Date of Conferral



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




Carol-Anne Faint


In the United States, small businesses account for 99.9% of businesses and employ 47.3 % of the U.S. workforce, yet 20% of small businesses fail within the first year of operation. Small business owners who do not have a detailed strategy are at a higher risk of their small business failing before reaching its fifth year of operation. Grounded in transformational leadership theory and entrepreneurial leadership theory, the purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore successful strategies used by five small business owners who have sustained and remained profitable for beyond 5 years. The participants included five small business owners who operate small businesses in Northeast Ohio. Data were collected from semistructured interviews and physical artifacts from company websites and social media pages. Yin’s 5-step data analysis approach was used, including compiling data, disassembling data, reassembling data, interpreting the meaning of data, and concluding the data. The three themes that emerged were self-motivation, customer service, and marketing. Based on the study’s findings, one key recommendation is that small businesses focus on customer service and marketing strategies to sustain beyond 5 years. The implications for positive social change include potential longevity for small business owners, potentially decreasing the small business failure rate and the U.S. unemployment rate.

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Business Commons