This month, we’re introducing some of America’s most inspiring entrepreneurs by interviewing all 18 finalists for this year’s Dream Big Small Business Awards. The awards program honors the achievements of some of our nation’s most remarkable small business owners and celebrates their contributions to the American economy. We’ll be spotlighting a different finalist every day between now and the Small Business Summit 2017, where the winners will be announced (register to attend here).
The company: BrandHoot
Who’s in charge: Nate Nordstrom
Where are they: Rochester, Minnesota
What they do: Build custom websites and mobile apps
Q: How did your company get started?
Nate Nordstrom: I started BrandHoot for two reasons. I felt burned out at my job, and I thought there were a lot of opportunities to help businesses better stand out and grow through digital solutions and strategies. Turns out, the opportunity proved true, and nearly all of our clients come through word of mouth. We mostly design and build custom websites and mobile apps – always from a strategy-first perspective. We’re grateful and excited for each new day.
Q: What barriers have you faced while building your company and how did you overcome them?
Nordstrom: Barriers show up nearly every day. For me, my faith in the Lord and family are keys to overcoming the moments when you just want to walk away or give up. Starting and growing a business has absolutely been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in life, harder than overcoming significant allergies as a kid and running grueling cross-country races during high-school. Throughout life I’ve learned that the hardest things are often the most rewarding. It also helps a lot to be doing things that you love. Being excited about what we do is essential to maintaining motivation.
Q: What has been your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?
Nordstrom: A couple years ago we won business of the year from the largest Minnesota Chamber followed by a Dream Big top 100 award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I was so excited and surprised. It’s been an incredible journey and I’ve been blessed to have coworkers, friends, and family members that I love and respect supporting our growth along the way.
Q: Tell us about your company’s role in the community. How do you use serve your hometown?
Nordstrom: Because of our role in the community, we get asked to speak to students several times a year. It’s a joy and privilege to be able to pour ideas and passion into wide-eyed kids. Every single kid is full of potential. As a high-school student, I had some very low moments, including contemplating suicide. Being able to help show kids hope and a future, especially those kids like me that don’t fit into a box –it’s so rewarding.
Q: What does it mean to not only have created your own job, but to also create jobs for others?
Nordstrom: This is a wonderful part of being a business owner. Even with great people, HR stuff is hard and not very fun. But it’s worth it. Our team is essential to our success and it’s a joy to be able to provide them and their families with the resources to live and grow.
Q: What would you do if you won the Dream Big Award’s $25,000 grand prize?
Nordstrom: I’d love to put the money right back into our business. I’ll probably put the money right into savings to create even more growth leverage and jobs.