Sustaining Microbreweries Beyond 5 Years

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Yanez, Marco
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Small Business Administration (SBA, 2020a) reported from 1994–2018, an average of 67.6% of new employer small businesses survived at least 2 years. During the same period, the 5-year survival rate was 48.8%. The general problem is that small business owners embark on small business initiatives with limited knowledge on implementing business strategies, which results in premature business failures. This qualitative phenomenological study explored the application and implementation of business strategies for microbrewery businesses. A qualitative phenomenological design was selected for this study because it explored the lived experiences of microbrewery business owners who shared an event or phenomenon. Washington State Craft Beer (n.d.) reported a population of 431 microbreweries in Washington State in 2020. Business owners who set strategies for their businesses were the most appropriate interview participants. The study included a purposeful sample of 12 microbrewery business owners who have been in operations for 5 or more years. The first two microbrewery business owners were selected for the pilot study. The primary sources of data for this study were telephone or virtual semistructured interviews of microbrewery business owners. The researcher was the primary data collector, used a semistructured interview data-gathering vehicle, and applied a combination of manual and software-based techniques to organize and link responses. Four themes emerged from participants' responses: Theme 1–Customer Experience is Key to Exceeding Customers' Expectations; Theme 2–Passionate Business Owners Love What They Do; Theme 3–Business Strategies Build Foundations to Sustain Business; and Theme 4–Internal and External Factors Influence Business Sustainability. Findings of this study provide insights to microbrewery business owners in understanding small business implementation of strategies that help sustain business beyond 5 years. Results from this qualitative phenomenological study may enhance microbrewery business owners' abilities to conduct planning strategies to remain competitive, forecast, and study the market to anticipate changes in the beer industry. The researcher recommends further research using a quantitative, correlational study of small business owners to test the significance of relationships among variables, including customer experience, passion as a business owner, business strategies, business planning, and internal and external factors influencing business sustainability.
business strategies, microbreweries, Washington State
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