Date of Conferral



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




Denise Gandy


Small business owners play a leading role in the United States economy by creating jobs and driving innovation. However, half of all new small business owners close their doors before their 5th anniversary. Following the entrepreneurship theory, the purpose of this multiple case study was to explore what strategies 5 small business owners in the food and beverage industry in the San Francisco Bay area used to survive beyond 5 years of operation. Data sources included semistructured interviews and company documents. Data analysis included descriptive and process coding of the data and use of NVivo to identify themes. Based on thematic analysis of the data, the emergent themes included: human capital, business goals, and growth through innovation. Participants relied on business knowledge to start and sustain their businesses; set incremental goals for growth and aligned business decisions to achieve those goals; and maintained a competitive advantage by implementing innovative and creative changes to their products and services. The implications for positive social change include the potential to provide small business owners and potential small business owners with strategies to sustain their businesses beyond the 5-year mark, thus contributing to economic growth of their businesses, their employees, and their local economy.

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Business Commons