Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Professor Hoge

Degree Award Date

Spring 2008


Small Business Success, analysis, Entrepreneurship, Literature Review


Business | Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Business Analytics | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations


Small business success, no matter how it is defined, is by no means a guarantee. Recent Dun & Bradstreet reports reveal that small businesses with fewer than twenty employees only have a 37% chance of surviving for four years and a 9% likelihood of surviving ten years (Holland, 1998). Restaurants have an even more dismal outlook, with only a 20% chance of surviving two years (Holland, 1998). Shockingly, the vast majority of these failed businesses close their doors because their business was not successful, did not provide the level of income desired, or was too much work for the owners, not due to bankruptcy (Holland, 1998). This information is significant, because most hopeful entrepreneurs end up feeling discouraged and beaten, often believing that they do not have the necessary characteristics to make their dream business a reality (Hayes, 2007). If business owners better understand how small business success is defined and the factors that lead to running a successful small business, they have a much better chance of succeeding.

Conducting this study has two different types of benefits. The first is a societal benefit. Whether or not the study confirms or rejects the literature, small business owners can use the information to increase their chances of business success. Knowing what factors lead to running a successful business, will greatly increase the likelihood that entrepreneurs will be successful and take the necessary steps for their business to prosper. Secondly, the personal benefit I will receive from the study will greatly help me when I am at the point in my life when I am ready to start a business of my own one day. Entrepreneurship has always been a topic that I have expressed a strong passion for, but I have always feared failing if I opened my own business. Learning about what factors leads to small business success through talking to current small business owners will help me gain a clear understanding of what I can do in order to succeed as an entrepreneur from those with first hand experience.