Systemic influence between barriers to the success of small businesses: a perspective from North West Nigeria

Suleiman, M.S., 2018. Systemic influence between barriers to the success of small businesses: a perspective from North West Nigeria. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

Mustapha Shitu Suleiman 2019 THESIS.pdf - Published version

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Small businesses are vital economic catalysts in developing nations because of their flexibility and innovative capacity to propel business activities that lead to economic development, especially in nations with significant unemployment rates, low levels of income distribution, and regional and local development challenges. However, small businesses in developing nations such as Nigeria are failing in their quest to achieve success and have an impact on the economy because of certain barriers. Therefore, this thesis aims to examine the influence between barriers to the success of small businesses in North West Nigeria from the perspective of owner-managers.


The research framework used emanated from a systematic literature review, where forty-one concerns that contribute to the creation of a barrier were identified and used to develop a conceptual framework that grouped the concerns under eight common barriers: infrastructure, education, finance, regional culture, regulatory and corruption, strategic management, entrepreneur lifestyle, and enterprise operation. The framework was empirically investigated using a mixed method, which incorporated the quantitative and qualitative approaches. The mixed method was used to avoid common bias and to provide clarity to the survey from an individual perspective. To provide a detailed understanding of the barriers associated with the success of small businesses from the perspective of owner-managers in North West Nigeria, a survey questionnaire of 518 owner-managers of existing small businesses identified through a registered list from SMEDAN, was used to validate the developed conceptual framework and formulated hypotheses. Following the quantitative phase, face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with selected owner-managers of failed/closed small businesses, through snow balling, to explore their experiences and beliefs with regards to barriers to small business success.

Findings and implications

The study found that there was a significant negative correlation between all the identified barriers and the success of small businesses. Findings suggests that concerns contributing to the creation of infrastructure, strategic management, regional culture, entrepreneur lifestyle, education, and regulatory & corruption, finance, and enterprise operation barriers, reduce the chances of small business success in North West Nigeria.

Additionally, findings shows the ranking of barriers by owner-managers based on their perception of the barrier that has the most influence on the success of their businesses. Additionally, findings shows the level of influence the barriers have on success, which is either low or medium. Based on the findings, the initial conceptual framework was developed into an improved systemic diagram, to show the ranking and influence between the barriers as they reduce the chances of success for small businesses in North West Nigeria.

The improved systemic diagram could serve as a guide to inform future decision-making by small business stakeholders towards improving the success of businesses. Particularly, it will improve the understanding of owner-managers that for the business to succeed, they need to understand the barriers and how they can be linked to influence the chances of success. For example, having financial discipline and proper records (enterprise operation) could improve the chances to access credit (finance). Further, findings from this research drew other significant implications that could be used to appreciate the impact of specific policies and measures on other elements, such as government support targeting specific areas for allocation/improving of resources that could improve the chances of small business success. In addition, financial institutions can use the findings to assess the performance of small businesses before extending loans.

Originality and value

This study is based on empirical evidence and it is the only study to the best of the researcher’s knowledge in the context of Nigeria that explore in a systematic way the barriers to the success of small businesses from the perspective of owner-managers. This study adds to our understanding of the barriers to small businesses by developing an improved systemic diagram showing the influence between barriers to the success of small businesses based on the perspective of owner-managers. The improved systemic diagram could be modelled in other contexts to develop bespoke diagrams and simulation models that would help in examining the barriers hindering the success of businesses.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Suleiman, M.S.
Date: May 2018
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the Mustapha Shitu Suleiman. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries and requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 10 Apr 2019 14:11
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2019 14:11

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