An assessment of problems encountered by export oriented Small to Medium Enterprises (SMES) operating in the jewellery industry in Zimbabwe
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The general conclusion from literature on major problems faced by SMEs in the jewelry exporting sector are financial issues, poor management skills and marketing expertise, poor IT Infrastructure, unsupportive policies, lack of proper communication on strategies and limited implementation of strategies. Literature reveals that if the above are handled well, it results in organizations yielding improved sales, profitability, improved product offering, increased brand awareness as well as reduced costs. While this literature has been confined to some parts of the world and across various other industries, it is not so in the jewelry industry especially in Zimbabwe; therefore, the purpose of this research was to try and fill the research gap by doing an evaluation of the major problems, implications and key success factors in the fine jewelry industry of Zimbabwe. The research its findings, conclusions and potential applications were aimed at adding value for the policy makers in the country, the corporate world, and the academic community. This research was based on a survey done in the jewelry industries operating in precious stones and metals. Empirical data was obtained through questionnaires from management and staff. The respondents were taken across the board from directors, managers to non-managers. In-depth information was acquired from respondents through the use of structured and unstructured questions. The researcher employed a both quantitative and qualitative philosophy. Data displays in the form of content analytic summary tables and graphs were used in the analysis. The study found out that most of companies in the jewelry industry are poorly financed and in some cases funds are misused. Poor management skills, poor technology infrastructure and poor communication characterize most of them in the industry. The study also found that the staff complement in the industry is highly short of marketing expertise. There is limited implementation of marketing strategy and while the theoretical benefits are evident from the feeble marketing strategy implementation being done, the industry's products are still unknown in the market. The research validates the proposition that Lack of marketing expertise has a negative impact on business growth in SMEs in the jewelry exporting sector in Zimbabwe. The study recommends that educational authorities should look into making custom-made marketing, policy redrafting and operations qualifications for jewelry industry. Captains of the industry are recommended to send their staff for such trainings. It is further recommended that managers across companies in the v jewelry industry should embark on a full scale implementation of any new marketing and exporting strategies, with emphasis on control measures to check its effectiveness. The regulatory authorities should remove adverse licensing and policies to enable an environment where the industry can grow.