Author(s): Shepherd Dhliwayo
The purpose of the study was to establish the relationship between growth dimensions and different periods of operating among a sample of 167 small businesses. Data was collected through a self-administered questionnaire from entrepreneurs trained at a Centre for Entrepreneurship of a South African University. The growth dimensions were; strategic, structural, organisational and financial. The periods of operating were; less than 5 years, 6-10 years, and 11 to 20 years. Results show that different dimensions of growth are prevalent in small businesses and that these dimensions differ according to the period a business has been operating. Different interventions and skill sets are recommended at the alternative periods of firm operations. The longer the period operating, the higher the chances of the business experiencing qualitative growth, which enhance the survival endeavours of the enterprise. Though a number of studies have looked at firm growth, the focus has been more on the measures of growth other than “the aspect that is growing”. This study’s focus is on “what is growing” at different times of the ventures’ life span. Wickham’s (2001), growth aspects are empirically validated and juxtaposed with the stages theory to form the theoretical underpinning of the study.