Date of Conferral



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




Al Endres


Small business owners represent 99.7% of all U.S. employer firms, employ half of the private sector employees, and provide 43% of the total U.S. private payroll. However, 50% of new small business startups fail within the first 5 years of operation. The purpose for this multiple case study was to explore what skills, knowledge, and strategies small business coffee shop owners use to succeed in business beyond 5 years. Systems theory, chaos theory, and complexity theory provided the conceptual framework for exploring the research question of this multiple case study. To identify and explore the factors for maintaining small business-operations, the population for this study was 3 small business owners of 3 coffee shops in Duval County, Florida who sustained their businesses for a minimum of 5 years. The data sources were semistructured interviews, the business-websites, social media information, and site visit observations. Based on methodological triangulation of the data sources, analytical coding, and analyzing the data using mind mapping and software, 3 themes emerged: owner networking and the business as a customer to customer networking venue, business plans' initial challenges and addressing subsequent changes, and a need for marketing differentiation. Potential implications for effecting positive social change include increasing the rate of small business success, and increasing the financial security for owners, employeees, employees-families, and their communities.

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