• Dr. Zainal Abu Zarim Academic Prof. & Deputy Dean, Graduate School of Management Multimedia University, MALAYSIA
  • Hafizah Omar Zaki Researcher, Graduate School of Management, Multimedia University, MALAYSIA
Keywords: Characteristics of Entrepreneurs, Success of a company, Key success factors, Malaysian SMEs


The SMEs Industry in Malaysia has expanded to almost every sector including manufacturing, services, agriculture, tourism, mining and quarry. Understanding the importance of retaining and expanding more entrepreneurs, this study had investigated success factors of entrepreneurial leaders at SME companies in Malaysia. The objective of this study is to analyze the success factors of entrepreneurs in the Malaysian SMEs. Data has been collected from top 50 SME award winning companies. The study has used the qualitative
approach,, where interviews are dispersed on these selected companies. We administered some questions based on key characteristics of an entrepreneur, as well some structured questions to determine a successful of a company. The result shows that, entrepreneurs are confident, determine, diligent, flexible, responsive to challenges, responsible, foresight, courageous, aggressive, and committed. Consistent to this, several elements that makes the company successful includes (1) strong financial control, (2) continuous improvement, (3) product quality and product safety as top priority, (4) hard work and team work, and (5) eagerness in taking challenges. These results has deemed that entrepreneurs in many aspects are also leaders that are risk averse and determine, and are eager to work on continuous improvement in a financially strong company.


Download data is not yet available.


Carland, J. W., Hoy, F., Boulton, W. R., & Carland, J. A. C. “Differentiating entrepreneurs from small business owners: A conceptualization,” Academy of management review, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 354-359, 1984. DOI:

Cunningham, J. B., & Lischeron, J. “Defining entrepreneurship,” Journal of small business management, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 45-61, 1991.

Hornaday, J. A., & Aboud, J. “Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs,” Personnel Psychology, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 141-153, 1971. DOI:

Indarti, N., & Langenberg, M. “A Study of Factors Affecting Business Success among SMEs.” Empirical evidences from Indonesia, 2005.

MITI, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia, 2010.

Pelham, H. R., & Rothman, J. E. “The debate about transport in the Golgi—two sides of the same coin?,” Cell, vol. 102, no. 6, pp. 713-719, 2000. DOI:

Saleh, A. S., & Ndubisi, N. O. “An evaluation of SME development in Malaysia,” International Review of Business Research Papers, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1-14, 2006.

SMIDEC, Policies, Incentives, Programmes and Financial Assistance for SMEs in Malaysia, 2000.

SMIDEC, Policies, Incentives, Programmes and Financial Assistance for SMEs in Malaysia, 2004.

SME Corp Malaysia, Annual Report, 2013.

Storey, D. J. “Understanding the small business sector.” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, 1994.

Ucbasaran, D., Westhead, P., & Wright, M. “The focus of entrepreneurial research: contextual and process issues,” Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 57-80, 2001. DOI:

How to Cite
Zarim, D. Z., & Zaki, H. (2015). KEY SUCCESS FACTORS FOR MALAYSIAN SMES COMPANIES’ ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADER. International Journal of Engineering Technologies and Management Research, 2(1), 42-50.