Small Business Owners are Problem Solvers.

10442933_799056863447594_3479946887507879144_nI’ve always said, show me a problem and I’ll show you a business opportunity.  That’s exactly what happened to Keith Hayman, founder of Music City Pizza in Nashville, TN.  Hayman moved to Nashville after having lived in New York and San Francisco, both well-known cities for their delicious pizza which can be found on nearly every city block.  Hungry for a slice of pizza pie, Hayman began searching for a good pizza joint in Nashville.  He learned while there were plenty of barbecue restaurants, pizza was hard to find.

So he decided to take matters into his own hands.  He’d open his own pizza parlor.  But he didn’t stop there.  Like most entrepreneurs, he had a bigger vision.  A former touring musician, Hayman wanted to combine his love for music, pizza and beer into one package. Recently, his business caught the eyes of Capital One Spark and was featured in their “I Am Small Business Proud” campaign. In the past few weeks, award-winning filmmakers, Trisha Dalton and John Sears trekked across the country, visiting small businesses and telling their stories—Keith’s Music City Pizza was a hotspot they couldn’t miss.

“I thought pizzas look like records and everyone comes to Nashville looking for a record deal,” Hayman said.  “So I came up with a record deal for up and coming bands.  What that means is I name pizzas after the bands, and they come and play my venue.  They get exposure and for every pizza that sells the band gets a buck.”

In addition to supporting area musicians, Hayman also works with local charities on fundraising activities.  Like so many small business owners around the country, community support — giving back — is an integral part of the business culture.

Open less than a year, Music City Pizza has had its share of obstacles.  As luck would have it the venue launched at the same time as about 75 new restaurants in the Nashville area.  Then Nashville was hit by the Polar Vortex which kept many potential customers inside their warm homes. But Hayman survived, and he says business is picking up.

“This business operation is the perfect balance for me.  I get the business and I get the creativity.  I still play almost every day and I get to create music, too,” Hayman explains.

What I love about the Music City story is that it is indicative of the spirit of entrepreneurship.  And it has what I believe are the elements of a successful venture:

*   Identify a market need and solve the problem;
*   Make sure you love what you do;
*  And be unique.

This is just one of the many inspiring stories profiled by the “I am Small Business Proud” filmmakers who crossed the country talking to business owners from all walks of life.  I encourage you to watch the vignettes on YouTube.  The entire campaign which ends June 14 after a 10 week road trip was sponsored by Capital One Business Spark.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author (yours truly) and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Capital One