David Nackley is driven and passionate, recognized as a leader in the finance industry with a focus in the Technology space on private equity, corporate finance, and commercial banking. Throughout his career, David has led a multitude of successful deals, including the acquisition of new clients for the companies he has worked with. One of David’s many fortes is his boldness — When traditional strategies are not effective — for example, in new or unusual markets — David is unafraid to consider new and untested strategies. This leadership plays a critical role in penetrating new markets, markets where traditional strategies would never work. Clearly, David is a major asset for companies that are looking to close deals that are aimed at pushing for greater profitability.
David got started in finance through the Credit Training program at Chemical Bank. Through his passion for technology, growing up the son of an Electrical Engineer and completing engineering classes in college, he developed an intense passion for Technology companies and the real world problems that they could solve.
David lives in Darien, CT. He has served on the boards of the Darien Youth Lacrosse and Darien Youth baseball, feeding his passion for helping the young improve and grow. In his free time, you can find him playing golf, reading books or taking a weekend ride on his motorcycle.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
My oldest son inspired my [business idea] when he was only 8 years old: He suggested that I start a firm advising companies on how to raise capital and structure their business because I seemed smart and knew a lot! (The wisdom of Youth!)
How do you make money?
My firm makes money providing high quality objective advice to companies and entrepreneurs. We are a fee for service shop and do not collect commissions or fees from any of the providers or sources that we recommend. Our integrity and reputation is second to none and it is why we have many loyal customers.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
I was fortunate that I had a head start on some key customer acquisitions. It took us about 14 months to break-even and become profitable. It was such a joy to hit that milestone more than 8 months before I expected that we would.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Absolutely, As an entrepreneur and type A person my biggest failure was trying to do everything all by myself. As a founder/entrepreneur you feel like you have to know everything, solutions, media, content even how the technology you are using works. This is a misuse of ones productive time. When I finally leaned on my network of colleagues for their expertise in different areas, I was able to spend more time thinking strategically about clients and growth and less time on the minute details, that while important were better handled by those with the expertise in those areas
How did you get your first customer?
Our first customer actually came in via our website. I was so focused on landing one of the big “whales” from my prior positions that I never gave much thought to the initial meeting. The customer was so pleased with our no pressure sales tactics and our sound advice and methodology. I believe the lesson to be learned is that being yourself, relaxed and listening is a great recipe for impressing the prospective client. Sometimes we lean too heavy on our brilliant idea or “pitch” when really it is some of the other characteristics such as body language, tone of voice and facial expressions, as well as words you use. These will reveal a lot about you and go along way to making clients trust you which is what our business is about.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Content Marketing. For years in finance, we always sold the Brand, the product or just the need for money. I met with a marketing expert and she opened my mind to marketing the content and ideas, not the product. It also allowed us to market to more people in a company’s finance department, which led to more business as these people moved up or on to other companies.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Letting my IT person go. This person was with me from the beginning and also became a close friend. However, they did not have the same drive and enthusiasm as I did. This was more of a part time/hobby versus a business/career. I agonized over what to do until I remembered being at a finance conference with Jack Welch speaking and he said this should not be a surprise to someone if they are fired. He was right when I sat down and finally went through my feedback my IT person jumped in and said I know where you are going and I agree, I think I have a great replacement. They were right IT is a strength now and has helped us win more business.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Earlier Riser (5:30am) and do not look at any electronic device( except for newspapers and my books) until 9am. This allows me to focus on the items that I have set as my priorities for the day and not get distracted or sidetracked by outside influences
Set task lists and monitor them. I strive to always do what needs to get done no matter how much I may dislike it. I do not like putting tasks off or worse not doing them at all because they aren’t fun or take a long time.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Finally being independent! That is a scary prospect. Success or failure comes down to you. When you own the business there is no one to blame but yourself for everything. Some things you can control, some market forces you cannot, but your strategy and decision making will be what sets your course and ultimately will lead to success or failure. From this, my most satisfying moment was the month I was able to pay off the Corporate Card in full and began to make principal payments on the line of credit that I used to fund the business. It was a measure of my success as a company that I now was producing cash in excess of the expenses and I could now look at different opportunities to continue to grow the business and make it thrive. It validated my vision that I could succeed in providing the services that my company does to clients.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
We continue to grow and I hope I will be able to add two more employees by the end of the year. I am hoping that we can get to 10 employees so that we can qualify for discounted insurance that I hope to provide all of my employees. I have a son in college, studying to be an accountant and he has an interest in the business and I hope one day I may be able to turn this all over to him so that he can take it to another level or direction and be able to make a career out of helping companies and people succeed financially.
What business books have inspired you?
“Make You Bed”, written by Admiral William H. McRaven. I am constantly re-reading chapters for their simplicity and relevance in everyday life and problems.
“The Tipping Point” written by Malcolm Gladwell. I love the insightful observations that he makes about how small changes can have major impacts and effects.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
Buying an Insta-Pot. I like to cook healthy meals and soups, but like any entrepreneur, I am time constrained. This allows me to put together great meals in 45 minutes or less and the kids love my cooking. It removed a major stressor in my life and gave me back some family time with my children.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be more patient, listen more and talk less. Sometimes youthful exuberance and energy can hold you back. Understanding all facets of the problem/situation can be more helpful than proceeding down the path to solving a problem quickly in order to impress the boss/team.