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Nick Mammola visits Catawba College as CEO Lecture Series speaker

By Amanda Raymond

amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

Catawba College’s 13th annual CEO Lecture focused on entrepreneurship on Tuesday.

Nick Mammola, the founder and operator of Kingside Partners, LLC, was the event’s speaker. Kingside Partners is a company that provides C-Level Management experience to businesses, according to the company’s website.

Mammola has worked in many different industries and business models, such as licensed sports properties, new media, web and mobile technologies, digital media and multi-unit restaurants.

He has an undergraduate degree from Boston College and received an MBA from Suffolk University.

On Tuesday, Mammola talked about what it took to become an entrepreneur in today’s business world.

“Companies today want innovative thinkers, they want students with a diverse set of skill sets, they want problem-solvers, they want critical thinkers,” Mammola said. “Those are all attributes of a successful entrepreneur.”

Mammola said becoming an entrepreneur starts with having a dream while recognizing the reality of risk and challenges.

“The fact of the matter is that most businesses fail,” he said.

He said it was important to have mentors around so that up-and-coming entrepreneurs can avoid some of the pitfalls others have fallen into.

“The most successful CEOs have coaches, advisors and mentors,” he said.

Mammola talked to the audience about what investors are looking for — the problem an entrepreneur is solving, the kinds of customers who will benefit and what the business model looks like.

“A business model is a description of what could be,” he said. “What is the problem you’re solving? How are you going to do it?”

Since the business model is based on guesses and hypotheses, Mammola said investors also look for proof that the business model can actually become reality. That is when entrepreneurs need to take their business ideas out into the marketplace.

“It’s about taking the potential and let’s validate some of these key assumptions and some of the beliefs and the ideas that I have in my business model,” he said.

Although it is important to test products and services out, Mammola said entrepreneurs have to do so without running out of money.

Mammola told the crowd that even if they did not want to become entrepreneurs, they can still use entrepreneurial skills in life.

“You need to look at yourself as a business, you need to be the CEO of you,” he said.

Catawba College has launched a Center for Entrepreneurship and Experiential Development program that will provide courses on entrepreneurship starting in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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