Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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January 08, 2023 | Tom Ballard

PART 1 | Hopes for 2023

Three local entrepreneurs share their wishes for 2023

We asked some of the entrepreneurs we spotlighted in 2022 to share with us their aspirations for their businesses and for the local entrepreneurial community.

Marcus Hall of  Marc Nelson Clothing  answered as follows:

  • For the company, “We hope to grow our e-commerce sales to one-third of our annual sales. Our e-commerce is currently our Achilles heel.”
  • For the community, “My hope for other businesses in the Knoxville area is that the employee pool reemerges. I cannot find people that want to work. When I do, their expectations of salary are unrealistic for a small business.”

Siblings Brandon, Ryan and Mariel Small of  Realtyless  answered as follows:

  • For the company, “Our aspiration for Realtyless in 2023 is to make Knoxville the most for-sale-by-owner friendly city in the US. We hope to grow our user base of buyers and sellers, bring together community, and help our neighbors build and retain equity in their homes.”
  • For the community, “Our wish for the Knoxville entrepreneurial ecosystem is to keep building on its success. We always feel welcome, included, and supported through the resources and connections in Knoxville. We are excited to see how the entrepreneurial community continues to grow and thrive in 2023!

Brent Gallo of  Hire A Cyber Pro  answered as follows:

  • For the company, he outlined four wishes around key words. (1) Networking – “Continue networking by growing my relationships with my current connections and establishing new connections in the local area and beyond”; (2) Education – “Continue to educate the community about cybersecurity. Last year I did four cybersecurity presentations, and I want to continue to do more. I am having a blog post feature coming in January by the Tennessee Small Business Development Center that is running a cybersecurity focus for the month. Looking forward to how the article will be received”; (3) Consistency – “As an entrepreneur, there are so many things you are required to do. There is a growth period where things are still being figured out and consistency can be hard to achieve. Some business aspects can be going well in one area and not so good in another. So, my goal next year is to have consistent success in all areas of my business”; and (4) Growth – “Next year, I want to continue to not only grow my business, but to also grow as a well-rounded professional. Being an entrepreneur has required me to learn new skills. I’ve become more confident, a better communicator, and so much more. I look forward to the challenges ahead and the growth I will gain from them.”
  • For the community, “I wish them the best of luck in accomplishing their business goals. Enjoy the entrepreneurial journey. Take pride in every achievement and celebrate every victory. Being an entrepreneur is hard, but the journey and end goal is worth it.”

If you have any New Year’s wishes you want to share, send them to us at

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