Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Tim Truitt


Inadequate financial knowledge and planning have frequently led to small business failures. Small business owners (SBOs) who lack financial strategies to sustain their organizations may contribute to the estimated closure of 50% of new small businesses, found frequently occurring within the first 5 years of formation. Grounded in the human capital theory, the purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore financial knowledge and skills SBOs successfully used in support of long-term sustainability. The participants were five SBOs who used financial decision-making strategies to sustain their small business beyond 5 years in Northern Illinois. Upon completion of data collection from semistructured interviews and publicly available datasets, the data were subsequently analyzed using thematic and descriptive analyses. Four themes emerged: human capital development, management of financial risk, network sustainability, and the effective use of financial professionals. A key recommendation is for SBOs to adopt a focused human capital optimization strategy using proven and experienced business and financial mentors. The implications for positive social change include the potential to enhance organizational growth and the creation of business sustainability initiatives, resulting in a reduction in societal unemployment and contributing to the prosperity of local communities.