Date of Conferral



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




Patricia Fusch


Small businesses create most of the new jobs in the world, yet more than half fail before the 5th year. Small businesses contribute to the economy by originating new products and services, yet they often lack the strategies to overcome the challenges of the beginning years. When businesses fail, the community wanes from unemployment, poverty, crime, and other social dilemmas. The purpose of this single case study was to explore small business strategies for sustainability beyond Year 4, specifically in a single independent operating Ohio restaurant owner with less than 500 employees. The conceptual framework was Schumpeter's theory of the entrepreneur's role as leader of economic growth. A semistructured interview generated the data and a review of various business documents including tax returns, the business plan, an operations manual, company marketing material, and social media from the first 4 years in operation facilitated triangulation. Member checking afforded the correct meaning of various concepts and statements. This study contained 4 themes that foster business sustainability and may help nascent entrepreneurs navigate the challenges of the first 4 years: knowledge and experience, work ethic and commitment, social capital, and opportunity recognition through creative discovery. When entrepreneurs incorporate these themes into their business model, resiliency strategies materialize to expand and create jobs, launch new products or services, pay taxes, and stabilize tenuous neighborhoods. This study may also convince community stakeholders to design and reinforce training, networking, and financial opportunities to bolster entrepreneurial venture success.