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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring the Barriers to Online-Business Profitability for Small Business
by Robinson, Ebenezer A., Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2012, 144; 3528229
Abstract (Summary)

Entrepreneurs of small brick-and-mortar businesses have shown a greater interest in using the Internet to expand small business profitability; but they lacked adequate procedures and risk assessments to mitigate barriers. This was because intense competition among sellers, places small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that had gone online in the last five years at a disadvantage. The problem explored in this holistic multiple-case study was that adequate procedures and risk assessments for barriers had not been implemented to eliminate the barrier of aggressive rivalry of sellers, which may impede the sustainable advantages for SMEs which had gone online since 2006. This study was informed by the niche strategies of the Porter's theoretical framework. The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether procedures, risk assessments and business strategies could create sustainable advantages for SMEs that had gone online since 2006. A purposive sample of 20 online SMEs from multiple market segments was selected to inform the study. Analysis of interview transcripts revealed three major themes: (a) the barriers to the operation of an online business, (b) the strategies used to mitigate those barriers, and (c) the methods that were utilized to maximize profit. The findings identified that entrepreneurs were experiencing complications in (a) procuring funding, (b) implementing risk assessments, (c) providing procedures, (d) obtaining repeat purchases, (e) retaining customers, (f) navigation glitch, (g) conversing with customers, (h) bonding with customers, (i) website traffic, (j) thin margin, (l) addressing computer illiteracy, (m) computer ownership, and others. The results of the case study could help current or new entrepreneurs to standardize procedures for overcoming bathers, maximize revenue, and sustain competitive advantages. Recommendations resulting from this study included the following: aiming to improve profitability, joining an online barrier reducing associations, standardizing procedures, conducting periodic risk assessments, cataloging the internal controls for preventing barriers, indexing the methods for eliminating barriers, creating directory of online businesses, and distributing the directory to houses in United States. The completed research provided a theoretical contribution to the body of knowledge and scholarly literatures.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Courts, Bari
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Entrepreneurship, Web Studies, Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses
Keywords: Online, Profitability, Small business
Publication Number: 3528229
ISBN: 978-1-267-58592-9
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