Date of Conferral



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




Timothy Malone


Small businesses in Zimbabwe make up 94% of the country's business population but only contribute 15% to the country's economy due to a high failure rate during the first 5 years. The purpose of this descriptive multiple case study was to explore strategies and skills that may contribute to the sustainability of small businesses during the first 5 years. The study population consisted of 5 small business owners in Ntepe village in Zimbabwe who had sustained their businesses for the first 5 years of operations. The conceptual framework that grounded this study was management theory. The data collection process involved conducting semistructured interviews with small business owners. Data analysis involved the adoption of methodological triangulation, thematic analysis, and member checking to ensure reliability and credibility of the data collected. The data collected presented two main themes: developing leadership skills and planning for positive performance. Key attributes and skills of a small business leader include trustworthiness, ability to lead resolutions that solve problems, effective communication of quality expectations, development of customer focus, and ability to address the needs of employees. Planning for positive performance includes goal setting, creating policies and procedures, and developing a control system for financial activities. This study may contribute to social change by providing data on proven strategies used by small business managers to sustain their businesses during the first 5 years of operations. The community may benefit from owners being better prepared to sustain their small businesses, given that these businesses may then hire employees and contribute to the local economy.