The study attempts to investigate small business perceptions of Asia both from a 'direct' and 'indirect' perspective. From a strategic point of view, a "direct' perception of Asian markets is the more valuable. However, pressures building up in the Australian economy may in the near future force a conversion from an "indirect' to "direct' perspective throughout the community at large and small business in particular. In order to understand the strategic importance of small business it was first necessary to define its role within the economy. The next step is to outline various theoretical models which have the potential to provide an understanding of the role of small business within the context of national economic development. Chapters Four to Six contain a range of case studies drawn from the rural, manufacturing and service sectors. The aim of these chapters is to investigate the forces which either strengthen or weaken the formation of a national 'diamond', the difficulties associated with breaking into another country's cluster and the strategic responses of small businesses to the changing economic structures of the Asian region. Chapter Seven provides a literature review of the impediments to growth experienced by small firms and an examination of government policies which aim to facilitate the grasping of opportunities. However, in terms of knowledge and experience, a sharp dichotomy exists between exporting and non-exporting firms which is examined in Chapter Eight, The study concludes with a discussion of future strategic threats which have the potential to impact on small businesses.