Enhancing Business Performance: Case Studies of Small Business Leaders in the Federal Sector

Enhancing Business Performance: Case Studies of Small Business Leaders in the Federal Sector

Author: 
Robert G. Stauffer
Program of study: 
D.B.A.
Abstract: 
Declines in federal spending from continuing resolutions and sequestration events during the 2011 – 2014 timeframe reduced and delayed government purchases of products and services from small business owners operating in the federal sector. These actions affected the survivability of many federal sector small businesses, yet some leaders thrived and grew their firm’s revenues while others struggled or failed while operating under the same economic conditions. Exploring the successful actions that enabled leadership effectiveness during this timeframe and under these business conditions was the dominant activity in this study. Examples of success practices included the use of rolling forecasts for financial planning because leaders must adjust monthly to unpredictable revenue streams resulting from federal budget uncertainty. Leaders must acquire and operate government-approved business management systems, follow unoptimized business processes codified throughout federal regulations, and invest in employees’ education and experience so each meets minimum eligibility requirements for working on contracts. Leaders must also manage the real risk of the federal government terminating their contracts without explanation for its own convenience, and losing competitively awarded contracts in instances in which the government decides to insource that work from the contractor for its own benefit. The successful practices of federal sector small business leaders identified in this study are nuanced from commercial sector practices. This new research may facilitate the refining of operating models applicable for both the federal and commercial business sectors, with such understanding benefitting and enabling greater business success among struggling federal sector small business owners and leaders.
Dedication: 
The successful completion of my doctoral journey would not have been possible without the unwavering encouragement of my wife, who shared my journey with patience, encouraged me through my moments of frustration, and helped me balance my priorities and commitments. Thank you for your support and love. Thank you Almighty God, for giving me the wisdom and perseverance necessary for completing this journey and body of work.
Acknowledgements: 
Thank you, Dr. Daniels, for your enduring patience, enthusiasm, and wisdom in mentoring me through the completion of my doctoral journey. The inspiration for my dissertation came from my passion to grow as a business leader, but the scoping and refinement of the subject matter into its final form came from your challenging me through each iteration to improve the quality of my scholarship and the clarity of my message. The reviews, refining, and strengthening of content precision improved the quality of this dissertation immeasurably. Thank you, Dr. Ritter-Williams and Dr. Peed, whose meticulous reviews of iterations improved the quality and depth of methodological scholarship in this study. Thank you, Dr. Arlen “Ken” Griffey, for your friendship, monthly mentoring meetings, and constant encouragement in helping me remain focused on professional accomplishment.