Are entrepreneurs born, or made? One way to find out might be to talk to actual entrepreneurs, and find out what they have to say on the matter. In the case of today’s subject, the opinion is clear.
Dr. Mark McKenna openly says that he believes he was born an entrepreneur. He attributes this, at least in part, to his parents. As they were both self-employed while he was growing up, he feels that their entrepreneurial spirit transferred to him. Not only that, but they also provided him with fantastic examples of what an entrepreneur should be – both running their own successful businesses.
His father is a professional surgeon with his own private practice, while his mother owns her own publishing company. From an early age, these role models instilled him with a sense of independence which was never to waver. He now says that he cannot imagine working for someone else, and that he has been an entrepreneur since he entered the world of work.
It’s easy to understand that this is the truth. Dr. Mark McKenna was a self-made entrepreneur. He had no training, and did not go to business school; nor did he take on an internship or assist a director before trying it himself. Instead, it was during medical school at Tulane University that he began his first forays into business.
Spending his spare time moonlighting at a local prison, performing medical examinations, he saved up enough money to make his first investment: in real estate. One investment grew into another, and before long, he was setting up his first company. McKenna Crescent Investments grew naturally, leading him to both open Universal Mortgage Lending and acquire Uptown Title over time. This portfolio of companies allowed him to do everything in-house. They would design and build residential real estate properties, originate mortgage financing, and then close titles without needing a third party. There were more than 55 people employed within the company – until disaster struck.
That disaster was something felt on a global level: the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. With millions wiped from his portfolio overnight, this would have been rock bottom for almost anyone. Many would have turned around, left entrepreneurship behind, and gone to work for an established company. But McKenna Crescent Investments wasn’t done. With a strong life lesson learnt – that you aren’t a true businessman until you know what it’s like to lose everything – the company was rebuilt from the ground up. At the same time as the city was being brought back to life, the business was growing once more, helping to rebuild or refurbish low-income housing that was damaged during the flooding.
What happened next was potential financial devastation once more, in the form of the real estate crash. But by that point, this savvy entrepreneur had already left real estate behind, feeling a change in the waters and cashing out to start a new venture.
You would imagine from this level of acumen that Dr. Mark McKenna knew exactly what he was doing. The truth is, it was all trial and error – and he was just so natural at running a company that it worked out. After selling his second company, ShapeMed, in 2014, the time was right to finally get that education that he had been missing out on. after taking a predominantly-online degree, he is now the proud holder of an executive MBA, with a concentration on entrepreneurship.
So, why put in the effort now? The reasoning behind it was that Dr. Mark McKenna had a new idea – and he was going todo it right this time. He wanted to push OVME, his new venture, to the highest possible heights. It’s understandable: this new idea may just be his best yet, and it’s not like he has a history of bad ideas.
ShapeMed, his second company, was successful enough that it was eventually bought by Life Time Fitness Inc to join their gym portfolio. It was a medical clinic with a difference: a boutique for elective healthcare treatments, such as Botox, where customers were made to feel like they were number one. Starting with just one venue in Atlanta, it soon grew to become enough of a going concern that Life Time Fitness snapped it up.
Staying on as a director was never going to work for very long. Dr. Mark McKenna felt the pull of a new business: something that would really change the way that business was done in the medical sector. Hence the rigorous studying to ensure he knew everything he needed to know, and the determination to begin again and soar even higher.
This new business is OVME, pronounced ‘of me’ – designed to illustrate the personal touch provided by the business. It’s a retail medical aesthetic company, which has the power to connect those who wish to improve themselves with skilled health care practitioners. Beginning in Atlanta once again, the first clinic is set to be only the first of many. With plans for Las Vegas and beyond, the aim is to eventually be able to provide OVME services in major cities nationwide.
The direct-to-consumer mobile platform is one that has not yet been seen in the medical field. It will combine the convenience of companies like Uber with the skill and quality that has been seen in ShapeMed and now the first OVME clinic. It’s all about finding the most qualified professionals, and ensuring that they are well-matched with customers who require the precise services that they specialise in.
With $4 million in seed financing from a venture capital firm based in Atlanta, it looks like Dr. Mark Mckenna is set to do it again. He has a five-year plan in place which takes the funding into account, and will clearly propel the business to a new level – perhaps even changing the face of elective healthcare nationwide.
So, are entrepreneurs born or made? We’ll have to take his word on this one: the man clearly knows his stuff.