Navigating the growth journey: Motivations and challenges

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of many economies, and they’re rapidly growing in importance worldwide. These businesses are crucial for economic development, job creation, and industry output. In Vietnam, they contribute significantly to the country’s GDP and employment. But, despite their economic significance, SMEs often face various challenges as they grow. In this article, we’ll delve into the unique motivations and challenges of Vietnamese entrepreneurs, particularly those in the public relations industry, as they navigate the complexities of business growth. Should you seek more details, you can download the original research article of this post here and here.

The Founders’ Dilemma: Control vs. Delegation

Starting a company is a significant commitment of time and resources, and it can be a daunting task. Understandably, much attention is given to the role of founders during the startup phase. However, as businesses grow, a surprising shift occurs. In many cases, the very founders who breathed life into their companies are viewed as potential liabilities. In Vietnam, entrepreneurs face distinct economic and business challenges compared to Western countries, influencing their decisions regarding their companies’ growth. This study explores how Vietnamese entrepreneurs approach the delegation of responsibilities and their motivations for doing so in the context of public relations agencies.

The key findings are as follows:

1. Willingness to Delegate

Vietnamese founders are open to the idea of delegation but often struggle to find the right individuals to entrust with their business operations. This study reveals that founders in the public relations industry are primarily practitioners who continue to be actively involved in client-oriented activities even after establishing their businesses. They tend to experience difficulties when transitioning to managerial roles due to a perceived lack of necessary skills. While many experts suggest delegation to professional managers to promote business growth, Vietnamese founders may choose to retain control or avoid external financing to maintain the existing company structure.

2. Motivations Beyond Growth

Surprisingly, most Vietnamese founders in public relations agencies are not primarily motivated by growth. Their entrepreneurial motivations are challenge-driven, and they belong to the “learning and earning” motivation cluster, which focuses on opportunities and challenges in running a business. Control or power is not their primary goal in starting a business. Instead, they prioritize providing high-quality services to clients.

3. Moderate Growth and Sustainability

Rather than pursuing high growth, the founders of public relations agencies in Vietnam prefer moderate growth and maintaining the small size of their firms. They believe that smaller companies are more manageable, less vulnerable to crises, and offer greater flexibility. This aligns with the idea that growth is not always the primary objective for these entrepreneurs.

4. Challenges in Finding the Right Talent

One of the most significant challenges faced by these founders is finding suitable individuals to delegate responsibilities to. The public relations industry in Vietnam is unique, and it’s hard to find talented professionals who can handle the specific demands of this field. Additionally, founders are often deeply attached to their agencies and struggle to find someone who can fully replace them.

5. The Role of Company Culture

Interestingly, participants in the study did not attribute their motivations and decisions to Vietnamese culture but rather to company culture. The culture of their respective companies played a significant role in recruiting staff and choosing individuals to delegate responsibilities to.

Final Thoughts

SMEs are vital players in any economy, and understanding their motivations, challenges, and growth strategies is crucial for their success. In the case of Vietnam, where SMEs contribute significantly to the nation’s economic well-being, this study provides valuable insights for both entrepreneurs and researchers. It sheds light on the journey of these founders and offers practical recommendations to navigate the complexities of business growth.


Ly-Le, T. M. (2023). The entrepreneurial journey in Vietnam’s public relations industry: The motivation, the role, the challenges. Journal of Management Development, 42(1), 76-90.
Ly-Le, T. M. (2023). Motivations and challenges in small business start-ups: A glance at Vietnam’s public relations industry. Athens Journal of Business & Economics, 9(1), 91-108.

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