Date of Conferral



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




Dr. Irene A. Williams


Small business owners play a leading role in the United States economy by creating jobs. However, small businesses have a high failure rate, with approximately 50% going out of business during the first 5 years. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the competitive advantage strategies that owners of small businesses used to sustain their businesses longer than the first 5 years. A sample of 6 small service industry business owners in Houston, TX that have been in business for 5 years or more participated in semistructured interviews. Additional data were collected from company documents and the review of artifacts related to small business success and longevity. Entrepreneurship theory provided the conceptual framework for the study. Member checking enhanced the credibility of the interpretations of the participant responses. Data were analyzed using Yin's 5 stages of coding: compiling, disassembling, reassembling, interpreting, and concluding the data. From the data analysis, 3 themes were revealed: financial capital, marketing and competitive advantages, and great customer service. Findings of this study might help owners of small businesses to ensure business growth, increase revenues, and stimulate job creation.