Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Jaime Klein


The United States economy depends on small businesses, which represent 99% of all businesses in the United States, yet approximately 50% of small businesses cease operations in the first 5 years. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the marketing strategies used by owners of small businesses to develop and maintain their organization through the initial 5 years of business operation. The population included 5 physical therapy business owners in northeastern Florida who had sustained their business for a minimum of 5 years. The conceptual framework for this study was the brand equity model, and data were collected through semistructured interviews, online company marketing materials, and archival company documents. Yin's 5-step analysis guided the data analysis process: (a) collecting data, (b) grouping data into codes (c) grouping data into themes (d) assessing the themes, and (e) developing conclusions. Member checking, transcript review, and triangulation were used to validate the study data. The 5 study themes were brand awareness, relationship marketing, perceived quality, social media and online marketing, and word-of-mouth marketing. The implications of this study for positive social change include the potential for economic growth in the physical therapy practice market, as well as improved patient access to physical therapy services through a greater number of physical therapy practices.