Success Defined

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
– Anaïs Nin


Business Owners Talk About How They Got to the Top

Success is highly subjective and doesn’t always look the same from business to business. The following five companies demonstrate what it takes to go from an entrepreneur’s dream to concrete reality, expanding and growing and constantly redefining what progress means to them. Read on to learn more about what these founders have to say about success, both personally and professionally.

Prioritizing People


Beginning with one coffee kiosk in 2019, owners Christopher Wood and Douglas Lee have worked to perfect their drive-thru experience and dedicated themselves to serving and supporting the community. They’ve grown to three main locations and a satellite location at Chattanooga State Community College as well as a sister company that roasts their specialty coffee.

“At (Be)Caffeinated we define success as being happy with where you are and enjoying life. We want to create a safe space where our employees feel valued, seen, and loved, and that, in turn, passes on to our customers. If we are able to make everyone we interact with feel that, then we have succeeded.

I think a business venture can be considered a success when it creates value and safety for those who interact with it and promotes the values set as the core principles of the venture. Our core principles are to cultivate kindness, foster community, be happy, and be caffeinated. They drive the decisions we make and promote the decision-making abilities of our employees even when we aren’t around. At the end of the day, business is about providing value and building communities, and if you can do both, the money usually follows. This is also why we focus so heavily on partnering with other small businesses, nonprofits, and artists. Together we can be better, and a rising tide lifts all boats.”

– Christopher Wood and Douglas Lee, Owners, (Be)Caffeinated

Riggs & Associates ad

Helping Others Achieve Their Goals

Senior Life Planner

With years of experience in legal, financial, and senior healthcare to bring to the community, Aaron Webb founded Senior Life Planner to help relieve some of the fear and stress that can sometimes come from getting older and caring for loved ones. “I believe that my life’s purpose is to help others. So, personal and professional success for me is defined in terms of whether I have helped others achieve their goals. When I started Senior Life Planner, my goal was to help seniors and their families navigate the difficult decisions that need to be made during the aging process. I set out to help ease pressures placed on seniors and their families by providing them with advice based on my many years of experience as an operator and executive in the senior living industry and as a licensed attorney.

As a caretaker of both of my parents as they aged, I personally experienced the difficulty many families face in making crucial decisions regarding living arrangements, finances, and impact on the whole family’s well-being. Each time I answer questions from seniors and their families, I feel successful when they express their gratitude for my help. It gives me a great deal of personal satisfaction when I can provide guidance to others based on my life’s experiences.”

– Aaron Webb, CEO, Senior Life Planner

Decosimo Corporate Finance web ad

Focusing on Integrity and Community

Creative Revolver

Demonstrating impressive growth since his first client in 2014, Ryan Dugger cultivated Creative Revolver into one of the leading photography companies in the area with a team of nine offering a variety of services from real estate and architectural photography to creative video production.

“Success for me personally is the feeling when I look at my wife and my sons and I know that they’re proud of me and the work that I’ve done. Professionally, I believe that success is achieved when you find meaning in your work and you know that you’re making change in a positive way in your community and the people around you. And at the end of the day, I know all the work I performed was done with integrity and met the standards that I set for myself. 

I believe that if you are looking at a new business venture, you’ll find a path to success if you overcome the fear of failure and embrace it. In the words of Thomas Edison, ‘I have not failed; I have just found 10,000 ways that will not work.’ When I started Creative Revolver in Chattanooga nine years ago, I strived to create a business on the foundation of integrity, empathy, and perseverance. And if we did those things, success would take care of itself.”

– Ryan Dugger, Owner & Creative Director, Creative Revolver

Empire Communities ad

Pursuing Diverse Culinary Experiences

Kals Group

Eunice Kal has owned multiple restaurants in the Chattanooga area over the years and is no stranger to the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. In her role as supervisor of operations at Kals Group, she acts as support for individual restaurant management teams at Rodizio Grill, Totto Sushi & Grill, and Zaya Korean Steakhouse and works to continue ensuring success for each of them.

“Personally and professionally, I define success as the fulfillment of my long-held goals. Throughout the past 18 years, my husband and I have had a burning desire to bring a diverse range of flavors and cuisines to the people of Chattanooga. The success of our vision has been resoundingly affirmed by the diners of Chattanooga who have embraced the international flavors at our three restaurants. Their support and satisfaction have validated our pursuit of bringing diverse tastes and culinary experiences to this vibrant community.

I followed a set of success-oriented ideas when I first launched my business. First and foremost, I treasured God’s direction in all facets of my business. I also valued creating a productive team. Our collaborative efforts are focused on providing services that are guest-centered and putting their needs first. As a result, even during busy periods, our team continually provides excellent customer service. This strategy not only guarantees ongoing success and more earnings, but also enhances our team’s overall working environment.”

– Eunice Kal, Owner, Kals Group

Broadleaf Web Ad

Striving for Security and Sustainability

Advanced Energy Engineering & Design, Inc.

One of the early advocates for sustainable building designs and technology, Phillip Pickett founded Advanced Energy Engineering & Design, Inc. in 2001 to help clients prioritize sustainability and energy efficiency while still meeting their design needs and achieving their budget goals. Throughout the company’s history and growth, he has put people – both his team and his customers – first.   

“Frankly, this business started me. It was born from an opportunity that came at the encouragement of a close colleague and friend who was looking for an engineering firm that wasn’t just interested in making money, but in building a long-standing relationship. Business is about living. We work to live, to feed our families, and as a means to survive. We don’t live to work. My goal is that our business provides a way for our employees to lead financially secure lives and maintain their families, and we want our clients to be able to pursue the same thing. When you can consider your employees and clients friends and work together to live fruitful lives – that, to me, is success.”

– Phillip Pickett, President & Founder,
Advanced Energy Engineering & Design, Inc.

bendabout farms ad

You Also Might Like

[related_post post_id=""]
CityScope Celebrating 30 Years Logo

Get access to the next issue before it hits the stands!