Small Business Network Collaboration: A Matter of Survival

Small businesses have enough trouble getting started without having to worry about international competition. Legitimate concerns exist about international markets and anyone founding a new business should consider these concerns. For example, much concern exists around the world about corporate social responsibility and the need for more transparency.

Consumers see a lack of corporate social responsibility and transparency. Small businesses can play a major role in filling this void. Weltzien-Hoivik and Shankar (2011) proposed using a network model for small businesses to promote social responsibility in clusters. Weltzien-Hoivik and Shankar suggested small businesses can have a major influence on multinational companies by collaborative efforts working in a cluster with other small businesses.

Similarly, small business founders need more market intelligence to improve their ability to innovate. Mercan and Tünen (2011) highlighted the importance of innovation and argued working alone is no longer an choice because of the cost. Through collaboration, cooperation, coordination, and sharing knowledge, networks can create a setting aiding small businesses survival.

Another issue is how small business can harvest such intelligence. Ceccagnoli, Forman, Huang, and Wu (2012) showed how enterprise software benefits small businesses in a collaborative setting by harvesting and sharing information and lowering the cost of a system not otherwise available to small businesses.

These are just some of the benefits of small business networking. Small firms need flexibility to foster innovation and cooperation, and collaboration improves this ability. Increased collaboration expands the market for participants in a network. A small business can hold down costs and share risks in a collaborative network. Small firms can share knowledge from technology not available to them on their own. Members of a small business network build trust and mutual confidence (Mercan & Tünen, 2011).

Small business networks help foster the health and welfare of society. Members of small business networks build relations and are accountable to a wider range of stakeholders (Weltzien-Høivik & Shankar, 2011).    Learn more.

Do you view small business networks as a matter of survival? What other benefits can you think of benefiting members of small business networks? What is important to your business?


Ceccagnoli, M., Forman, C., Huang, P., & Wu, D. J. (2012). Cocreation of value in a platform ecosystem: The case of enterprise software. MIS Quarterly, 36(1), 263-290. Retrieved from

 Mercan, B., & Tünen, T. (2011). Innovative Networks for SME’s: Case of Konya Automotive Supply Industry. European Journal of Economics, Finance & Administrative Sciences, (32), 80-94. Retrieved from

Weltzien-Høivik, H., & Shankar, D. (2011). How can SMEs in a cluster respond to global demands for corporate responsibility? [Article]. Journal of Business Ethics, 101(2), 175-195. doi: 10.1007/s10551-010-0708-6

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