Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Patricia Fusch


According to the U.S. Small Business Association, the failure rates for small businesses in 2014 were as high as 50% to 80% within the first 5 years of establishment. The purpose for this multiple case study was to explore the strategies that small business owners have used to sustain their businesses beyond 5 years. Guided by entrepreneurship theory as the conceptual framework, and a purposive sampling method, this qualitative case study used semistructured interviews with 3 successful, small, ethnic grocery business owners in Anchorage, AK to better understand small business strategies for survival. Member checking and triangulation with field notes, interview data, business websites, customer comments, and government documents helped ensure theoretical saturation and trustworthiness of interpretations. Using pre-coded themes for the data analysis, the 8 themes from this study were entrepreneur characteristics, education and management skills, financial planning, marketing strategies and competitive advantages, social networks and human relationships, technology and innovation, government supports and social responsibility, and motivational influence. Two key results indicated the strategies needed for small business owners were entrepreneur management skills and government support for small businesses. These findings may influence positive social change by improving small business owner competence and sustainability, rising higher business incomes, providing a better quality of life to employees and their communities welfare benefiting the entire U.S. economy.