Serial Entrepreneurship


Founding and growing a successful company is no easy task, and it defies the odds of startup failure rates. While a Harvard Business School research paper found that a venture-capital-backed entrepreneur who succeeds in a venture has a 30% chance of succeeding in his next venture (as compared to an 18% chance of success by first time entrepreneurs) the odds are obviously still against you. When I see a group that has succeeded twice, my curiosity is peaked to learn about what they are doing right.

Most Mississippians are familiar with the Newcomb family who

founded McAllister’s Deli. Don Newcomb, a dentist turned entrepreneur, opened a small deli called Checquers in 1989 with his dental assistant and office manager, Debra Bryson. In November 1992, they renamed Checquers to McAlister's Deli when they opened a second location in Hattiesburg. By the end of 1995, there were five locations in Mississippi and Alabama and they began franchising the company. Don’s son Chris joined the group early on and was instrumental in the company’s growth which landed them on Inc.’s 500 fastest growing companies in back to back years. In 1999, they sold their interest in the company to outside investors and in 2001; they sold their rights in the final McAlister’s corporate stores they owned.

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