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  • Writer's pictureDr. B

Exploring How Small Business Owners Interpret the Value of Partnerships - My Dissertation Simplified

Statement of the Problem

My study addresses the gap of knowledge connecting partner programs within small businesses and the financial value small business owners obtain from such efforts and explores how SMB owners identify value. The problem is that business owners struggle to quantify the return on investment (ROI) of partnerships. In U.S. businesses, leaders often observe partnerships as an expense and not an investment, and during times of economic hardship, these programs are cut more than other operations (O’Malley et al., 2011).

While academic and non-academic parties believe partnerships positively impact revenue, the literature has limited examples that connect partnerships to revenue when it comes to small businesses (Porto et al., 2017). According to Porto et al. (2017), marketing through partners positively changes the financial consequences of businesses; however, research on how SMBs track the consequences is scarce (Bruce, 2016). This study contributes to knowledge for addressing this problem and the findings of this study adds to the existing literature.

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The Highlights - Implications, Recommendations, and Conclusions

This qualitative case study aimed to identify how small business owners interpret the value of partnerships, and to understand if they experience the benefits of increased customer value, increased firm value, or an increase in organizational performance of the firm found throughout the literature. The data collection method used in this study was a stratified sample of small business owners who met the study's selection criteria and had a partner ecosystem in the United States. The method utilized to gather data for this study was a series of open-ended questions that concentrated on understanding how small business owners identified the value of their partner ecosystem. The participant data collected was triangulated to determine commonalities.

Six themes emerged in the study, which defined how small business owners interpret the value of their partner programs. Those themes were business strategy, marketing, partner alignment, client experience, community, and needs.

Theme 1: Business strategy is the foundation that delivers value to the small business owner due to alignment of purpose.

Theme 2: According to the small business owners, the most common technique to drive results from a partnership is alignment between two or more partners.

Theme 3: Marketing is the act of communicating and selling services and products to the small business owner.

Theme 4: Client experience is how small business owners create value for their clients from and through partners.

Theme 5: The influence of community is critical to the small business owners' perception of success.

Theme 6: Small business owners have specific needs to compete, such as knowledge, information, and survival.

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