Inventor offers entrepreneurial tips to Dalton State College business students

·4 min read

Oct. 12—Bob Mackey, who invented the YONO Clip and secured funding for it on the ABC television series "Shark Tank," shared "10 Things Nobody Told Me about Entrepreneurship" with potential entrepreneurs in Dalton State College's Wright School of Business on Thursday.

"These took me awhile to learn, and they're things that would've helped me if I'd known them before," said Mackey, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Georgia. Dalton State business students are in an ideal spot, because "the Dalton community is so supportive of small businesses and entrepreneurs, (so) find the environment that is right for you, and learn how to identify customers."

It's critical to remember "an entrepreneur is a person, (albeit one) who believes anything is possible," Mackey said. "Sometimes, people forget that, and go directly to the business."

In addition, "entrepreneurship is the journey," he said. "Your seat should be the last place you go when you walk into any room. (Instead), you should go around, talk to people, at least acknowledge everyone, (because) you're always on, everywhere you go, as an entrepreneur, and selling (needs to be) second nature to you."

Furthermore, "information is currency," he said. "It costs you more by not having (information, so) never stop learning, (because) the more you learn, the more you earn."

On "Shark Tank," Mackey and his business partner, Michael Green, received a $150,000 investment in the YONO Clip from Daymond John in exchange for 30% of their company.

"Success will change a lot of things, including the people surrounding you, (so) if you're going into business, you're not looking for support," Mackey said. "You're looking for customers."

While at the gym one day, Mackey alighted upon the notion that many people — himself included — would rather not set their belongings on the floors of public spaces, like gyms, restaurants and airports, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the YONO Clip can attach to most any surface, instantly becoming a hook for a bag, towel, briefcase, backpack or other item.

"Your 9-5 sustains your living, (but) your 6-12 creates your lifestyle," he said. "Time management" is critical for an entrepreneur.

That tip stood out most from Mackey's presentation to Guy Hartline, a freshman in the Wright School of Business.

"You have to be able to sustain yourself, but then you can use your other time to work on your passions and become a better person overall," Hartline said. With that "6-12" time, "you should focus on something productive — not, like, video games or social media — that will help you."

"Develop yourself some options, because people treat you better when you have options, (and) become a STEM — speaking, teaching, efficiency and management — expert," Mackey advised the students. Speaking, teaching, efficiency and management ability will "build your entrepreneurial portfolio faster than anything."

Mackey's tips and perspective were "fantastic," said Marilyn Helms, dean of the Wright School of Business. She particularly appreciated his "STEM" advice, and said it is important that "our business students and would-be entrepreneurs" follow it.

"Manage people, (because) if they work for you, they make you money," Mackey told his audience. "Look for smart workers, not hard workers — find out how to do things better — and create opportunities for others to be part of the solution, because you may miss things along the way."

"That's why a team is so important," he said. As Albert Einstein said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."

"Whether you want it or not will show at the end of the day," Mackey said. "It's hard to compete with someone who wants it a lot more than you, (so) understand what you want, and don't let anyone get in the way."

Finally, "you only need to be right once," he said. "I had 10 other ideas before YONO Clip — that was me being right once — (so) that idea you have, go for it."

Mackey was "passionate and high energy," Hartline said. "It was a lot of fun."

Mackey "made it an experience, and he's very charismatic and inspiring," said Caleb Cochran, also a freshman in the Wright School of Business. "It was not a boring lecture, like you might expect."

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