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Abstract

Small businesses are vital to the health of the U.S. 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 operations beyond 10 years. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, when averaged across all industries, approximately 75% of new businesses failed within the first 5 years. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the business strategies some small business owners use to sustain their company beyond 10 years of operation. Data were gathered through semistructured interviews and a review of financial documents with a purposive sample of eight small business owners. Transcript reviews and member checking were completed to assure credibility and trustworthiness. Based on the methodological triangulation of the data sources collected, four emergent themes were identified after completing the data analysis: (a) building relationships, (b) finding your passion, (c) enhancing business knowledge, and (d) ensuring financial management. Small business leaders and their stakeholders may use the findings to advance the evolution of sustainable business models that meet the needs of small business owners.

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