This article aims to investigate the practice adopted by entrepreneurs regarding their use of consultants through the business life cycle.
A representative sample of Danish entrepreneurs was surveyed with response rates of 73 percent and 92 percent. The Danish GEM population survey was merged with own follow‐up surveys and statistically analyzed.
The survey results reveal that involvement of consultants increases as entrepreneurs move forward in the business life cycle. As entrepreneurs gain access to more resources, and as their problems become more fragmented, specialised, discrete and business oriented, the feasibility and benefit of consultant involvement becomes more viable. It was further found that older entrepreneurs have a higher tendency to involve consultants and that entrepreneurs mostly discuss economic and financial issues with consultants to whom they are mostly weakly connected.
Compared to other people in entrepreneurs' social networks, entrepreneurs mostly discuss financial issues with consultants with whom they are mostly relatively weakly connected.
It is suggested that a publicly‐supported advisory system should continue its effort in the early stages where entrepreneurs have only scarce resources. Further it is suggested that this advisory should be even more concentrated towards other issues than financial issues such as marketing, strategy, coordination, and specific opportunity development.
The research extends previous studies by integrating advisory literature and social network literature. The introduction of the business life cycle is also new. The results are based on a very solid research design.
Klyver, K. (2008), "The shifting consultant involvement", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 178-193. https://doi.org/10.1108/14626000810850919Download as .RIS
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