Strategies to Sustain Small Retail Business More Than 5 Years

Jennifer Potts, Walden University


Small business failures have a negative effect on the profitability of entrepreneurs. Many small businesses fail within the first 5 years after establishment. Profitable small businesses contribute to the stability of the local economy; however, when failure occurs the economy suffers. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore strategies used by small retail business entrepreneurs to maintain profitability more than 5 years after business establishment. Using Cantillon's theory of entrepreneurship, with a focus on Miller's entrepreneurial orientation for the conceptual framework, this study included a purposeful sample of 3 small retail business entrepreneurs located in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. Data from semistructured interviews, organizational documents, and a review of the company's website were collected. Data analysis consisted of using coding techniques, constant comparison, and keyword phrases. Member checking solidified the credibility of the interpretations of the participant responses. Three themes emerged from the data analysis: customer service strategies, human capital strategies, and financial capital access strategies. Findings from this study may contribute to social change by outlining strategies that small retail business entrepreneurs use to maintain profitability and employ individuals. Data from this study may contribute to the growth of small retail business entrepreneurs, the local community, and the employees of the businesses. New knowledge from this study could benefit current and prospective small business owners by sharing information specific to the need to plan for accessing financial capital, practicing good customer service, and making a commitment to attract, hire, and retain, competent employees.