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AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE MANAGERIAL COMPETENCIES REQUIRED FOR SMALL BUSINESS SUCCESS Elmarie Venter University of Port Elizabeth Shelley van Eeden University of Port Elizabeth Taryn King University of Port Elizabeth Contact Person Elmarie Venter Department of Business Management University of Port Elizabeth PO Box 1600 Port Elizabeth 6000 Tel 27 41 504 2875 Fax 27 41 5832644 ecaeev upe ac za Eighty percent of all new small businesses fail in their first five years Allen 2000 20 Why do small businesses fail 2003 1 and it has been proven time and again that the main cause of business failure is the incompetent management of a business Smith 1999 28 29 ABSTRACT The failure rate of SMEs lies between 70 and 80 Barron 2000 1 Moodie 2003 9 Ryan 2003 13 Although small businesses fail due to a variety of reasons arising from the macro market and micro environments a problem that is often cited as a major contributor to failure is managerial incompetence and lack of business skills Bekker and Staude 1988 503 Marx van Rooyen Bosch and Reynders 1998 732 More than 90 percent of entrepreneurial failure is attributed to lack of abilities to perform managerial functions Glueck 1980 65 Limited skills in management 1998 1 The objective of this study was to identify the management competencies possessed by small business owner managers in the Nelson Mandela Metropole A quantitative research design based on the positivistic paradigm was used A judgemental sample of 242 small businesses in the Nelson Mandela Metropole was utilised The empirical results indicated that the managerial competencies evident in successful small businesses are planning and administration strategic action and selfmanagement balance INTRODUCTION The small and medium sized enterprise SME sector has been described by the South African government as having enormous economic potential and because of this the government has become increasingly committed to the promotion and growth of this sector Budget speech 2001

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