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  • Chamber's New Programming Helps Grow Your Business

    by Stephanie Coleman | Sep 10, 2014
    Guest post by Corey Davis, Chamber director of business growth initiatives

    business_studio_logoSmall and entrepreneurial businesses are vital to the Nashville region's economy. They are also an integral part of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce – nearly 90 percent of our membership is comprised of companies with 100 or fewer employees.

    This month, we're excited to launch Business Studio, a suite of new programming designed especially for our small business members. Whether you're a brand-new solopreneur looking for ways to build your business, or a seasoned small business owner seeking ways to increase employee productivity, Business Studio will provide you with relevant resources that are customized to meet your needs.

    On Tuesday, Sept. 30, we're hosting our first Studio Session. At this event, we'll provide a "business checkup" to give you a full understanding of the key components of owning and running your own business. We'll start with the basics and touch on everything from choosing the right legal structure to certifications, tax and insurance liability, grants, funding, and even going as far as setting up company policies and procedures.

    For your assessment assistance, we'll also have a panel of experts on hand to help us gain a better understanding ...
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  • Entrepreneurial Spotlight: Beth Chase, president and CEO, c3/consulting

    by Stephanie Coleman | Aug 07, 2014
    With the application deadline approaching for the 2014 NEXT Awards, we asked Beth Chase, president and CEO of c3/consulting, to share her insights on Nashville’s business community and entrepreneurial environment. Beth won the NEXT Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011 and NEXT Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013.

    Why did you choose Nashville for your business?

    Nashville’s been in the spotlight recently -- and rightfully so. I believed in Nashville long before Nashville was cool, AND I’ll continue to believe in Nashville because this city warrants it. Why?

    • Thriving business community: Nashville’s economy is supported by the unique combination of Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial organizations that are headquartered here. The country (and world) is beginning to understand the ecosystem that committed individuals are building in Nashville to support innovation and new business development. The secret’s out, and it’s easy to see why more and more companies are considering moving here. Even better, it’s exciting to see them thrive when they do decide to make the move.

    • Committed community: I serve on the boards of a number of community organizations, and my fellow c3 team members serve on at least 100 others. We live in a community that understands ...
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  • Entrepreneurial Spotlight: Clint Smith

    by Stephanie Coleman | Jul 24, 2014
    With the application deadline approaching for the 2014 NEXT Awards, we asked Clint Smith, co-founder and CEO of Emma, to provide a glimpse into his company’s growth trajectory and share his insights on the importance of Nashville’s entrepreneurial environment. Clint won the NEXT Digital Media & Entertainment Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2011.

    Q: How has Emma grown since you started the company?
    A: When we started, there were just two of us working out of someone else's office in a pair of cubicles for which we'd bartered website design work. By the end of this year, we will likely have around 150 people on staff. So in sheer people terms, it's a much different place than it was years ago, and the team today is able to do so much more than we could as a small startup. And nowadays it seems like each person who joins Emma is even more impressive than the last one (just don't tell the last one!), so to think that we're growing in talent as we're growing in size is very exciting.

    Q: What has surprised you the most about starting and running your own company?
    A: Just how often things basically ...
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    Category: General
  • Maximize the Effectiveness of Strategic Planning and Meetings

    by Stephanie Coleman | Jun 27, 2014
    Guest post by Janet McDonald, vice president, c3/consulting

    Today, two things take up an enormous amount of time in business – meetings and strategic planning. Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to wave a magic wand and transform both into things that drive your business forward and increase your competitive advantage?

    On the strategic planning front, we are all feeling the effects of rapid technological advancement and change. We used to conduct strategic planning with five- to 10-year horizons. Today, we are forced to think in a 12- to 18-month horizon. As a result, strategic thinking needs to be better than ever. If you’re going through strategic planning in order to check a box, don’t waste your time – instead, focus your energy on operational effectiveness. However, if you want to get the most out of your strategic planning sessions, understanding the critical questions and taking the time to debate them before setting strategy is essential. The Chamber’s professional development workshop, Strategy Boot Camp: From Vision to Execution, will equip you with tools and techniques that will help translate strategic planning into a competitive advantage.

    Did you know the average American spends four hours a day in meetings, ...
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    Category: General
  • Entrepreneurs Rate Nashville among Friendliest Cities for Small Business

    by Stephanie Coleman | Jun 24, 2014
    Nashville is one of the top 10 cities in the country for small business, according to a new study released by, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. 

    The results were published after a two-month survey of more than 12,000 entrepreneurs nationwide. The survey asked questions about the friendliness of states and cities towards small business, such as: "In general, how would you rate your state's support of small business owners?" and the Kauffman Foundation evaluated states and cities against one another along more than a dozen metrics. Tennessee also received an "A" rating in the survey.

    Though Nashville's business climate regularly receives national rankings, this study is particularly impressive because its results were derived directly from business owners themselves. Nashville's higher-than-average percentage of entrepreneurial businesses is due, in part, to factors such as our low tax rates, ease of hiring, overall business regulations and economic strength. Click here for an interactive map showing Tennessee’s small business friendliness.



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  • 2014 NEXT Awards Applications Now Open

    by Stephanie Coleman | Jun 15, 2014
    NEXT-AwardsNashville is a hotbed for innovators, entrepreneurs and creatives. At the 2014 NEXT Awards, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center will recognize what's NEXT in the entrepreneurial landscape of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

    Applications are now open to all individuals and companies who exemplify the innovative spirit that drives our local economy and continues to grow our key industries.

    Companies in the startup, growth and market mover stages will be awarded across five industry categories: digital media/entertainment; health care; social enterprise/sustainability; technology; and products/services. We will also celebrate Nashville’s standout entrepreneurs and young entrepreneurs.

    Applications open Monday, June 16, and the deadline to apply is Friday, August 15. Visit to learn more about the awards and submit your application.
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  • June Workshops Focus on Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving & Negotiation Skills

    by Stephanie Coleman | May 09, 2014
    Guest post by Janet McDonald, vice president, c3/consulting

    In a recent study by IBM, 60 percent of CEOs listed creativity as the most important leadership quality for the next five years, ranking above qualities such as integrity and global thinking. The pace of change, the emergence of rapid disruption and the increasingly complex challenges that face organizations today require an ability to think critically and creatively.

    We all have a go-to thinking profile and approach problem solving very differently. Understanding your particular approach will enable you to pinpoint the tools you need to learn at to improve your ability for breakthrough thinking. The workshop Breakthrough Thinking: Avoid Thinking Biases will help you uncover your thinking profile, embrace its benefits and understand the need and benefit of collaborating with others who think in different ways to increase the odds of breakthrough solutions.

    Another critical skill that I use on a daily basis, at home and work, is mutual gains negotiation, a collaborative approach to reaching consensus. In fact, it comes in handy in almost every area of my life. I’m sure you will agree that all stakeholders do not have the same interests, perceptions and values that others do. Effectiveness requires ...
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    Category: General
    Tags: Spark Series
  • Workshop Series Brings New Professional Development Opportunities to Chamber Members

    by Stephanie Coleman | May 02, 2014
    Do you often find yourself working tirelessly to check off your to-do list by day’s end? This cycle seems to be a common phenomenon in the workplace. The problem with this approach toward accomplishing goals is that, after a period of time, it’s easy to lose track of the long-term vision of where we are going.

    That’s why it’s so important to create the space and time to think differently, plan strategically, and face our challenges with creative solutions. We can improve our outcomes by learning how to negotiate and build consensus. We can enhance our businesses and our teams by providing new ways to deal with complex problems.

    To help your business build these skills, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is kicking off a new series of professional development workshops in partnership with c3/consulting. These full- and half-day workshops will help your organization increase productivity, improve collaboration, enhance leadership skills and learn techniques for strategic planning. Ideal for teams or individuals, the workshops will cover four key areas for business success:

    Breakthrough Thinking: Avoid Thinking Biases (half-day)
    This workshop includes an assessment tool that will raise your awareness of the biases you may have for or against various ...
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    Category: General
  • Leadership Lessons from Malcolm Gladwell

    by Stephanie Coleman | Feb 25, 2014
    On Feb. 21, nearly 900 Nashvillians had the opportunity to hear from Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author and staff writer for The New Yorker. Speaking at Belmont University’s Leadership Breakfast presented by Belmont’s Executive Learning Network and Parnassus Books, and supported by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Gladwell took the role of storyteller – primarily to explain his ideas around the theory of legitimacy – a theme in his most recent book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants.

    The underlying lesson of Gladwell’s narrative was to explain human behavior – a skill he’s become known for in his previous books, including Blink, which explains how some choices made by gut instinct are the most successful; The Tipping Point, which describes why certain ideas, trends or social behaviors reach a "tipping point" and end up spreading like wildfire; and Outliers, which examines what differentiates the highest achievers.

    In his speech, Gladwell wove together tales of underdogs turned radicals, including that of Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, a New York socialite and multi-millionaire who became a leader in the women’s suffrage movement that won women the right to vote in 1920.

    Through his stories, Gladwell ...
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    Category: General
  • Don't Miss the Chance to Connect with Legislators about Issues That Impact Your Business

    by Stephanie Coleman | Mar 29, 2013
    As the Tennessee General Assembly works toward the end of this year’s session, several key issues that impact business will be up for final votes. We’ve included updates below and encourage our members to use Middle Tennessee Business Voice to make your voice count by connecting with your state representatives.
    • Impact-to-commerce analysis on new legislation: In many cases, legislation proposed has some potential impact on the private sector, and while bills are studied for their impact to the state, no consideration is given to their impact on commerce or jobs. SB 116/HB 220 directs the Fiscal Review Committee to include an “impact-to-commerce statement” in its fiscal note for bills and resolutions referred to certain committees. This bill unanimously passed the House State Government committee on March 12 and will be in House Finance Subcommittee on April 3. Click here to take action.
    • Workers’ compensation reform: Gov. Haslam has proposed workers’ compensation reform (SB 200/HB 194) that moves disputes out of the courts, lowers the cost for business and speeds up the resolution of these claims. This bill will be on the Senate floor on April 1 and in the House Finance Committee on April 2. Click here to ...
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    Category: Legislative Issues