Nashville Entrepreneurs Share Secrets to Small Business Success

By Justin Stokes

It’s only been a week since the grand opening, but Nashville’s Tech Hill Commons is already getting put to good use.

In recognition of Small Business Week, Comcast Business and CNBC’s The Profit joined forces in Nashville to celebrate entrepreneurs and share stories. Along with partner events in Atlanta, Chicago, Hartford, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Seattle, the gathering brought together up-and-coming entrepreneurs for a chance to meet likeminded people and hear insight from successful small business owners.

The event kicked off with a casting call for The Profit, which follows serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis who puts his own money on the line to help save and grow struggling small businesses across the country. Hopeful entrepreneurs filled out digital casting applications and made video pitches about why their businesses deserve to be his next great investment.

Zachary Ford of Mitech Partners was among the entrepreneurs in attendance. He was glad to see the event happening in his “neck of the woods.”

“Well, I’m actually glad that Comcast has decided to come to Nashville of all cities to find entrepreneurs for a show that’ll be shown nationwide,” he said. “That shows growth; that shows power. And Nashville, I think, [is] in the top five for startups in the country. So, Comcast and CNBC showing the world [is] pretty good for the city.”

The event also featured a panel discussion with leaders from the local small business community. Moderated by WSMV’s Chris Miller, the panel featured Kelli Beam, Vice President of Membership Development for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, Sam Davidson, cofounder of Batch, Robert Grajewski, Evans Family Executive Director of The Wond’ry at Vanderbilt University and Dr. Rolando Toyos, Medical Director and founder of The Toyos Clinic.

Miller and the panelists discussed why now is the best time to start a small business, the importance of networking with people who aren’t just like yourself and how operating a small business is worth trading a few years of economic instability for a long-term payoff.

When asked about the most valuable piece of business advice he has ever received, Davidson offered an anecdote about his father.

“My dad has been in the healthcare space for a long time, both as somebody who worked his way up to management and somebody who got a chance to be an entrepreneur in that space,” he said.

“One thing he told me when I started my first company about 11 years ago was, ‘Don’t outgrow your infrastructure.’ And while that seems very plain, it’s extremely practical and something that I think about. I’ve had a chance, as I’ve started different companies, to grow quickly in some cases, and that is one thing that we’ve always kept in mind.”

Whether or not Nashville entrepreneurs agree with Davidson and his father that moderate growth is the path to business sustainability, there’s no question that small business owners who attended the panel walked away with a solid set of tools under their belts for future success.

Lead photo courtesy of Comcast South

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