Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

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

School

Business Administration

Advisor

Diane Dusick

Abstract

Small businesses owned by women cease operations 11% more often than businesses owned by men. Women, who own over 37% of all businesses in the United States, contribute significantly to the 50% small business failure rate. The purpose of this multiple-case study was to explore strategies 5 women who own small businesses use to succeed in business beyond 5 years on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The theory of constraints was the conceptual framework. Data were collected through semistructured face-to-face interviews, websites, company documents, and archival records. Transcript review of interview response data was used to strengthen the credibility of the interview data. Three themes emerged: customer and employee relations, leadership, and strategic management. Customer and employee relations were the most important theme, and strategic management was the second most important. Strategic management was one of the main sources of growth in all the 5 participant's businesses. Participants discussed skills in managerial decisions and strategies to manage the day-to-day business operations that played an active role in entrepreneurship. Female small business owners identified strategies used to eliminate constraints that may have prohibited the business operation to succeed. The findings may inspire entrepreneurs to enhance their leadership skills, increase capacity to expand their small businesses, start new businesses, and explore entrepreneurial options. Social implications include the potential to serve as a guide that encourages female entrepreneurs to enhance their professional practices and to adopt new business strategies to make better strategic decisions.