Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Julie Ducharme


Small business owners generate jobs within the local community, but half of new business owners often fail to sustain operations for the first five years. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore strategies that small business owners in central Texas used to sustain their businesses beyond the first 5 years. Schumpeter's theory of economic development grounded the study. Data collection included semistructured face-to-face interviews with a purposeful sample of 20 small business owners due to their success in creating strategies resulting in sustaining their businesses beyond 5 years in a postrecession business environment. All interpretations from the interview data included member checking to validate the credibility of the findings. Using the van Kamm method for thematic analysis, four themes emerged that included conducting business near federal and state organizations, having a business mentor, improving competitive positioning by focusing on improving both the quality of goods and services as well as innovating the customer experience, and adapting to rapidly changing economic conditions and destabilizing events with optimism and perseverance. Of these, the two most successful strategies entrepreneurs employed to improve survivability was conducting business near federal and state organizations with concentrated levels of workforce employees for sustained levels of returning business, as well as having one or more business mentors as an external source of entrepreneurial mentorship or information. Social change implications for small business owners include the potential to provide new strategies for small business sustainability, reductions in local unemployment rates, and improved community-based networks.

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