L-IFT’s methodology for SME diaries, like financial diaries, tracks SMEs over time through interviews every other week. SME diaries look at the SME from three perspectives:
i. the owner or manager
ii. an employee
iii. the customers
L-IFT’s SME diaries require the researcher to spend half a day at their SMEs every other week to interview the owner or manager, interview the employee or helper, and interview a couple of clients who happen to visit at that moment. The researcher also takes time to observe the SME and answer certain questions based on the observations.
The SME diaries interview with the owner or manager track the financial indicators of the SMEs, such as sales, costs, investments, and also looks at strategic aspects: development of new products, new customer segments, how the SME markets its products, how it may reach certain segments. The interview also discusses with the owner or manager about vision and plans for the near and far future.
The employee element in the SME diaries looks at employee satisfaction and human resources management from employee’s point of view and the employee’s perspective on the developments of the SME as a business.
The customer interviews record their satisfaction with the products, the way the sME treats them, how they compare the SME to competitors and what they perceive as strengths and weaknesses of the SMEs. The researcher’s observation of the SME will record issues about the building/location of the business, how customers are received and potentially about how products and prices are communicated.