By Andreas Butler
For Hometown News
Investor, entrepreneur, author, television personality and motivational speaker Daymond John rallied the business troops at the Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce's 93rd Annual Meeting on Monday.
Mr. John is the founder and CEO of FUBU clothing line and a star of the ABC reality show "Shark Tank." His estimated worth is $100 million.
Local business leaders, politicians and others packed the event, which highlighted entrepreneurship.
"This year is all about entrepreneurship in the area," said Suzanne Forbes, outgoing chamber president. "We brought Mr. John in to talk about the inspiration and spirit of what it takes."
Mr. John sees the national landscape improving for entrepreneurs.
"I think due to the recession and the shortage of capital that the stronger are surviving while others are finding it harder to get capital," he said. "On the flip side, most wealth is made this way. There are many people who spent 20 years at a company that thought they were safe with a good retirement package who are now entrepreneurs. That means there is a lot of talent out there."
Entrepreneurship is on the rise and will impact the future economy, Mr. John said. "That is what will save us from the recession and where we are economically at the moment."
Local business leaders also are seeing a rise in entrepreneurship.
"There is so much activity now," said Ms. Forbes, who also is a partner in accounting firm James Moore & Co. "There are programs and colleges looking to grow entrepreneurship. There are a lot of new and expanding businesses. I think everyone now realizes that everybody is needed to create new jobs. There is no magic answer but one job at a time will grow the economy."
Mr. John had plenty of advice for those wanting to employ themselves.
"Don't do something because it's a passion. You must love what you do, but educate yourself," he said. "Start small and take affordable steps. Don't bet the house and farm on everything until you learn and understand the mistakes of the business. Believe it or not, you will never think of anything new, but a new form of delivery. Someone has been in the area of it and has more experience."
He also pointed out the mistakes he has seen others make.
"A lot of times entrepreneurs don't educate themselves on the business," Mr. John said. "They analyze how great the business is, but don't go make sales, find holes and fix them. That must be done before opening stores and taking loans. They gamble first instead of taking safe bets."
Taking advantage of today's technology was another point he made.
"The challenge is social media and technology. How can we use the basics of the old ways of doing business with the new technology? People who are doing it the right way are prospering. Those who are not are facing more challenges," he said.
Mr. John encouraged minority groups to find opportunities instead of barriers.
"Everyone faces challenges. Women may not make as much as men and are not always taken as seriously. African-Americans and Latinos are often told that they don't come from enough higher education and don't deserve to make as much. We all have challenges but it is about opportunities," he said.
Despite the number of entrepreneurs who amassed wealth without a college degree, Mr. John encourages education.
"There are many that have made it without school, but were they really successful? Many have made it but once they got their money they lost it because they didn't have the financial intelligence or the business sense. You still need school to find out the business sense and financial intelligence," he said.