Strategy content and process (strategic planning) is widely considered to be one of the factors that contribute to small firm’s growth. Studying strategic processes in growth-oriented firms therefore contributes to our understanding of the growth process which on the other hand bears broader economic relevance in terms of growth-oriented firms being a major source of job creation. The study sought to establish the Influence of Strategic Planning on Growth of Women Owned Micro and Small Enterprises in Kenya. Specifically, the study sought to determine the influence of: Organizational envisioning, environmental awareness, strategy options, and planning instruments on growth of Women owned Micro and Small Enterprises at Kibuye market kisumu county, Kenya. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. The target population included women owners/managers of enterprises at Kibuye market, Kisumu County, Kenya. Stratified random sampling technique was used to establish and access the study sample of 167 respondents. Primary and secondary data was collected. Primary data was collected by structured questionnaires. Secondary data was collected from relevant government institutional documents and publications in referred journals. The collected data was edited, coded and entered into SPSS version 16.0 software for analysis. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. In particular, Regression Analysis was used to investigate the relationships between hypothesized variables. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to investigate whether independent variables had combined effect on the dependent variable. The study found out that MSE owners have a vision in their minds but not shared amongst organizational members. This is reflected in their lack of a well stated and communicated vision, mission and value statements. However, the study found enterprise owners/managers to be well aware of the prevailing environment. The study also found that MSE’s tend to rely on differentiation and focus/niche business strategy more than on cost leadership and innovation strategies. The study further established that about three quarter of entrepreneurs reported to not having any planning instrument. In conclusion, the study provides evidence that strategic planning does influence growth of MSE. The study recommends institutional support to this sector in the form of business development services to motivate this sector to grow. The study also recommends to MSE through their associations to build networks both internally and externally to help members learn best practices for sustainable growth.
Key words: Strategic planning, Firm growth, Micro and Small Enterprises