ONCELOGIX: CEO Trinity Manning, COO Rod Brown, CFO Ty McLaughlin
OnceLogix is a Black-owned health care software company that provides innovative solutions. They service almost 450 companies in several states, a majority of which are also minority-owned. Based out of North Carolina, CEO Trinity Manning, COO Rod Brown, and CFO Ty Mclaughlin are millionaires with a staff of 20. Serious about empowering their community, they frequently support causes and organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters. With future plans to adopt a school in their hometown of Winston-Salem, they recently donated and distributed backpacks and school supplies.
Named as an Inc. 5000 company in 2016, OnceLogix was recently chosen as one of the Forbes Small Giants 2017: America’s Best Small Companies. McLaughlin attributes the company’s success to their “spiritual base.” The company earned revenues of $3.5 million in 2016 and is on target to surpass $5 million this year. During a recent trip to Detroit, the humble entrepreneur broke bread with rolling out while sharing several gems of wisdom.
What brought you to Detroit?
I think what Detroit is doing with making its comeback is great. I think it’s going to be a tech hub at some point. So, [we’re] just trying to get involved and support [that effort]. It seems like the foundation is in place. Detroit has been such a strong minority city. It’s important to our culture that Detroit is vibrant. The landscape is changing, Detroit is adapting to tech and becoming the Silicon Valley of the Midwest. I want to check out the landscape to see where we can fit in.
Explain how a non-tech person fits into the tech landscape.
Tech people normally are artists; they’re creative. So they always need a strong operations person, a strong finance person, there’s roles to play for people that are non-tech. The most important role in any business is sales. I tell people, “You’re gonna fail if you don’t sell.” We sell every day, whether we realize it or not, we’re all salesmen and women. It’s just whether we develop that or not — and everything can be developed.
OK, so you deal with the money. Tell us in laymen’s terms what you do as the chief financial officer.
I’m responsible for making sure that we stay sound financially; that we’re fiscally responsible, that all the bills are paid, and the decisions we make today won’t harm us in the future and that they’ll be beneficial in the future. So it’s risk management, financial planning and human resources too.
What need does your ShareNote software fulfill?
ShareNote is our flagship product. When you go into a behavioral health facility or a mental health agency, we pretty much manage all of their processes from A to Z. Client data, staff data, documentation and billing.
You all have been doing this for a while. What is some wisdom you can impart to millennials?
I’ve been an entrepreneur pretty much from the time I was 21 until now. You gotta focus on what you’re doing. A lot of times, people have ideas and they have thoughts, but they don’t take the time to focus and put those into action. One of the worst things that can happen for a millennial that wants to be an entrepreneur is to get the job of their dreams. That job of their dreams ties them into, OK, now I’m making a certain income and my lifestyle needs to represent this income. The biggest deterrent to entrepreneurial success is a lot of debt. If you have that big nut to crack every month, it prevents you from riding that roller coaster of risk where you may have a good month or a bad month. The steady income is security, but it’s not going to lead you to financial freedom. The younger you are when you understand that, the better off you’ll be.
Share some positive and negative realities that Black-owned businesses face.
We deal with the realities of race and racism. People see you as a Black person before they see you as a business person. Sometimes, our community would rather do business with someone that doesn’t look like them. Some of them feel special if they do business with someone other than a minority-owned company. The number one thing is that you have to be better at everything you do because you’re graded harder than everyone else. Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth. We’re the only community that expects hookups and discounts. In other communities, they know they have to pay. A discount is given by me, not requested by you.
So how do we change that mindset?
As men, we have this question of, how do we reach the young men and the young boys? That conversation has been going on for years and someone finally gave me the answer. With this generation, if we want to reach the young men, we gotta reach the mamas. If you don’t reach mamas, what we teach them is being torn out when they go home because it’s not being reinforced. So we have to teach the adults and those youth, then I think that’s how we make the change.
How do you and your partners balance each other out?
Number one, you gotta have similar values. You gotta have a goal that’s bigger than all of you. The biggest thing is that you have to consistently put your ego aside daily. Everything is done with unity. It’s not about somebody trying to stand out.