Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)




Michael Ewald


Small business owners bolster the emergence and growth of local communities. However, many small businesses do not survive beyond 5 years. Based on systems theory, the purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the strategies used by small business owners to develop and maintain viable and long-lasting businesses. Using a multiple case study design, semistructured interviews were conducted with 6 retail business owners in DeKalb County, Georgia who were able to develop and maintain viable and long-lasting businesses. These small business owners provided detailed information on strategies used to sustain their businesses. Semistructured interviews allowed for in-depth conversations with each participant. The use of field notes, as well as member checking of interview transcripts, facilitated the verification and triangulation of key themes. Three prominent themes emerged from the thematic analysis of data collected from the interviews: assessing capital, providing good customer service, and choosing a good location. The respondents' strategies provide guidance for small business owners hoping to stay in business for the long-term. New and existing small business owners may benefit from the study by expanding knowledge gained from successful strategies; thereby, contributing to job creation and business growth in local economies.