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Abstract

Small-business owners represent 99.9% of all U.S. employer firms, employ 48% of the private sector employees, and provide 41.2% of the total U.S. private payroll. However, 50% of new small-business startups fail within the first 5 years of operation. The purpose of this multiple-case study was to explore strategies three small-business coffee shop owners in Duval County, Florida, used to succeed in business beyond 5 years. Three themes emerged from semistructured interviews and methodological triangulation via websites, social media, and site visits: (a) owner networking and designing the business site as a customer networking venue, (b) business plan effectiveness in identifying and addressing initial challenges and subsequent changes, and (c) achieving marketing differentiation.

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