Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Rollis Erickson


The high rate of business failures within the first 5 years negatively affects half of startup business owners. Small retail business owners who fail to develop innovative entrepreneurial strategies experience high failure rates within the first 5 years of operation. Grounded in self-determination theory, the purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore entrepreneurial strategies small retail business owners use to support long-term sustainability. Participants were five small retail business owners from Southern Illinois who successfully used entrepreneurial strategies to reduce high failure rates. Data were collected from semistructured interviews and internal documents relevant to reducing high failure rates and analyzed using Yin’s 5-step process. Three themes emerged: (a) entrepreneurial mindset, (b) social media strategy, and (c) innovation. A key recommendation is that small retail business owners have a positive mental attitude and take calculated risks. The implications for positive social change include the potential to increase employment opportunities and to improve the quality of life for residents in local communities.