August 6, 2020  
  Entrepreneurial Resources - Advice for Tennessee Entrepreneurs  
  Nashville, Tennessee Resources for Entrepreneurs is a daily online magazine covering small business news. We help entrepreneurs transform ideas and innovations into greatness.

Starting a Business in Nashville, Tennessee

Thinking about starting a business in Nashville, Tennessee? This step-by-step guide walks you through the major decisions you should consider before opening a new business in Nashville.

Are You Ready for the Challenges of Being an Entrepreneur?

Before quitting your day job, consider your entrepreneurial instincts and capabilities.

While entrepreneurship has become a popular career choice, we recommend you do the following before you take the plunge:

  • Talk to other entrepreneurs in Nashville. Listen closely to their experiences and see if you think you too can be successful.
  • We recommend reading Should You Become an Entrepreneur?. For aspiring new entrepreneurs, it's a must read article.
  • Have a candid conversation with friends and family. Ask them directly: Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Listen carefully to their answer, as they presumably know your strengths and weaknesses.

What Business to Start

An important decision is what kind of business you want to start. We recommend that you read Business Ideas That Don't Make Sense.

For in-depth how-to guides on how to start specific businesses, browse our Good Businesses to Start section of our site. For example, you might be interested in our Starting a Dance Club guide or our Starting a Tatoo Parlor guide.

Don't forget that Nashville is the place where you are starting a business. Think about what needs are currently being underserved in Nashville. A critical consideration is whether Nashville demographics mesh well with your startup concept.

Nashville, Tennessee Demographic Information

Nashville has an active business community that includes small businesses, mid-sized businesses and large businesses.

To give you a better feel for Nashville demographics for small businesses, we have tabulated the small business sizes, based on number of employees, for business in Nashville.

Business Size# of
1-4 Employees 169744
5-9 Employees 67856
10-19 Employees 51480
20-49 Employees 40704
50-99 Employees 14688
100-249 Employees 9192
250-499 Employees 2448
500-999 Employees 720
1000+ Employees 528
All Nashville Businesses 357360

As a new Nashville entrepreneur, you may also be interested in the table below. It shows how many businesses there are in Nashville for each business category. By looking at this chart, you can get a general sense for how much competition there is in the business niche that you are pursuing.

Business Type # of
Advertising Agencies 47
Ambulance Services 4
Amusement Arcades 1
Animal (except Poultry) Slaughtering 2
Appliance Repair and Maintenance 7
Apprenticeship Training 5
Architectural Services 72
Armored Car Services 7
Art Dealers 12
Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing 1
Automobile Driving Schools 1
Automotive Exhaust System Repair 7
Automotive Glass Replacement Shops 14
Automotive Parts and Accessories Stores 73
Automotive Transmission Repair 13
Baked Goods Stores 10
Barber Shops 3
Beauty Salons 122
Beer and Ale Merchant Wholesalers 3
Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores 51
Blood and Organ Banks 3
Boat Dealers 4
Book Publishers 18
Book Stores 25
Books Printing 5
Bowling Centers 5
Breweries 2
Broom, Brush, and Mop Manufacturing 1
Building Inspection Services 3
Business and Secretarial Schools 2
Business Associations 64
Business to Business Electronic Markets 3
Cable and Other Program Distribution 6
Cafeterias 26
Camera and Photographic Supplies Stores 4
Canvas and Related Product Mills 3
Car Washes 36
Carpet and Rug Mills 2
Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services 20
Casino Hotels 1
Caterers 37
Cemeteries and Crematories 5
Charter Bus Industry 3
Child and Youth Services 36
Child Day Care Services 152
Children's and Infants' Clothing Stores 19
Civic and Social Organizations 72
Claims Adjusting 13
Clothing Accessories Stores 11
Coffee and Tea Manufacturing 1
Coin-Operated Laundries and Drycleaners 20
Collection Agencies 16
Commercial Bakeries 6
Commercial Flexographic Printing 3
Commercial Gravure Printing 2
Commercial Lithographic Printing 51
Commercial Photography 8
Commercial Screen Printing 11
Commodity Contracts Brokerage 2
Community Food Services 4
Computer and Software Stores 18
Computer Facilities Management Services 8
Computer Systems Design Services 66
Computer Terminal Manufacturing 1
Computer Training 9
Concrete Block and Brick Manufacturing 1
Confectionery and Nut Stores 3
Confectionery Merchant Wholesalers 3
Construction Machinery Manufacturing 1
Construction Sand and Gravel Mining 1
Consumer Lending 30
Continuing Care Retirement Communities 7
Convenience Stores 25
Convention and Trade Show Organizers 20
Convention and Visitors Bureaus 3
Copper Wire (except Mechanical) Drawing 1
Cosmetology and Barber Schools 4
Couriers 28
Court Reporting and Stenotype Services 2
Credit Bureaus 5
Credit Card Issuing 1
Credit Unions 36
Curtain and Drapery Mills 1
Custom Compounding of Purchased Resins 3
Custom Computer Programming Services 73
Custom Roll Forming 1
Dance Companies 3
Deep Sea Freight Transportation 1
Dental Laboratories 11
Diagnostic Imaging Centers 15
Diet and Weight Reducing Centers 8
Digital Printing 2
Direct Life Insurance Carriers 44
Direct Mail Advertising 12
Direct Title Insurance Carriers 27
Directory and Mailing List Publishers 9
Discount Department Stores 7
Display Advertising 7
Document Preparation Services 10
Drafting Services 6
Dried and Dehydrated Food Manufacturing 1
Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) 60
Dry Pasta Manufacturing 1
Drywall and Insulation Contractors 21
Educational Support Services 17
Electrical Contractors 116
Electronic Auctions 2
Electronic Shopping 13
Elementary and Secondary Schools 41
Emergency and Other Relief Services 6
Employment Placement Agencies 17
Engineering Services 127
Envelope Manufacturing 1
Environmental Consulting Services 12
Exam Preparation and Tutoring 16
Exterminating and Pest Control Services 23
Fabric Coating Mills 1
Facilities Support Services 15
Family Clothing Stores 47
Family Planning Centers 3
Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 8
Fine Arts Schools 23
Finish Carpentry Contractors 21
Fish and Seafood Markets 2
Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers 46
Flat Glass Manufacturing 1
Flight Training 2
Floor Covering Stores 32
Flooring Contractors 27
Florists 35
Fluid Milk Manufacturing 2
Food (Health) Supplement Stores 17
Food Product Machinery Manufacturing 2
Food Service Contractors 77
Footwear and Leather Goods Repair 4
Footwear Merchant Wholesalers 6
Formal Wear and Costume Rental 6
Framing Contractors 13
Freight Transportation Arrangement 40
Fruit and Vegetable Markets 5
Full-Service Restaurants 399
Funeral Homes and Funeral Services 22
Furniture Merchant Wholesalers 9
Furniture Stores 48
General Automotive Repair 108
General Freight Trucking, Local 27
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 12
General Rental Centers 14
General Warehousing and Storage 30
Gift, Novelty, and Souvenir Stores 45
Glass and Glazing Contractors 8
Golf Courses and Country Clubs 6
Grantmaking Foundations 21
Graphic Design Services 51
Greeting Card Publishers 1
Hand and Edge Tool Manufacturing 1
Hardware Manufacturing 1
Hardware Merchant Wholesalers 17
Hardware Stores 25
Hazardous Waste Collection 6
Hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal 13
Heating Oil Dealers 1
Historical Sites 2
HMO Medical Centers 2
Hobby, Toy, and Game Stores 22
Home Centers 6
Home Furnishing Merchant Wholesalers 16
Home Health Care Services 36
Home Health Equipment Rental 8
Homes for the Elderly 14
Household Appliance Stores 8
Human Rights Organizations 15
Ice Manufacturing 1
Industrial Building Construction 2
Industrial Design Services 1
Industrial Gas Manufacturing 1
Industrial Launderers 8
Industrial Mold Manufacturing 2
Inland Water Freight Transportation 4
Institutional Furniture Manufacturing 1
Insurance Agencies and Brokerages 294
Interior Design Services 29
Internet Publishing and Broadcasting 8
Internet Service Providers 9
Interurban and Rural Bus Transportation 4
Investigation Services 7
Investment Advice 48
Iron and Steel Mills 1
Iron Foundries 2
Irradiation Apparatus Manufacturing 1
Janitorial Services 118
Jewelry (except Costume) Manufacturing 2
Jewelry Stores 46
Junior Colleges 6
Kidney Dialysis Centers 12
Land Subdivision 19
Landscape Architectural Services 18
Landscaping Services 111
Language Schools 3
Lessors of Other Real Estate Property 10
Libraries and Archives 2
Limited-Service Restaurants 406
Limousine Service 2
Linen Supply 2
Local Messengers and Local Delivery 10
Locksmiths 4
Luggage and Leather Goods Stores 4
Luggage Manufacturing 1
Machine Shops 11
Mail-Order Houses 15
Manifold Business Forms Printing 2
Manufactured (Mobile) Home Dealers 4
Marinas 1
Marine Cargo Handling 2
Marketing Consulting Services 40
Marking Device Manufacturing 2
Masonry Contractors 33
Mattress Manufacturing 3
Meat Markets 6
Meat Processed from Carcasses 1
Media Buying Agencies 4
Media Representatives 8
Medical Laboratories 19
Men's Clothing Stores 29
Metal Heat Treating 1
Metal Stamping 1
Metal Window and Door Manufacturing 1
Miscellaneous Intermediation 13
Mobile Food Services 4
Monetary Authorities-Central Bank 1
Mortgage and Nonmortgage Loan Brokers 38
Motion Picture and Video Production 62
Motor and Generator Manufacturing 1
Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing 1
Motor Vehicle Towing 17
Motorcycle Dealers 7
Museums 9
Music Publishers 85
Musical Groups and Artists 186
Musical Instrument and Supplies Stores 9
Musical Instrument Manufacturing 6
Nail Salons 7
Natural Gas Distribution 2
New Car Dealers 36
New Housing Operative Builders 13
News Syndicates 3
Newspaper Publishers 13
Nonresidential Property Managers 29
Nursing Care Facilities 18
Office Administrative Services 59
Office Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 26
Office Supplies and Stationery Stores 22
Offices of Certified Public Accountants 111
Offices of Chiropractors 44
Offices of Dentists 196
Offices of Lawyers 435
Offices of Optometrists 24
Offices of Other Holding Companies 17
Offices of Podiatrists 12
Offices of Real Estate Appraisers 34
One-Hour Photofinishing 6
Ophthalmic Goods Manufacturing 4
Ophthalmic Goods Merchant Wholesalers 4
Optical Goods Stores 26
Outdoor Power Equipment Stores 3
Packaging and Labeling Services 4
Packing and Crating 2
Paging 3
Paint and Coating Manufacturing 3
Paint and Wallpaper Stores 15
Painting and Wall Covering Contractors 31
Paper Industry Machinery Manufacturing 1
Parking Lots and Garages 80
Passenger Car Rental 34
Payroll Services 15
Periodical Publishers 34
Perishable Prepared Food Manufacturing 2
Pet and Pet Supplies Stores 14
Pet Care (except Veterinary) Services 14
Petroleum Bulk Stations and Terminals 8
Petroleum Refineries 1
Pharmacies and Drug Stores 72
Photography Studios, Portrait 16
Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas 1
Plastics Plumbing Fixture Manufacturing 2
Political Organizations 13
Portfolio Management 40
Poultry Processing 1
Prepress Services 12
Printing Ink Manufacturing 9
Private Mail Centers 11
Professional Employer Organizations 8
Professional Organizations 46
Public Relations Agencies 42
Quick Printing 12
Radio Networks 11
Radio Stations 39
Ready-Mix Concrete Manufacturing 9
Real Estate Credit 77
Real Estate Investment Trusts 12
Record Production 14
Recreational Goods Rental 1
Recreational Vehicle Dealers 5
Refrigerated Warehousing and Storage 2
Reinsurance Carriers 2
Remediation Services 8
Repossession Services 4
Residential Property Managers 88
Residential Remodelers 73
Retail Bakeries 4
Reupholstery and Furniture Repair 7
Roofing Contractors 20
Rooming and Boarding Houses 9
Sales Financing 14
Satellite Telecommunications 2
Savings Institutions 1
Sawmills 2
Scheduled Passenger Air Transportation 18
School and Employee Bus Transportation 1
Securities Brokerage 59
Security Guards and Patrol Services 41
Septic Tank and Related Services 2
Sheet Metal Work Manufacturing 3
Shoe Stores 62
Siding Contractors 13
Sign Manufacturing 18
Site Preparation Contractors 20
Small Arms Ammunition Manufacturing 1
Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars 49
Soap and Other Detergent Manufacturing 1
Soft Drink Manufacturing 3
Software Publishers 15
Software Reproducing 2
Solid Waste Collection 13
Solid Waste Landfill 3
Sound Recording Studios 52
Special Needs Transportation 4
Sporting Goods Stores 35
Sports and Recreation Instruction 9
Sports Teams and Clubs 4
Spring (Light Gauge) Manufacturing 2
Steel Wire Drawing 1
Storage Battery Manufacturing 1
Tax Preparation Services 30
Taxi Service 4
Telecommunications Resellers 8
Telemarketing Bureaus 10
Telephone Answering Services 4
Telephone Apparatus Manufacturing 1
Television Broadcasting 8
Temporary Help Services 96
Temporary Shelters 7
Testing Laboratories 11
Textile Machinery Manufacturing 2
Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters 14
Thread Mills 2
Tile and Terrazzo Contractors 14
Tire and Tube Merchant Wholesalers 8
Tire Dealers 41
Tire Retreading 3
Title Abstract and Settlement Offices 22
Tobacco Stores 11
Toilet Preparation Manufacturing 1
Tortilla Manufacturing 1
Tour Operators 11
Tradebinding and Related Work 13
Translation and Interpretation Services 4
Travel Agencies 38
Used Car Dealers 83
Used Household and Office Goods Moving 11
Used Merchandise Stores 54
Vending Machine Operators 25
Veterinary Services 34
Video Tape and Disc Rental 29
Vocational Rehabilitation Services 16
Voluntary Health Organizations 29
Warehouse Clubs and Supercenters 3
Water Supply and Irrigation Systems 3
Wholesale Trade Agents and Brokers 105
Window Treatment Stores 1
Wired Telecommunications Carriers 50
Women's Clothing Stores 76
Wood Container and Pallet Manufacturing 1
Wood Preservation 1
Wood Window and Door Manufacturing 2
Zoos and Botanical Gardens 2

Should You Franchise?

Examine a list of Nashville businesses and you'll notice that many local entrepreneurs have gone the franchising route. But is franchising the right option for you?

Most business experts recommend that you consider franchising as an option. We have many articles on franchises, such as Evaluating Franchise Opportunities. Get a thorough education on franchising by browsing all of our Articles on Franchising.

To learn about specific franchise opportunities, check out our Franchise Directory.

Sample franchise opportunities include Subway Franchises and Starbucks Franchises. Alternatively, you can browse franchise categories, such as Accounting Franchises and Moving Franchises.

Note on Nashville Franchise Opportunities: You will need to contact franchisors directly to see if their franchises are available in Nashville.

Have You Considered Buying an Existing Nashville Business?

If you have some capital to play with, you may want to Buy a Business in Tennessee. Follow that link and you can review several good businesses for sale in Nashville.

For anybody who wants to buy a business, we recommend reading this useful article: Buying a Business.

Selecting a Name For Your Venture

A big decision when starting a company is choosing a company name. Believe it or not, choosing a good company name can be a big contributor to your business success.

We strongly advocate that you make sure the ".com" domain name is available for your company name. Every business needs a strong Web presence these days, and having a non ".com" domain means somebody else may outrank you in the search results for your own company name.

Numerous company naming issues are discussed in more detail in this article: Branding Advice.

On a final note, given that you are starting a business in Nashville, it's very important that you make sure no other Tennessee company is using the business name you want to use.

Company Formation in Nashville, Tennessee

It's very important that your business is formed as a legal entity that is separate from its owners. Among other things, forming a legal entity for the business limits your liabilities.

The entity you form can be a traditional C-corporation, a Limited Liability Company (LLC), or an S-corporation.

Incorporating is a very common way to legally create a business entity. Of course, you have to decide which type of corporation to form and where to incorporate. Just because you are starting a business in Tennessee, you don't necessarily have to incorporate in Tennessee. In fact, you can incorporate in any state you would like to. However, if you do incorporate in another state, you'll have to register as a foreign corporation in your home state.

There's a lot to know about forming a company. We recommend you read some of the educational articles about company formation that are availabe on our site, such as Getting an EIN. You should also consider getting professional assistance from your business lawyer. Finally, if you are starting a business in Nashville, Tennessee, our information on Incorporating in Tennessee may be a useful resource if you decide to incorporate in Tennessee.

Don't Forget to Create a Business Plan

Creating a business plan is vital to the health of your new business. Indeed, your business plan is your game plan for how you hope to grow your business. Failure to write a business plan

To learn more about business plans, read Business Plan Contests. You can also get free counseling sessions provided by your local SCORE chapter in Tennessee.

Getting Money to Start a Business

Getting your Nashville business the capital it needs to succeed requires strong organization skills and perseverance. If you don't have a rich uncle to fund you, you'll need to be creative in how you approach your fundraising efforts.

To learn about raising money, we recommend you read the fundraising articles on our site, such as 504 Loans.

For Nashville entrepreneurs in need of startup financing, check out our List of Tennessee Angel Investors and our List of Tennessee Venture Capital Firms.

Letting the World Know You Exist

Whether your goal is to attract Nashville customers or you plan on selling elsewhere, you'll need to have a good marketing plan.

There are myriad resources on this site to help you with your marketing plan. Holiday-Powered Marketing is a good read to get your marketing juices flowing. There are many more articles on marketing on our site. Visit our Small Business Marketing resource section to see them all.

The Art of Selling

Being able to sell is fundamental to your business success. Whether you are focused on selling local customers in Nashville or are selling to customers throughout Tennessee, the United States or even the world, you have to be able to sell.

The key to selling is to set sales goals goals and monitor your progress towards those goals. Let us help you refine your selling techniques through our many useful sales advice tips.

Tips on Customer Referrals is worth reading, as it may give you some good ideas on how to sell your products or services. We have many more good articles on selling that you may enjoy reading.

Increase Your Entrepreneurial Knowledge

Good business owners know that they don't know everything.

As an entrepreneur who lives in Nashville, Tennessee, you will want to take advantage of the learning programs at local Tennessee educational institutions. It's also worthwhile to see if there are any Nashville networking organizations.

Never Give Up

You have a dream -- starting a business in Nashville. To achieve your dream, you have to persevere, even when the odds are against you.

If you choose the right business and love what you do, you will greatly increase your odds of success.

We are here to help Nashville businesses to be successful. We believe entrepreneurship is an amazing engine for job creation in Nashville, neighborhood development and overall economic health.

More Entrepreneurial Resources for Starting a Business in Nashville, Tennessee

Here are more links that we believe will help you be successful in starting a business in Nashville.



Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs

Buying a Business

Writing a Business Plan

Raising Money


Small Business Marketing

Advertising Advice

Public Relations -

Customer Service Tips

Entrepreneurial Selling

Workplace Safety