Investigating the success factors of small and medium-sized enterprises in sustaining business operations during COVID-19

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Nik Puteri Nur Anis Noor Azmi, Nadiah Abd Hamid ORCID logo, Zarinah Abdul Rasit ORCID logo, Saifulrizan Norizan, Nor Atikah Shafai ORCID logo

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The upheaval caused by the spread of COVID-19 made a devastating effect on businesses, especially small businesses. A huge number of small businesses cannot survive within 3 months of an economic shutdown (Ligouri & Pittz, 2020); however, some survive and maintain their business operation. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the success factors in sustaining the business operation. Specifically, the intention is to investigate what are the important factors leading small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia to be able to survive and drive their business operation during the COVID-19 pandemic. A qualitative approach was employed, data was collected through interviews, and seven business owners were identified through the purposive sampling method (Tongco, 2007). The findings revealed that most SMEs are disrupted by the pandemic and struggling for funding to survive in the business. In addition, entrepreneurs adapted to the new business model and utilized the digital platform manage to survive. Moreover, continuous financial support from the government, although meant for the short term is beneficial. The findings are vital as they can be used in assisting the government to create more effective and relevant programs to assist homegrown SMEs.

Keywords: Government Assistance, SME, COVID-19, Business Operation, Entrepreneurs, Digital Platform

Authors’ individual contribution: Conceptualization — N.P.N.A.N.A. and N.A.H.; Methodology — N.A.H., Z.A.R., and S.N.; Writing — N.P.N.A.N.A., Z.A.R., S.N., and N.A.S.; Resources — N.P.N.A.N.A., Z.A.R., S.N., and N.A.S.; Supervision — N.A.H. and Z.A.R.

Declaration of conflicting interests: The Authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

JEL Classification: M21, G34

Received: 04.08.2022
Accepted: 23.06.2023
Published online: 26.06.2023

How to cite this paper: Noor Azmi, N. P. N. A., Hamid, N. A., Rasit, Z. A., Norizan, S., & Shafai, N. A. (2023). Investigating the success factors of small and medium-sized enterprises in sustaining business operations during COVID-19. Corporate Governance and Organizational Behavior Review, 7(3), 165–176.