Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Jamie Patterson


Over the past 15 years, privately held small businesses generated nearly two-thirds of the net job growth in the United States, yet much of what scholars know regarding the capitalization challenges faced by small businesses is limited to data from large corporations. In 2013 alone, business bankruptcies numbered 33,212, and each year approximately 10% to 12% of U.S. small businesses close. Ineffective capitalization strategies coupled with a limited understanding of funding options frequently results in unsustainable business practices. In this multiple case study, the capital budgeting theory was utilized to explore the capitalization strategies small business owners in the greater Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area employed to achieve sustainability beyond 5 years of business inception. Participants were purposefully selected based on their tenure in business, number of employees, and geographic location. Data were collected via in-person semistructured interviews with 4 small business owners, coupled with a review of financial archival documents. Data were analyzed using theme interpretation, data grouping, and word frequency tabulation. Three themes emerged: a preference for self-funded, personal capitalization; the leveraging of personal relationships as a primary educational strategy; and a general aversion to debt and high interest rates. Implementing sound capitalization strategies contributes to social change by improving the likelihood of long-term sustainability. Sustainable small businesses increase employment opportunities, wage growth, and community-based services while enhancing the overall quality of life for local families and the community.