Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Richard Johnson


In 2015, 30.2 million small businesses existed in the United States; the Small Business Administration predicted that only half would survive beyond 5 years. Female business owners who do not establish practices to gain a competitive advantage in the small business marketplace may experience poor business performance. Grounded in trait theory, the purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore the business strategies female small business owners use to succeed in a small business beyond 5 years. Participants included 3 female owners of successful small businesses in Northern California who have been in continual operation for more than 5 years. Data were collected from interviews, observation, and documentation in the form of customer reviews and public documents establishing the age of the business. Methodological triangulation and manual data analysis were used to extract themes from the data. There were 4 themes that emerged from the data. The themes included personality and the development of a business persona, as well as education, quality of product or service, and financial management. Employees, financial stakeholders, and society are beneficiaries of successful business enterprises that generate tax dollars, provide employment, and provide access to a desirable product or service. The implications of positive social change include the potential for female business owners to experience greater success and contribute to their communities by providing a positive example of female entrepreneurship.