Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Scott W. Burrus


In the United States, 20% of newly established small businesses, including small

businesses in the life insurance industry, fail within 2 years, and over 50% of them fail during the first 5 years. The purpose of this multiple case study was to identify and explore the strategies that life insurance brokerage owners use to sustain business operations beyond 5 years. Porter's 5 forces model served as the conceptual framework for exploring this subject matter. Owners of 3 separate small life insurance brokerage firms in Texas, who sustained their businesses beyond 5 years, participated in semistructured interviews. A secondary source of data was relevant company documents. Methodological triangulation and member checking assured the reliability and validity of the interpretations. Through thematic analysis and supporting software, 5 themes emerged: exceptional customer service, relationship-building, efficient promotional strategies, regular training of salespersons, and hiring the right employees. The application of the findings of the study could contribute to positive social change by reducing unemployment and thereby catalyzing an economic environment supporting employees, families, and communities.