Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Elisabeth Musil


Compared to their urban counterparts rural small businesses face unique socio-economic and environmental challenges including isolation, lack of resources, poverty, limited networks, and a smaller population of working age adults. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore effective strategies that rural small business managers have used to sustain a business in their area. The population for this study included a purposeful selection of 8 rural small businesses. Institutional theory served as the conceptual framework for this study. Data was collected using semi-structured face-to-face interviews of participants. The data was analyzed and coded by using a modified Van Kaam method which revealed themes: (a) customer satisfaction, (b) advertising, and (c) location. Participants considered customer satisfaction, advertising, and location when creating businesses strategies to remain sustainable beyond 5 years. This study may contribute to positive social change by enabling more rural businesses to remain within the economic cycle of the U.S. economy, and offer a more stable employment outlook, hence supporting more families in rural areas.