Date of Conferral



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




James R. Glenn


Fifty percent of small businesses fail before attaining their 5-year anniversary. The lack of sufficient working capital is one of the major reasons for small business failure. Pecking order theory was employed as the conceptual framework for this multiple case study to explore the working capital sourcing strategies of 6 purposely selected successful small business owners in the Southeast region of the United States used to sustain their businesses beyond 5 years. Data sources included semistructured interviews and company documents. Data analysis included thematic coding of the material using statistical software. The modified Van Kaam method was used to analyze the interview data. Secondary company documents such as financial reports were analyzed to triangulate findings from the interviews. Based on composite analysis, 6 themes emerged: (a) each of the participating small business owners encountered barriers in sourcing working capital for their businesses, (b) small business leaders used their personal internal sources of funds to start and initially operate their businesses, (c) customers provided a revenue stream to support the working capital needs of small businesses, (d) small business leaders used various bootstrapping measures to support their working capital needs, (e) using strategic and operational planning aids such as completing a business plan assisted business leaders in their working capital sourcing decision-making, and (f) personal credit provided a foundation for obtaining external business credit. The implications for social change include the sustainability of small businesses beyond 5 years, which could lead to the maintaining jobs and assisting small businesses to succeed in stabilizing and potentially increasing incomes for benefiting families and communities.