Small Business Economics

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 51–62 | Cite as

Identifying Success Factors for Rapid Growth in SME E-commerce

  • Sylvie Feindt
  • Judith Jeffcoate
  • Caroline Chappell


With high unemployment rates and major companies downsizing, SME policy has started to move centre stage. The small business job-creation thesis can be traced to David Birch, who placed great emphasis on the job generation process of very rapidly growing businesses he termed Gazelles: "In fact most firms don't grow. Gazelles do. And that is only 3% of all small companies." This paper focuses on the baby gazelles of the Internet economy. It looks at critical success factors that fast growing E-commerce ventures need to take into account in the start-up phase. Based on the results of the EU project KITE, the article demonstrates links between critical success factors, and highlights the competitive advantage deriving from the application of a certain critical success factor. It will compare the critical success factors identified for high growth E-commerce ventures in the start-up phase in KITE with research into the success of high growth companies in general.


Unemployment Rate Small Business Success Factor High Unemployment Small Company 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Birch, D., 1979, Job Generation Process, Cambridge, MA: Joint Center for Neighbourhood and Regional Development, MIT.Google Scholar
  2. Burns, P., 1996, ‘Introduction: The Significance of Small Firms’, in P. Burns and J. Dewurst (eds.), Small Business and Entrepreneurship, second edition, Macmillan Press Ltd., pp. 1-19.Google Scholar
  3. Burns, P. and J. Harrison, 1996, ‘Growth’, in P. Burns and J. Dewurst (eds.), Small Business and Entrepreneurship, second edition, Macmillan Press Ltd., pp. 1-19.Google Scholar
  4. Chappell, C. and S. Feindt, 2000, ‘Analysis of E-commerce practice in SMEs’, Communications and Strategies, No. 37, 1st trimester.Google Scholar
  5. Chappell, C., S. Feindt and J. Jeffcoate, Gazelles and Gophers: SME Recommendations for Successful Internet Business, November, http://www.kite.tsa.deGoogle Scholar
  6. Churchill, N. C. and V. L. Lewis, 1983, ‘Five Stages of Small Business Growth’, Harvard Business Review (May/June).Google Scholar
  7. European Innovation Monitoring System (EIMS) (1996), Review of Studies on Innovative Fast Growing SMEs, EIMS Publication No. 42, May.Google Scholar
  8. European Observatory for SMEs, Sixth Report, Executive Summary, July 2000.Google Scholar
  9. Greiner, L. E., 1998, ‘Evolution and Revolution as Organisations Grow’, Harvard Business Review (May/June) (republication of an article that appeared in the July/August 1972 issue of HBR).Google Scholar
  10. Hay, M., 1994, ‘Barriers to Small Firm Growth’, in W. D. Bygrave et al. (eds.), Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, Wellesley, MA: Babson College, pp. 288-300.Google Scholar
  11. Haynes, P. J., R.C. Becherer and M. M. Helms, 1998, ‘Small and Mid-sized Businesses and Internet Use: Unrealized Potential?’, Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy 8(3).Google Scholar
  12. Hopkins, M., 1997, Help Wanted, Inc., Vol. 19, Issue 7, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  13. Müller, R., 1999, ‘Erfolgsfaktoren kleiner und mittlerer Softwareproduktunternehmen’, Zeitschrift für Klein-und Mittelunternehmen 47(4).Google Scholar
  14. Perren, L., 2000, ‘Factors in the Growth of Micro-enterprises (Part 2): Exploring the Implications’, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 7(1).Google Scholar
  15. Poon, S. and P. M. C. Swatman, 1997, ‘Small Business Use of the Internet’, International Marketing Review 14(5).Google Scholar
  16. Porter, M. E., 1980, Competitive Strategy, New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  17. Porter, M. E., 1984, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  18. Rockart, J. F., 1979, ‘Chief Executives Define Their Own Data Needs’, Harvard Business Review (March/April).Google Scholar
  19. SME Policy Unit, Ministry of Economic Affairs, 1999, High Growth Companies in the Netherlands, January.Google Scholar
  20. The Economist, 1999, A Survey of Business and the Internet. The Net Imperative, June 26th.Google Scholar
  21. Yeh-Yun Lin, C., 1998, ‘Success Factors of Small-and Medium-sized Enterprises in Taiwan: An Analysis of Cases’, Journal of Small Business Management 36(4), 43-56.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvie Feindt
    • 1
  • Judith Jeffcoate
    • 2
  • Caroline Chappell
    • 3
  1. 1.Sylvie Feindt ConsultingKolnGermany
  2. 2.Department of Information SystemsUniversity of BuckinghamUK
  3. 3.The Trefoyle PartnershipCanterburyUK

Personalised recommendations