In this transcript, Clay Clark (US SBA Entrepreneur of the Year) discusses the importance of the MacGyver approach on Thrive15.com, one of the best business schools in Michigan!
Clay Clark: Do you remember who MacGyver was? MacGyver was this 80s TV character, he kind of... I'm just going to draw what I believe to be MacGyver. He basically had this amazing, he was this curly mullet back here he had going on. He had this thing going on. MacGyver was somewhat known for is it didn't matter what the situation was he could always solve the problem using something that he had in his pocket. They would have to have to turn on an engine of a car or they would try to turn a bomb off or something or somehow escape. Whatever he found in his pocket right here was always what he could save the day with. He could always save the day with whatever is in his pocket. He pulls it out of his pocket magically boom he says "Aha whatever is in my pocket, this is what I have, this is what is going to save the day."
He could save us from any situation using just whatever he found in his pocket, it was unbelievable. He always was just resourceful, he could take duct tape and somehow power up a truck. He could take gum and somehow use the gum to keep the bomb from exploding. He was very resourceful, he was like one of those guys on those survivor shows where you leave the guy in the middle of nowhere and he somehow takes two coconuts and builds a nuclear reactor and makes his way back home. It's crazy but that's what MacGyver was all about. Now in entrepreneurship being resourceful is absolutely essential. Today we are going to lay out the principles needed for the MacGyver approach its not about resources, it’s about the resourcefulness.
One, principle number one is only the resourceful survive. I've started a dj company, dj connection and we did the peak, thousands and thousands of weddings per year and corporate events. I remember it was thanksgiving of maybe 2003 2004 somewhere in that range and we had one of the guys who was a pretty well paid guy. College graduate, he couldn't figure out how to install shelving in our mini storage. Whatever reason, he just couldn't install shelving but before he couldn't install the shelving, he couldn't find the shelving. I put it on his list I said "Hey.
I would like for you to go to out there and find some shelving that we could put on the shelves to hold our dj equipment." I'm just giving you some context, the average piece of dj equipment was about as wide as this podium and it weighed about 80 pounds. We call it the gig rig and it would have to sit on this shelf. The gig rig was like this and it would have to sit on the shelf. I bet you the thing weighed about 60 pounds. We'd have shelving to put the gig rig on and then we'd have shelving where we put the speakers on it as well. The speakers would go on the shelf and the gig rig would go on the shelf and all the equipment. That's how we kept it organized and before I sold the business we had about 45 systems that we had. It's about 2003 and I just bought these new systems we were going for five systems to eight systems.
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I had to have shelving built for three new systems. All the guy had to do was to find the shelving and then to build the shelving and to put it up. I get a call, I'm in Houston for thanksgiving, I answer the phone "Hello, this is Clay, Yeah Clay, I can't find any shelves, I can't put the shelves up Have you looked all over town? Yes I have? Have you called places in the phone book?" This is back before Google. "Did you call places in the phone book? Yeah I did you ask people? Yes I did" Here we go, time to be a MacGyver, now at the time, I wasn't good at holding people accountable , didn't really understand some of the systems and processes I understand today. I hopped into my car and I literally drove all the way to Tulsa from Houston.
Leaving my wife in Houston by herself for thanksgiving so that I could get home. To fix this because we had equipment showing up and failure was not an option. What did I do? I went to the store just like he went to the store and I didn't find any shelving. I went to the hardware store; I didn't find any shelving that I needed. I bought some wood and I bought a circular saw and I bought a hammer. I bought some nails and I bought some phone cord Phone cord, phone wiring. I built these shelves by myself, having never used a circular saw before. I put it all together, it looked terrible.
I used phone cord to hold the shelving firmly against the wall. I used phone cord and that is how I built this system. Do you know that those shelves were still in use for almost three years? They never did break? Why do I say that? It's not because I'm a genius but it's because I had to be resourceful. It's is different being an entrepreneur than working for one. You've got to be resourceful if you're going to survive. If you're not resourceful you just can't make it. You're not going to be successful.