Mark Haney of Haney Business Ventures has founded or co-founded more than 20 businesses with a focus on community-based values by offering opportunities for entrepreneurs and military veterans. He is a board member on the Sacramento Entrepreneurs’ Organization and Allegiant Giving Corp.,which all are dedicated to strengthening the entrepreneurial spirit of the region. Haney initially launched a successful video distribution company that expanded into a security/surveillance provider, grossing more than annual $200 million with hundreds of employees. He also hosts a weekly radio broadcast, Entrepreneurs Unlimited which covers an array of topics related to entrepreneurship, business, startups and more. In a recent interview with Startup Grind Sacramento, Mark discussed his entrepreneurial journey.

Born and raised in Roseville, Mark started out by attaining tons of beta VCR players and eventually opened up a chain of 14 video supply stores throughout the region. Once the video industry went down, Haney pivoted into security cameras and targeted video installers through telemarketing campaigns. They were hit hard during the 2008 housing collapse and made a successful exit two years later.

“My friends, family and community — as they succeed I succeed.”

Shortly after, Mark shifted gears into more of a philanthropic approach by launching Allegiant Giving — focused on the “heroes of today and the leaders of tomorrow.” In his mind, the heroes were vets coming back from war and the leaders were aspiring entrepreneurs filled with drive and ambition. One of his first veteran-focused projects was the creation of a wheelchair for a veteran amputee that allowed him to go offroading and resembled an Army tank. His efforts with the community of entrepreneurs have allowed him to get involved in real estate, limo services and, of course, security surveillance systems.

“When I’m looking for business partners, I’m looking for rock stars.”

Haney said he’s very selective about who he partners with because he needs people that are going to make others move and take action. If you don’t have the attitude of a rock star — the lead singer of a band — he’s uncertain whether a partnership would be mutually beneficial. More importantly, Mark emphasized that everyone possesses natural skills that should be capitalized on rather than trying to balance out the responsibilities of an entire company. It’s a common trap for entrepreneurs to take on more roles than needed in the name of saving money. However, he said we can’t do everything alone, and learning skills you’re not naturally adept at can waste a lot of time and actually cause you to lose money in the long run. He finds it much more effective to form a well-balanced team in which each member can offer their own unique gifts to contribute to company objectives.

“So often we do things we hate…but keep an open mind to where your weaknesses and strengths are.”

The full interview with Mark can be viewed here.

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