Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

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

School

Business Administration

Advisor

Lynn Szostek

Abstract

Small businesses are vital to the health of the United States economy, as they account for approximately 50% of all jobs and 99% of all firms. Historically, there has been a problem with small businesses being able to sustain their operation beyond 10 years. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the business strategies some small business owners used to sustain their company beyond 10 years of operation. The sample consisted of 3 small business owners who have been in operation for 10 or more years in Birmingham, Alabama. The conceptual framework for this study was the general systems theory. The data were collected from semistructured interviews, profit and loss statements, and cash flow statements. Transcript review and member checking were completed to strengthen credibility and trustworthiness. Based on the methodological triangulation of the data sources collected, 3 emergent themes were identified after completing the 5 stages of data analysis: (a) great customer service, (b) building relationships, and (c) finding your passion. The findings from this study may contribute to social change by providing insights and strategies for small business owners in creating and operating a sustainable business. The data from this study may contribute to increased job creation, improved local communities through tax revenues, and decreased unemployment rates throughout the United States.