The purpose of this paper is to examine how business owners in microbusinesses perceive success and how that perception may influence the growth of their enterprise.
The results of three separate studies were analysed. The data were collected with questionnaires and interviews among microbusinesses in the industries of craft and rural tourism in the area of North Karelia, Eastern Finland. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used in the analysis.
The paper found that the motives and goals of the small business owners were not oriented towards growth, but to quality of life, job satisfaction and satisfied clientele. Consequently, business success was measured by the respect and satisfaction of the customers, job satisfaction and the quality of product. From an economic perspective, making a reasonable living, not growth, constituted a measure of success.
Generalisation is affected by the fact that the study concerns two individual industries in a small geographical area.
For policy makers, the study offers insight into the factors that affect the behaviour and decision‐making of the microbusiness entrepreneurs and, thus, the performance of their enterprise.
The study contributes to theory development by examining the little studied possible conflicts between financial and personal measures of success.
Reijonen, H. (2008), "Understanding the small business owner: what they really aim at and how this relates to firm performance: A case study in North Karelia, Eastern Finland", Management Research News, Vol. 31 No. 8, pp. 616-629. https://doi.org/10.1108/01409170810892172
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