Competitive strategies applied by small and medium-sized firms in Mombasa County, Kenya
Today's business operating environment is characterised by dynamism that calls for constant adjustments of all business functions, strategies and alignment of the same to ensure sustainable growth of organisations. Despite these changes, SMEs, in an attempt to remain competitive in this kind of environment have opted to applying various competitive strategies to ensure that they are not pushed out of business by their competitors and larger-sized firms. This study sought to reveal in chapter one, the various competitive strategies that SMEs in Mombasa County apply in ensuring that they stay ahead of their competitors and other larger sized firms. The study, in chapter one, explains the competitive strategy concept, the context of SMEs competitive strategies in Kenya and particularly in Mombasa County and the various definitions of SMEs in Kenya and worldwide. Chapter two, explored the various theories that explain competitive strategy of firms, covering the resource-based view, game theory and Porter's generic competitive strategies in detail. It also covers the various competitive strategies that are applied by firms, as well as the various challenges faced by SMEs and the factors that affect their choice of competitive strategies. Chapter three covers the research methodology used with explanations on the research design that was used, the population of the study, the sampling design, the data collection methods and tools and the data analysis and presentation that was used by the researcher. Chapter four covered the various findings of the study that were presented in figures and scatter diagrams, while chapter five gave the summary of the study findings, conclusions and recommendations. The study revealed that SMEs in Mombasa County applied mostly differentiation strategies as well as innovative cost-reduction strategies to ensure efficiency, as well as revealing the challenges of SME competitiveness in Mombasa County, whereby competition, lack of access to external finance, lack of capital and credit were the most pressing challenges among others. The study also revealed that financial and economic factors as well as the firms' resources or capabilities, greatly affect the choice of competitive strategy among other factors. The researcher recommended that policies and mechanisms have to be put in place to ensure that SMEs overcome these pressing challenges in order to succeed in growth sustainably.