Chapter IV: Results-Strategies Used by Small Business owners-Nursing Paper Examples

The purpose of this qualitative single case study was to explore the strategies used by small business owners who sustained their organizations despite challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chapter IV is an account of the data analyzed from this study. Chapter III’s methodology was used to collect data and recruit participants for this study. The data gathered from the interviews were transcribed and coded for analysis. The scope and aim of this study focused on the following two research questions. Chapter IV contains the findings of those research questions:(Strategies Used by Small Business).

Strategies Used by Small Business owners
Strategies Used by Small Business owners during COVID-19

RQ1: What business strategies did small business owners use to sustain their business during COVID-19?

RQ2: How did small business owners implement pivotal business strategies that remained useful to sustain their business operations amid an economic downturn?

Sample

Purposive sampling remained appropriate in recruiting 11 small business owners in northwest Arkansas. However, data saturation remained attained after interviewing 10 participants. Furthermore, purposive sampling helped select business owners from various industries and backgrounds. The sample had a diverse background with respects to years of experience, education, gender, and their different leadership and managerial practices (Strategies Used by Small Business ).

Data from northwest, Arkansas City Hall suggested that there are approximately 13,326 small businesses in northwest Arkansas (Northwest Arkansas Council, n.d.). The number of small business owners located in northwest, Arkansas moreover chosen for this study served as a sample size which was representative of a larger population. The small business owners thereby chosen because they shared characteristics that aligned with the goal of this study.

Table 1 is a depiction of the participant demographics by industry and employees. Further, the sample population has 260 combined years of leadership and managerial practice. The combined years of leadership represent the effectiveness of the small business owner and the services they provide to their communities. The retail industry supported 50% of this study’s sample population. Retail owners remain Three female, and two male (Strategies Used by Small Business).

Furthermore, one male and one female supported 20% of the study’s sample population in the food and beverage industry. A female owned and operated the hospitality industry, which made up 10% of this study’s population, a female also owned the moving company, and a male was responsible for the small business in the healthcare industry. The moving company and the healthcare firm each supported 10% of this study population. Eighty percent of the participants had employees.

Data saturation occurred using ten small business owners from northwest Arkansas. According to Creswell and Poth (2017), data saturation occurs when new and additional information ceases and no new data discovered. Data saturation and the sample size hence determined to be sufficient when new evidence and knowledge stopped emerging from the interviews. Eight interviews (80%) took place in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The remaining interviews (20%) took place in Bentonville and Rogers, Arkansas (Strategies Used by Small Business ).

Six small business owners were female and accounted for 60% of this study’s population, and four, or 40%, were male. The 10 small business owners thereby recruited from five industries. Specifically, five participants were from the retail industry; two were from the food and beverage industry, one from the moving industry, one from the healthcare industry, and one from the hospitality industry. The retail industry supported 50% of this study’s population, the food and beverage industry supported 20%, and the hospitality, moving, and medical industries each supported 10% of this study’s sample population.

Data Collection

Eleven small business owners volunteered to participate in this research project. However, data saturation remained attained after interviewing 10 business owners. The researcher commenced data collection after receiving approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB). After IRB approval, a recruitment letter (Appendix A) hence emailed to potential participants to volunteer for the study. The purpose of the recruitment letter was to provide the participants with the study’s framework by explaining its purpose and the advantages and disadvantages of cooperating in the study (Strategies Used by Small Business).

The interviews took place between September 14th through October 17, 2022. The researcher used the Interview Guide (Appendix B) to ask the participants 10 semi-structured interview questions. During the interview process, asking each question to the participants remained in sequential order. The investigator served as the primary instrument used to collect the data (Strategies Used by Small Business ).

Data Analysis (Strategies Used by Small Business owners)

The resource-based and the systems view theories remains the frameworks used to guide the analysis process. Analyzing and interpreting the data required several iterations. Braun et al.’s (2019) six-step process remain useful to conduct thematic analysis of the transcriptions of the recordings of the interviews with the participants. The process consisted of (a) familiarization, (b) coding, (c) generating themes, (d) revising the themes, (e) describe and name themes, and (f) writing up and presenting the findings (Strategies Used by Small Business).

Analyzing the data started by transcribing the audio files into text. The reading of text files hence done for familiarization and to understand their textual meaning. Additionally, the text files also used to interpret patterns and themes that later remained useful for thematic analysis. Codes remains ingenerated until the reading of all of the participants’ interview transcripts. After reading the transcribed data the text remain manually coded by labeling certain words and phrases that described passages or keywords from the interviews (Strategies Used by Small Business).

Noticeably, the participants used interchangeable words and phrases that elaborated on their leadership and managerial strategies during the pandemic. The codes were relevant and represented the interviewees’ feelings, thoughts, ideas, and actions they took to remain operational during the pandemic. Words, synonyms, concepts, and phrases that involved managerial principles and leadership theories implemented during the pandemic remains specifically targeted (Strategies Used by Small Business).

The leadership theories, managerial practices, and the federal, state, and local mandates regarding the pandemic, influenced the when and how decisions hence, made by the participants. The business models that the participants used to sustain their operations stays noted. Lastly, despite how the pandemic may have caused some business owners to close their operations, 30% of the interviewees had record-breaking years (Strategies Used by Small Business).

Microsoft Excel remains useful to create a codebook using the information collected from the interviews, field notes, and observation. Using this study’s research questions as the primary objective, creating a codebook to reflect the objective and purpose of this study remai vital. The initial codes that remain generated stays used as a guide and evaluated alongside the data that emerged. Throughout the coding process, updates remain made to the codebook. Codes that aligned with the research questions remain color-coded and those non-aligned deleted.

The 10 interview questions (see Appendix B) asked of the participants assisted in answering the two research questions proposed in this research. The results published in this study remain structured around each research question. The major themes that emerged included, (a) participants experienced high degrees of uncertainty regarding the duration of the crisis. In addition, (b) changes in procedures remain implemented with urgency, (c) focused on the wellbeing of staff during the crisis, and (d) effective communication with staff remain essential(Strategies Used by Small Business).

Twenty-six codes and four themes emerged from the interviews. The themes that materialized from the interviews remain useful to answer the two research questions in this study. Table 1 is a depiction of the keywords and themes that resulted from the interviews (Strategies Used by Small Business).

Table 1

Keywords and Themes

KeywordsThemes 
Crisis Management   Strategic Management Risk Management Effective Communication  Participants experienced high degrees of uncertainty regarding the duration of the crisis Changes in procedures were implemented with urgency Focused on the wellbeing of staff during the crisis Effective communication with staff was essential   

The themes hence, generated from the transcribed data, field notes, codebook, and observations. The transcribed data revealed the stories, phrases, and keywords that remain useul by the participants. The field notes and observations remain useful to describe and document the participants’ emotions during the interview process. The field notes also were useful in describing the workplace environment where the interviews took place. The time, date, and location where each interview took place remain annotated in the field notes (Strategies Used by Small Business).

Additionally, the field notes essentially used to describe the number of employees that were working and the of number customers who entered the establishment during the interviews. Finally, the field notes and observations noted how customers remain treated. Major themes emerged from the field notes and analyzing the data which remain useful to describe this study’s findings. Table 2 is an overview alignment between the major themes that emerged and the research questions (Strategies Used by Small Business).

Table 2

Aligning Themes to Research Questions

Research QuestionsMajor Themes 
RQ1: What business strategies did small business owners use to sustain their business during COVID-19?     RQ2: How did small business owners implement pivotal business strategies that were used to sustain their business operations amid COVID-19?Participants experienced high degrees of uncertainty regarding the duration of the crisis Changes in procedures were implemented with urgency Focused on the wellbeing of staff during the crisis Effective communication with staff was essential   Focused on the wellbeing of staff during the crisis Effective communication with staff was essential Changes in procedures were implemented with urgency   
(Strategies Used by Small Business)

Theme 1: Participants experienced high degrees of uncertainty regarding how long the crisis would last

During an interview, T1 said, “None of us really knew what we were doing. We figured things out as we went along, and I had to figure out how I was going to keep my business running.” T1 was in the hospitality industry and used her hotel’s strengths to her advantage. T1 said, “I am the only hotel in Eureka Springs that offers guests private entrances to their rooms. Everything from checking-in to checking-out is done contactless.”(Strategies Used by Small Business).

When I asked T1 about room service, such as taking out the trash, changing the sheets, cleaning the bathrooms, etc., she said, “I was surprised that none of our guests wanted us to go inside their rooms. They took out their own trash.” During the planning phase, T1 aggressively advertised her hotel via social media. T1 told me that after the customer checked out, she would not allow anyone in the room for 24 hours so that the room could air out. As a result, T1 said, “My hotel rooms always remain full (Strategies Used by Small Business).

” T7 highlighted the need for clear communication and delegation. Specifically, T7 said, “It would have been impossible for me to do everything. I gave clear directions to the employee whom I felt was the right person for me to delegate responsibility.” T8 said, “I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into when the kids suggested for me to use Facebook.” T8 said, “My pizza makers started off by competing to see who sold the most pizza and their strategy ultimately boosted sales and was a moneymaking idea.” T1 stated, “The last thing I wanted was for someone to catch COVID because I was greedy, trying to make money and not following Dr. Anthony Fauci’s guidelines.”(Strategies Used by Small Business).

Theme 2: Changes in procedures had to be implemented with a sense of urgency

T9 stated, “Since my guys were out and about in uncontrolled spaces, I had to perform temperature checks every day. If one of my guys had a slight temperature, I would recheck them 15 minutes later. If the temperature was the same or higher, I sent them home for the day.” She implemented FaceTime or video walkthroughs to reduce workers from being in uncontrolled spaces during the initial phase of relocating a customer. T9 said, “The video walkthroughs saved time and money (Strategies Used by Small Business).

I often ask the salesperson or listing agent to perform the walkthrough since we work closely with them.” T10 voiced, “I had to assess the pandemic’s impact on my business. My biggest concern was health and safety. As a healthcare professional, I had to educate and ensure that my patients and employees were well-informed of the latest CDC recommendations. “I took the necessary steps to reduce the spread of the virus by practicing social distancing, frequent handwashing, and sanitizations.” Before COVID-19, T3 and T5 retail stores sold souvenirs unique to Eureka Springs.

To keep their business open during the pandemic, the business owners realigned their businesses to meet government guidelines as mission essential. According to T3, “I knew that I could not make money if my business were closed. I drove to Texas and purchased as much hand sanitizer, masks, and disposable gloves as possible.” T5 echoed T3’s statement and added, “I ordered commercial-grade disinfectants, disposable wipes, N-95 masks, touchless thermometers, and soap.”(Strategies Used by Small Business). 

Brick-and-mortar retail stores were temporarily crippled due to COVID-19. Many companies use the Internet and social media to sell their products and services and reconnect with their patrons. Electronic commerce (eCommerce) is a valuable tool that small business owners use to purchase and sell goods via the Internet. Business owners T4 and T6 used eCommerce as a new business model (Strategies Used by Small Business).

Additionally, T8 relied on e-business to increase its profitability. Ninety percent of this study’s population, specifically business owners T1 through T9, relied on eCommerce and eBusiness during the pandemic. The five retail owners, T3 through T7, used social media outlets to advertise and sell their merchandise. T4 also launched a website (Strategies Used by Small Business).

T3 said, “At the beginning of the pandemic, I had to do something to increase my sales. I didn’t want to pay someone to develop a webpage, so I had my wife take pictures of our top-selling items. My niece created a Facebook page for us and loaded the pictures my wife took.” T4 voiced, “I paid to have a website developed and maintained. If my customerscouldn’t come to the store, I took my store to them. Prada is my top-selling item, and I needed the sales.” T4 also said, “I took to Facebook to make my customers aware of my website.

I don’t know if it was Facebook or my website, but in 2021, I had a 30% increase in profits.” Participant T7 used social media and said, “I let my wife deal with the technology. We sat down one day and talked about getting people inside our store to purchase food items instead of going to Walmart. My wife used, I think, Facebook and something else to let our customers know that we started a point system (Strategies Used by Small Business).

” T7 mentioned, “A point system is when you spend so much money at our store, you accumulate points, and those points can be used on anything in the store.” T7 also said, “My wife used one of those free social media things to advertise our weekly specials. Before that, I would run ads in the town’s newspaper.”(Strategies Used by Small Business).

T8 used Facebook to keep her employees engaged, advertise her pizzas, and reconnect with the community. Specifically, T8 reduced her menu to only include large pizzas and salads. T8 said, “The fun really started when my pizza makers got creative, and I posted a picture of their pizza on Facebook. Consequently, ” T8 said that from her experience, people often eat with their eyes. T8 said, “My pizza makers came up with creative ideas, and I posted their creations on Facebook, and customers started calling.” T8 said, “I had to install a second phone line to keep up with the orders.”(Strategies Used by Small Business).

T1 said, “When I started making a lot more than I expected, I offered return customers a discount on their next visit. We didn’t know how long COVID would last, and I knew they were tired of staying home all the time. Offering a 20% incentive, Monday through Thursday, attracted a lot of customers.” T1 further stated, “Even with customers using a 20% discount, I still made money because I didn’t have a full staff to help me at the hotel.

” T8 said, “Reducing my menu was the best thing I could have done! I can’t believe the fun we had while generating a profit.” T8 also said, “My point-of-sale system allows me to see who spends the most money at my restaurant. If a repeat customer dined with me at least 50 times or more, I called them and offered a free coupon for two large pizzas and two salads. I figured that that was the least I could do (Strategies Used by Small Business).

T1 implemented a cost-effective strategy by canceling cable tv and ordering Rokus for each room during the pandemic. T1 said, “I was paying Cox Cable a lot of money for empty rooms. I canceled my service and used that money to purchase Roku sticks for the TVs.” Further, T7 started a point system. The point system was based on the amount of money a customer spends. T7 stated, “At first, I didn’t like the idea. My wife suggested it because she researched what some big grocery stores like Kroger’s, Vons, and Lowes Foods did to retain their customers, so this was her idea, and it worked.”(Strategies Used by Small Business)

Theme 3: Effective communication with employees was essential

Miscommunication during the pandemic may have resulted in the closure of businesses. T9 said, “Communication was a top priority. If there was a problem, I had to know about it ASAP. I allowed a small degree of discretion, but I micromanaged everything. My business isn’t big enough to allow mistakes to happen. Every mistake costs me money.” T9 also said, “I issue cell phones to each team leader every day after our face-to-face morning briefing. I also supply each team leader with a printout of their work locations. After the morning meetings, each team leader debriefs me on their responsibilities for that day. I have to ensure they understand what is and is not expected of them.”(Strategies Used by Small Business)

Theme 4: In a crisis situation, focus on employee wellbeing first

Participant T9 said, “My employees are my greatest asset. I cannot remain operational without them. They are my eyes and ears when clients call me to orchestrate a move. I had to do whatever it took to keep them healthy.” Furthermore, to protect the well-being of staff, T6 held patio sales outside. T6 said, “My store is too small allow several people to shop at one time, maintain social distancing, and for ventilation. I took my merchandise outside which helped keep me, my employees, and customers safe and health.”(Strategies Used by Small Business)

T1 modified work schedule to prevent everyone from gathering at work at the same time. T1 said, “I have a good crew and I let them tell me what shift they wanted.” Participants T1 – T10 purchased extra masks and hand sanitizer for their employees. Participants T2, T8, and T10 said, “I purchased masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and touchless hand soap dispensers.” T10 added, “People for various age groups visited me. I didn’t know if they had a preexisting disease or if their immune system was compromised. I had to go above and beyond in keeping myself, crew, and patients healths.”(Strategies Used by Small Business).

Summary

Chapter IV depicts the results from each interview. Four themes emerged that aligned with answering the research questions. During the interview, participants answered each question openly and honestly by voicing the strategies they implemented to remain operational during uncertain times. Despite some business owners using similar words during the interview to describe their lived experience, participants acted in the best interest of their business, employees, and the safety of their customers (Strategies Used by Small Business).

Factors that influenced the participants’ decisions on organizational and operational risk management varied. Despite the participants’ decisions that were made, several business models and principles were applied. Additionally, as the business owners described their lived experiences, it was noted that many leadership theories were exercised. The themes that originated from the research questions aligned with internal and external business practices.

Pivoting strategies to combat COVID-19, advancing via technology, manage tangible and intangible assets, monitor and measure strategies implemented, marketing and pricing strategies, communications, adapt to the new normal, and retain customers and employees were required by business owners to confront the complex challenges posed by COVID-19. It was imperative that the participants develop strategies that focused on achieving its objective while adhering to the guidelines that were established by the CDC (Strategies Used by Small Business).

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