Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Jamiel Vadell


Small businesses play a key role in the health of the U.S. economy; however, approximately 50% of small businesses fail within the first 5 years of operation. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the strategies used by owners of small businesses to sustain their businesses for longer than 5 years. The conceptual framework used was the resource-based theory. The population of this study consisted of 3 owners of small businesses in North Carolina who sustained their businesses for at least 5 years. The data sources included semistructured interviews of the participants as well as business websites, social media pages, and documents. The data analysis process included data cleaning, uploading transcribed interviews into qualitative data analysis software, organizing, and coding. Member checking and triangulation with the data sources helped ensure methodological saturation and trustworthiness of interpretations. The thematic analysis led to the identification of 5 major themes contributing to company sustainability: strategic business planning and financial planning, risk management and cost control strategies, networking and relationship building, innovation and niche marketing, and environmental scanning. The results of further analysis indicated that the 3 strategies needed for success by owners of small businesses were strategic business planning and financial planning, networking and relationship building, and niche marketing. The implications of this study for positive social change include the potential to improve the competence of small business owners and business sustainability, increase small business profit, and provide a better quality of life to employees and better welfare for their communities, benefiting the entire U.S. economy.