Nelson Merchan – Advisor Insight
Nelson Merchan is more than just a professional business advisor; he is also a seasoned entrepreneur himself, having founded his own small business back in August of 2006. Having lived through the entrepreneurial process himself, he leverages his experience alongside his own marketing-savvy advising style in order to lead his clients to success and enrich the small business culture of the Danbury area.
First and foremost, Nelson sees himself as a “Connector”, someone who helps clients meet and network with important resources, possible customers, and even other neighboring small business owners.
“I like for people to meet my clients because there are opportunities for connections and business opportunities to blossom,” Nelson says. In the spirit of this, Nelson attends many different networking events in the Fairfield area to bolster his own network for the sake of his clients, and even invites his clients to attend these events when he perceives value in it for their specific situations.
“I want to provide more value and expertise to my clients,” Nelson says. “Every time I see an opportunity to learn, I take it.” Nelson cites a certificate in Digital Marketing that he is working toward from NYU as an example of this.
Besides serving as a bridge for the networks of his clients, Nelson is also a veteran marketing guru.
“I’ve worked for small companies and large companies as well as my own business, and marketing has always been a very important component in my work,” Nelson admits. “It’s led me to have a better understanding of my clients.”
The secret behind Nelson’s success with his clients is not only his own extensive knowledge and experience, but also the software tools he can use to help his clients as a CTSBDC advisor. Such tools include Market Research Online, which provides unparalleled demographic and economic information about each area in the state of Connecticut, as well as GrowthWheel, a diagnostic tool for figuring out what aspects of a business need to be worked on.
“My clients often comment on how we offer something very unique and different here at the CTSBDC,” Nelson recounts. “They’re always happy to have the opportunity to take advantage of these tools.”
In addition to Nelson’s ace advising work, he also serves as a pioneer in building the Danbury economic community and network. Nelson always encourages his clients to join the Danbury Innovation Center in order for small business owners to meet and connect. He also starts meeting groups for his clients in specific industries or demographics, such as a group of Hispanic business owners that networks and conducts meetings in Spanish, and a group of over 20 speakers and presenters meeting every month and discussing business building strategies and tips.
“I’m always mindful about the economy in Danbury, and I want to do my part to improve it,” Nelson says. “The truth is, if you want to improve an economy, help create and grow successful companies in the area, whether it employs one person or 50 people.”
Nelson’s network in Danbury is a prime example of how different parts of the city can help eachother and raise everyone up as a whole. He has connections in the News Times, a Danbury newspaper which has written articles on many of his clients, as well as trusted contacts in local Danbury banks, the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), and the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Nelson has also reached out to local libraries, which refer locals to him and the CTSBDC when they are in need of small business advising services, as well as Western Connecticut State University, the president of which is excited about the work that the CTSBDC does. Nelson has already taken on one of its students as a client.
In about two years of being a CTSBDC advisor, Nelson has raised over $1.2 million in capital funding for his clients, as well as spending over 400 hours in advising. He cites his advising success on a core tenant of his business plan, the credit card model.
“When explaining your product or service to someone, there’s two things that’ll happen,” Nelson explains. “Either they’ll tell you that it looks nice and politely leave, or they’ll pull out their credit card and buy it. That’s the credit card model: if there is demand, if people want what you’re selling, then you’re on the right track.” Nelson also challenges his clients to validate what they assume is true about their business, in order to see if they have a valid plan and course of action, or if they’ve strayed off the path to success with incorrect business assumptions and goals.
Today, Nelson continues his advising work with the CTSBDC in the Danbury area, at the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, as well as his own small business. Nelson often says that advising is a personal matter for him as well as professional.
“When I see a client, I see myself, just starting out as an entrepreneur almost ten years ago,” Nelson says. “I see their dreams and objectives and challenges, and that makes me remember my own dreams and objectives and challenges. When I see that, it motivates me to provide my very best, just like I want the very best for my own business.”