Strategies to obtain capital for small businesses in Maryland

Strategies to obtain capital for small businesses in Maryland

Section 1: Foundation of the Study

Small businesses account for over 50% of all companies in the United States (U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA], 2018), having a positive effect on gross domestic product (Klimczak et al., 2017). Small businesses are an integral part of the economies of both developed and underdeveloped countries (Karadag, 2015); however, small business owners struggle to stay in operation longer than 5 years (SBA, 2018a). In 2013, 406,353 start-up businesses opened; in the same year, however, 46% of businesses closed (SBA, 2018b). A manager’s ability to acquire working capital could affect business continuity and reduce the failure rate (Leroy et al., 2015). Therefore, all business leaders need to have plans to acquire working capital (Lampadarios, 2016). The purpose of this multiple case study is to explore strategies that small business owners use to obtain a working capital line of credit for business continuity.

Background of the Problem

More than 500,000 small businesses constitute 97% of businesses in Maryland and employ more than one million people (SBA, 2018b). In 2014, 4,074 new small businesses started in Maryland, and in the same year, 3,730 closed, marking a large percentage of failed small businesses compared to those opened. External funding is necessary for the sustainability and growth of small businesses (Neagu, 2016). Access to financial resources is essential for business leaders to pay for operating expenses, debts, inventory, and business growth. Many business leaders attribute business failures to external factors, although internal management capabilities and approaches significantly impact business sustainability (Eggers & Lin, 2015). Poor management skills and an inability to access finances are the main reasons for business failure (Lee, 2016). Accordingly, I will explore effective Maryland small business owners’ effective strategies to obtain a working capital line of credit for business continuity for 5 years or longer.

Problem Statement

Insufficient access to funds, including lines of credit, causes 29% of small businesses to fail within the first 5 years of operation (Shabat, 2019). Small business owners encounter challenges obtaining a working capital line of credit (U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, 2017). The general business problem is that some small business owners cannot access working capital lines of credit, which threatens business survival through liquidity shortages, lost customers, and falling profitability. The specific business problem is that some small business owners lack strategies to obtain a working capital line of credit for business continuity.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study is to explore strategies that small business owners use to obtain a working capital line of credit for business continuity. The proposed study’s population is small business owners in Maryland who have obtained a working capital line of credit for business continuity. Information gleaned from this study will expand understanding of the economic, social, cultural, and structural issues small businesses face in securing working lines of credit. Among the implications for social change are that small business owners may be able to sustain operations, thus providing employment opportunities that could increase the standard of living and contribute to citizens’ well-being in the local communities. Another implication for social change is that sustaining small business operations will allow customers to continue receiving the products and services they need, contributing to their quality of life and the sustainability of their household or business operations.

Nature of the Study

The three research methods are qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods (Yin, 2017). In a qualitative study, a researcher explores a phenomenon (Glaser & Strauss, 2017); in comparison, a quantitative researcher statistically measures the relationship between variables (Goertzen, 2017). A researcher employs both qualitative and quantitative approaches in mixed methods (Yin, 2017). Because I will not use numerical data to understand the research phenomenon in this study, neither the quantitative nor mixed methods approach is appropriate; therefore, I will use the qualitative methodology with a case study design.

I considered narrative, ethnographic, phenomenological, and case study designs for this qualitative study. Using a narrative design, a researcher obtains individuals’ life stories in a storytelling format (Marshall & Rossman, 2016). The ethnographic design meets the needs for a cultural study of specific groups. In a phenomenological study, participants describe their lived experiences of a phenomenon (Hanson et al., 2011). A case study permits the researcher to capture a real-life phenomenon in a specific setting by asking how and why questions (Cronin, 2014). This type of qualitative design is ideal for the current study because my goal is to explore a research phenomenon in a real-life setting by asking how and why questions to identify common factors.

Research Question

What strategies do small business owners use to obtain a working capital line of credit for business continuity

1. What strategies did you use to obtain a working capital line of credit?

2. What are the significant challenges you encountered in securing a working capital line of credit?

3. How did you overcome the challenges you encountered in securing a working capital line of credit?

4. What strategies did you use to develop a successful banking relationship to secure working capital?

5. How, if at all, did you have to modify the initial strategies you used for obtaining a working capital line of credit?

6. What else could you share that is pertinent to the procedures for obtaining credit for your business?

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