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The study on SMEs in the Dutch graphical media and printing industry presents a thought-provoking exploration into the challenges faced by businesses at different life cycle stages.

GERASIMOS - 29-01-2024

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To what extent are different obstacles connected to the transition between the life cycle stages of the firm?

Publication date: 25-11-2021
Last change date: 25-04-2024
Uploader:  Brigitta Koppenol
Organisation:  Dienstencentrum

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5,0 average based on 1 reviews.

Keywords: SME , graphic media , print media, research, innovation , life cycle , development
Fields of knowlegde: Management, marketing, Other
Language: English


SMEs stand at the core of our economy. Their growth and survival is therefore vital for a flourishing economy. However, not all SMEs are able to survive let alone grow in today’s fast paced business world. This study investigates which obstacles have to be overcome by businesses to realize growth, mitigate decline and thus transition into the next life cycle stage. Obstacles considered in this research are related to the 4 life cycle stages: start-up, scale-up, maturity and decline. 1230 SMEs in the Dutch graphical media and printing industry were researched by way of an online questionnaire to obtain data. A total of 87 complete questionnaires were returned. The data does not lend support to any of the hypothesised obstacles linked to the life cycle stages. This is a surprising finding as previous literature has shown a clear link between obstacles and life cycle stages. The findings may help SMEs who are seeking to grow in a declining sector.

Learning outcomes

As for the entrepreneurs it is advisable that they keep educating themselves on the newest technologies and look for potential partnerships when necessary. Keeping a status-quo in a declining sector is hard enough but when combined with a pandemic, serious problems may occur. Thus, to mitigate decline of the firm it is necessary to stay active and keep innovating. Owner-managers might even need to consider moving from being a product focussed business to becoming a more service focussed business.

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