How ScaleUp Nashville Helped My Business Grow
Guest post by Ashley Northington, DENOR Brands & Public Relations
So, you’ve decided to make the full leap into entrepreneurship.
You’ve read some books. You’ve heard some inspiring talks. You’ve attended some conferences. And you’ve asked a few business owners what it’s like to run a successful business.
Here’s your issue: you’re still trying to figure out what steps to take to grow your own empire.
I totally get it. I’ve been there before. And now, because I made the decision to participate in ScaleUp Nashville, I’ve been able to make changes that have contributed to significant growth in my company. What’s more is that I also now have a community of people – other business owners and mentors – to help support me in my efforts.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business several years, ScaleUp – the business development program sponsored by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center – may be the right fit for you.
I'll be honest: I have benefited tremendously from fellow "Scalers" and the invaluable umbrella of mentors and experts ScaleUp provided.
Before I was accepted into ScaleUp, I spent most of my time sharing my business plans with my friends, my parents, my significant other, my hairstylist, and basically anyone who'd listen. These people have all supported me in many different ways. They've tried to comfort me when things went awry, and they've celebrated me when things have gone well. But they weren't necessarily the best sounding boards for my ideas. It's not because they're not perfectly lovely people who care about me. It's because that in order to provide meaningful feedback and understanding – and I mean REAL understanding – as it relates to the ups and downs of this ride called entrepreneurship, you really have to be on it yourself. It has to be embedded within your DNA. It has to be like your air - your method of survival.
And what a breath of fresh air ScaleUp was for me and my business.
Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed the classroom aspect of ScaleUp. I thought the curriculum was helpful, and many of the lessons helped me think through some challenges and narrow my focus in order to grow. But the "meat and potatoes" was – at least for me – the chance to interact with experts in their respective fields. I especially enjoyed the lessons on leadership from Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce President Ralph Schulz (so much so that I relish the four pictures I've taken with him this year).
I think the most helpful of all that ScaleUp offers is the opportunity to mastermind with other business owners. I've been in multiple mastermind groups before, but this one, by far, has been the best. In these moderated sessions, we got the chance to listen to other business issues and provide feedback, we got the chance to share our own challenges and receive feedback, and we all got to celebrate our wins and triumphs collectively. It has been amazing; so amazing that our group has decided to keep meeting - even now that we've graduated from ScaleUp.
In addition to this, another group from a previous cohort started a mastermind specifically for folks in my industry, and they were nice enough to include me. We've added a few other non-Scalers to our group, and I think we are on the path to an engaging and supportive experience for all involved.
In short, my experience with ScaleUp has been wonderful. It was punctuated with dynamic interactions with thoughtful leaders. You (and your business) would do well to take advantage of it.
ScaleUp Nashville is a competitive training program exclusively for Middle Tennessee’s small businesses. This six-month SBA-funded program assists growth-oriented small businesses as they grow revenue, build staff and expand services. ScaleUp is now accepting applications for its fourth cohort of classes. Applications are due by Wednesday, Feb. 1.