Date of Conferral



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




Brandon Simmons


Small businesses make up about 90% of all business entities and employ about 60% of the total workforce, yet 50% of small businesses fail within their first 5 years. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore how SBOs use the appropriate product diversification strategies to remain sustainable. The sample population were 3 small retail business owners in a large-sized county in the Washington, D. C. metropolitan area who employed fewer than 19 people and have successfully used product diversification strategies to remain sustainable beyond 5 years. Data were collected through interviews, observations, and company document reviews. Data analysis entailed using an alphabetic coding process to identify the frequency and importance of themes. Grounded in the conceptual framework of the model of market orientation, this study revealed 4 themes that could help small business owners use the appropriate product diversification strategies to remain sustainable: customer-centric decision-making, market-trend orientation, resource orientation, and complementary products and services. The implications for positive social change include the potential to give small business owners a decision-making framework to achieve sustainability and growth, which would contribute to healthy economic conditions through consumerism, higher employment rates, and a reduction in poverty. The findings of this study could benefit local, small businesses and communities.

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