Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Anna-Vija McClain, Founder of Piccolo Solutions, located in Nashville, TN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Piccolo Solutions is a business development and marketing firm based in Nashville, Tennessee. At our core, we help companies scale and be more profitable through better systems. By utilizing data and knowledge that our clients already have, Piccolo improves internal and external processes, whether it be custom training programs for new employees, improving scope of work formats to prevent “scope creep,” or creating more efficient workflows for their teams.

Tell us about yourself

I started Piccolo at my lowest point, unemployed and struggling with my mental health. I decided to start this company with mental health in mind, and I’m proud to say we’ve grown our client roster while prioritizing the happiness of our team. I encourage my team to speak candidly about clients and projects that aren’t making us happy, so we can transition out. This builds their leadership development and allows the team to teach each other what kind of company we want to grow.

Overall, I genuinely love people. I love to meet, learn about, and connect with people so that they can learn and grow from and with each other. That’s what gets me out of bed every morning.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment has been the opportunities I’ve had to help the next generation of entrepreneurs get started. I am a Founding mentor with the Vanderbilt Women in a business organization and have served for more than five years. I mentor students directly, participate in their job fairs and networking events, and work with them to create the first executive in residence.

I have also served as a mentor with SCORE Nashville – a volunteer organization of business leaders – coaching small businesses over the past five years. I absolutely love to teach others, so having those opportunities to share my experiences and contribute to our local business community has been a huge achievement for me.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Understanding that everyone will leave you. As someone who invests heavily in my professional relationships (employees, clients, partners, etc.), it can be hard when their growth paths move past Piccolo. It’s hard to stay transparent when either side is considering a different option, and often, we are trained to believe that the end of a relationship has to be bad. It’s difficult to stay open and honest with people, encourage them to grow, and find compromise and a happy ending when paths inevitably part.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be a lifelong learner. What I’ve found working with companies across a variety of industries is that you may be an expert in your field, but no one is an expert at everything. Especially with how rapidly things change and develop online, it’s essential to be a lifelong learner and continuously invest in your own professional development. It can be difficult to dedicate time to an online course to brush up on industry trends or learn new software, but continued curiosity is what will help you position your business for future and long-term growth.
  2. Don’t get offended. Get better. This is one of our core values at Piccolo, and it certainly applies to business ownership. Part of being a lifelong learner is taking negative feedback or constructive criticism and putting solutions in place without getting offended or letting your ego dictate your decision-making. Every business owner struggles and fails at something. The successful ones learn from their mistakes and move on.
  3. Jump in. Starting a business will always be scary and risky, and overwhelming. Be smart, do your research to assess and manage the risks, then do it. Motivation follows action.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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