This article explores the strategies pursued by small and medium-sized firms to actively sustain growth within declining markets. A critical analysis of relevant growth theories informs the development of a semi-structured interview schedule; findings drawn from 20 case studies indicate that firms adopt a multiple-strategy approach in which they simultaneously pursue an innovative differentiation and product or service-customisation strategy. Following this strategy, it was found that firms make an intentional search for high-margin products, avoid aggressive price competition and maintain tight control of costs. The article demonstrates that an adverse environment does not necessarily inhibit firm growth and that individual firm-specific strategies can be invoked to overcome volatile market conditions.
- Declining industries
- Small firms