Businesses tend to equate marketing with “koozies, pens and assorted trade show swag.”

“I can’t tell you how many companies we’ve worked with who believe that the only role of a marketing department is to order t-shirts and set up the next tradeshow booth,” said Megan Nivens-Tannett, founder and CEO of Flourish, a marketing and public relations firm based in Huntsville.

“Marketing needs to be very thoughtful, very intentional and very strategic. It needs to be measured. It needs to be validated,” said Nivens-Tannett. “You also need to understand your market – and your competitors – to ensure your tactics will resonate.”

Flourish, founded in March 2018, represents a variety of clients across the Tennessee Valley, providing strategic marketing, public relations and digital media support.

In less than two years, the growth trajectory has skyrocketed for the small business startup.

Last year, Flourish was nominated as an Emerging Business of the Year for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards.

Today, the four-person firm has more than 15 clients across North Alabama – serving industries such as aerospace and defense, public safety, healthcare, finance, telecommunications, entertainment and music, and health and wellness. Flourish also provides volunteer support for nonprofits in the military and entrepreneur communities.

Nivens-Tannett and her team make it look effortless, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, life’s biggest setbacks can often challenge one to forge a new path.

After being laid off from her job, Nivens-Tannett was at a loss. As a single mother striking out on her own following a divorce, Nivens-Tannett knew she had to do something.

Her 11-year-old daughter, Madison, suggested, “Why don’t you start your own business?”

Not wanting to let her daughter down, that’s exactly what she did.

“Madison came up with the name and designed the logo,” said Nivens-Tannett. “After getting that first taste of entrepreneurship, it opened my eyes; I never wanted to work for anyone else again.”

And now there are four.

In April 2019, Nivens-Tannett hired account manager Logan Moore; by November, account manager Alex Hendrix and account coordinator Presley Price were added to meet the growth surge. All four are self-professed “Doer of All Things,” which complements their “Work hard, play hard” office culture.

The synergy among the team is dynamic and allows for an opportunity to shine; showcasing each woman’s skills and talents.

“The work culture aligns with our personalities,” said Nivens-Tannett. “Every day is a new adventure and, so far, it’s been a really fun ride.”