Patrick Donohue’s first foray into entrepreneurial life began with a few pieces of paper, a small table and a pitcher of ice-cold lemonade. Today, Donohue has traded the lemonade for words of wisdom as he offers valuable lessons to budding entrepreneurs trying to build a successful business with his new book “Breakout Valuation.”
Published by Houndstooth Press on Sept. 20, “Breakout Valuation” represents the culmination of decades of Donohue’s business experience. The 45-year-old Eden Prairie resident currently serves as CEO and managing partner of Hill Capital Corporation. He is also actively involved with local entrepreneur organizations 1 Million Cups Eden Prairie and EO Minnesota.
Eden Prairie Local News asked Donohue a few questions about his new book and entrepreneurial spirit.
Tell us about “Breakout Valuation” — what is it about, and why did you want to write it?
“Breakout Valuation” is all about helping entrepreneurs build a valuable business. Breakout is getting value today based on what the business can do in the future. I wrote the book to level the playing field in finance for entrepreneurs that are often misled by investors, lenders and business buyers.
You started the book in March 2020 — was this a pandemic project?
Yes! The pandemic was an opportunity for me to achieve my dream of putting my life’s work into a book.
Who is the intended audience for the book, and what do you hope readers get out of it?
Entrepreneurs. My goal is for readers to be empowered to build their business and create value for themselves, their families and communities.
Where does your entrepreneurial spirit come from? Did it really all begin with a lemonade stand? How have you nurtured that spirit over the years?
My entrepreneurial spirit came from my family, namely my Grandfather Bob Drummond. It did begin with a lemonade stand that my grandpa helped set up!
I have nurtured my entrepreneurial spirit over the years with involvement in 1 Million Cups Eden Prairie and Entrepreneurs’ Organization.
You are heavily involved in Entrepreneurs’ Organization MN (EO Minnesota) and 1 Million Cups Eden Prairie — what do you like about these groups? Why would you recommend someone get involved?
I am currently the president of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization of MN and an active organizer of 1 Million Cups Eden Prairie. I invest significant time with these organizations as my personal and professional interests are perfectly aligned with them.
I love these organizations because they actively support entrepreneurs. I see these organizations as a safe place for entrepreneurs to share their journeys and experiences with fellow entrepreneurs.
I recommend getting involved with these organizations because they are true to their missions of supporting entrepreneurs and offer a substantial return on the investment of time that participants make in attending events/meetings.
Are there successes you’ve witnessed through these organizations that inspire you?
Yes! There are literally hundreds of stories of successes I have witnessed. I have many of my own – and the most recent is the fact that this book would not have happened without the Entrepreneurs’ Organization of MN. A fellow member, Aaron Street, the author of “Small Firm Roadmap,” encouraged me to write “Breakout Valuation.”
Tell us about your greatest successes as an entrepreneur. What about failures you learned something from?
My greatest success as an entrepreneur is in the works! I founded Hill Capital Corporation, a private investment fund, and I could not be happier with the impact we are having with building and supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The failures are many, and I have come to realize recently that what I labeled as “failures” were some of the greatest learning and inflection points of my life. So, ironically, I would not change anything in the past. The stumbles in the early days of starting Inspiration Medical Technology, Hill Capital Corporation, DealPen and all of my entrepreneurial ventures have laid the foundation for my work today.
What is a typical day like as CEO of Hill Capital?
My typical day is meeting and corresponding with the founders of our portfolio companies, doing due diligence on potential investments, meeting with entrepreneurs that are seeking capital partners and attending events that we host and sponsor. I love what I do.
What do you do in your free time?
Family first! Soccer games, Scout outings, cross country meets are a priority. I actively waterski and downhill ski. I teach downhill skiing at Buck Hill as I absolutely love the sport!
Anything else you would like readers to know?
Support entrepreneurship wherever possible. Entrepreneurship sounds glamorous in the media, but the reality is that there is very little that is easy in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs take big financial risks, and many of them make substantially less money than if they had a “real job,” but they do it because they want to make the world a better place with their products and services. Entrepreneurship is the glue that holds our communities together and makes them vibrant, yet that is rarely seen or understood by the general public.
Help the kids with their lemonade stand! It will likely be one of their best life lessons. It is for me!
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