You might say that Pat Mackaronis has never not been an entrepreneur.
He got an early start as an entrepreneur at the age of 12 when he used to live near a golf course and would gather up lost golf balls from the players in the trees, ponds and lakes. Pat would then clean up the golf balls and set up a stand in the parking lot and sell the golf balls back to the original owners! Cleaned up of course. Pat continued throughout high school with all types of self-made business hustles always figuring out how to provide people with services that they were looking for.
By his sophomore year in college, Patrick Mackaronis had become a full blown young businessman, as he attended school he created live-event promotions and marketing business targeting students over a dozen of the areas universities. Pat would book locations for the college students to visit, and set up live entertainment with musicians, DJ’s, bands and other acts. The business began to grow, as did his database of college students, their emails, cell phone numbers, and social media handles. Pat grew the business so successfully that by his senior year, he had moved the operations from his dorm room to an off-campus office, had a staff of 17 full- and part-time employees and over 100 business accounts.
Mackaronis did earn his Bachelors Degree in Marketing and Public Relations during his time at Monmouth University. Before graduating, he had signed a lease to a retail space not far from the college campus, creating a restaurant that would cater to the college students with deliveries as well as the local beach community. This soon became Pat’s home base and location of his marketing office behind the restaurant, but as the business grew he soon was on to the next big thing – Event Productions, but this time much bigger, with bigger artists and bigger partners like Live Nation and AEG, where they were now financing the shows and acts and targeting audiences of over 5,000 customers per event. As the years went on, Pat Mackaronis continued to grow his network and partners in a second restaurant as well as a nightclub, he also invested in several small businesses and worked with teams to grow their projections.
Mackaronis, who also has worked on the other side of the fence as an investor/trader, sees it all in simple terms: “I guess you could say that I like a challenge” he says.
And his biggest project to date just might be Brabble, a Disruptive Technology Company that combines social media and eCommerce with valuable patented technology that drives revenue for customers. Brabble also can be used as a standalone technology to drive revenue for large ecommerce retailers via their patented technology called Star Tags.
He founded Brabble in 2013, working the contacts he’s developed over the years to do much better than a shoestring operation – raising millions through his network of private investors and investment bankers.
“You need to have a vision,” he advises others similarly on the entrepreneurial path. “More than that, you must have no fear, and a strong team. A great idea can only get you so far, without the right support team with access to much needed resources like money and partnerships the struggle can be hard to overcome.”
Patrick Mackaronis recently sat down with Young Upstarts to share his insights and thinking about entrepreneurial success.
Is there one particular aspect of starting up a new business that you think young entrepreneurs tend to neglect?
Patrick Mackaronis: Over the past 4 or 5 years, thanks to the media and TV shows like Shark Tank, everyone today thinks they have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. And while I absolutely encourage that way of thinking for everyone, my strongest advice is to make certain you don’t just have an idea, but that you have a well-executed and thought-out plan to success. How do you start the business, how much investment of money will it take to get the project off the ground, who will support it, how will you grow it, how will your investors make money? All parts of what is vital in a business plan.
Isn’t the entrepreneur who doesn’t have a business plan hampered in terms of accessing necessary funding to grow the business?
Patrick Mackaronis: Yes, depending on the kind of funding you’re looking for. You really need to know inside and out how much money you’re looking to raise. You need a strong CFO or some sort of financial advisor working with you right out of the gate, and always make certain that you start your business with the advisement of strong legal counsel and a securities attorney if you ever want to raise even one dollar. There are many laws and regulations and you need to make sure you follow everything to a T. You need to get your business plan together, learn your pitch, what makes you valuable and start the process. Raising money that is necessary could take years if you don’t do it strategically and the right way. Time is more valuable than money sometimes, so make sure you really plan this out before you begin.
Since we’re talking about raising money, what route do you think startups should take in getting off the ground?
Patrick Mackaronis: Well, each business is different, so it’s really not possible to say one option over another. Again, you need to have a strong network, and if you don’t, you need to bring people on the team who have access to money. Give these people equity to get them on board early on when cash is low. You need to know your first dozen options to go to for investment because not everybody says yes, as a matter of fact most people say no. You need to find the right investors to get the ball rolling, then you can start really looking at the bigger targets like family offices or strategic investors.
You also talk about “family and friends” funding. Have you gone this route, and what words to the wise do you offer up about this?
Patrick Mackaronis: Everyone has different terminology for certain things when it comes to investors. Friends and family basically just means people that you know, or people that are introduced to you individually and usually invest early on at smaller denominations like $10,000, $25,000, $50,000 investments. Some people like to use the word angel investors, but at the end of the day you can call these people anything they want to be called, its takes timing, communication, persistence and a good product and vision to raise money. If you want it bad enough you will get it done, just never give up.