.4The implementation of growth strategies106
4.5 Managerial and organizational implications growth110
4.6 Sustainable growth: the financial perspective113
5 Network for success125
5.1 Design a network strategy for success126
5.2 Getting actively involved with external organizations128
5.3 Leveraging strategic collaborations131
5.4 Engaging in organizational networks134
5.5 Taking advantage of territorially based networks138
5.5.1 Industrial clusters138
5.5.2 Participating in science, technological and industrial parks142
5.6 Successfully executing a network strategy143
6 The ecosystem for the development of SMEs149
6.1 The key components of the ecosystem150
6.2 The contribution of the main institutional players154
6.3 Policies for the development of SMEs157