Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

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

School

Business Administration

Advisor

Denise L. Land

Abstract

Small businesses owned by military veterans represent a source of new jobs, yet more than half of these businesses fail to survive beyond 5 years. These failures could lead to efforts to identify strategies that owners can use to avoid failure. The conceptual framework applied in this case study was the triple-loop learning theory. The purposive sampling included 7 military veterans who were small business owners who had sustained their small businesses more than 5 years. Data were collected using semistructured interviews and organization documents. Yin's 5-step process for data analysis compiling, disassembling, reassembling, interpreting, and concluding resulted in 4 emergent themes: networking to build the business, mentoring and informal education for ongoing education, identifying gaps of competitors, and maintaining low overhead and operating costs. Military veteran business owners engaged in networking, which led to growth, sustainability, and building relationships. The key concepts discussed by all 7 participants formed the basis of entrepreneurial learning. The results of this study could benefit industry by increasing an income that affords sustainability to the military veteran business owner. Such owners could apply strategies to reduce small business failures and thus contribute to the stable employment of owners and employees. This study could contribute to social change by improving the standard of living in veteran communities as well as improving local and state economies.