Entrepreneurship for Micro and Small Businesses in Greece. Weaknesses and threats for Micro and Small Businesses in Greece during the crisis. How to overcome the crisis and survive
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Micro and Small firms are the backbone of any country’s economy. Especially for Greece, they reach the 99.6% of total firms, the 56.2% of total added-value and the 76% of total employment. The aim of this dissertation is to identify weaknesses and difficulties which affect performance of micro and small firms during the crisis and establish a “best practice” toolkit which can be used by either the entrepreneur or the service provider in order to change the “business plan” and search for alternative solutions. Many efforts have been made to minimize the administrative barriers for creating a new business and many support programs have been initiated to facilitate the financing of the first stages of business life-cycle. For the next stages however, entrepreneurs and small business owners seem not to be supported, since the guiding principle of “think small first” for all policy measures which requires policy makers to take SMEs interests into account at the early stages of the policy-making process is still underperforming and mentoring, helpdesks and early warning systems are not in place yet according to European Commission. This Thesis is structured in four chapters. In the first chapter named “Introduction” the research’ purpose and questions are presented as well as introductory data regarding Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) definition, figures and comparison EU with Greece. In the second chapter named “Literature Review”, Entrepreneurship in general and distinctions between Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners are described in the first part of the chapter. Determinants of Small Business success or failure as well as growth and performance according to Literature Review and already applied supporting practices are presented in the second part. In the third chapter named “Research and Analysis”, methodology chosen- questionnaire addressed to Micro & Small firms- and variables to be investigated based on a multidimensional concept, are in the first part of this chapter. In the second part, the questions are described as well as analysis of the responses and possible conclusions. In the fourth and last chapter, the research’ conclusions are presented as well as limitations and future research’ possibilities. Micro and Small firms, although many of them suffered over the last 5 years of the crisis by a reduction in their firms’ turnover, their owners are neutral and moderately optimistic about the future of their firms’ operations. Although they do not resist to changes for improvements on firm’s operations, an absence on formal planning tools like cash flow, sales forecast and competition analysis appears. Uncertainty through Broader economic conditions, Regulation and Financing Needs impact their firms by Reduction in Sales and Cash flow problems. “Loss of a hard won standard of living” impact should not be underestimated. Sample Firms experience learnings through critical learning incidents and it should be at their benefit if these learnings could be also shared among other firms’ owners through mentoring institutions. Accountants are preferred by Micro firms as first source of business advice while Bankers are not. Personal networks are in place but they do not seem strong. Finally, Accountants, although most of them probably deliver their statutory obligations of their firms-clients, should improve their service offering providing a detailed and advisory feedback on their firms-clients’ operations, establishing loyalty relationships with their firms-clients and managing to differentiate.