From Marketing to Basketball

Here’s an entrepreneur for the week. Pairing an eclectic background with smarts and sheer hard work, this Minnesota big-timer has taken some risks to move from marketing to basketball. 71 years old and still on his A game. The man is Glen Taylor, owner of MN Timberwolves and Lynx. I only knew him as the public figure in sports, but after reading Glen Taylor’s take on business, I now see he’s much more.

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Taylor grew up on a small farm and started his journey with no formal business background, like many entrepreneurs. He graduated from Mankato State with degrees in social science, math and physics. Working at a small printing and marketing firm to pay for college, he mostly did wedding invitations and collateral for brides. He bought the establishment for $2 million over a 10 year payment plan at age 21. The risk payed for itself in no time and now grosses $1 billion in sales.

But wait there’s more. He then went back to school for a business degree. Just Harvard. And even served on the Senate for 9 years? No way. Later he went on to purchase ownership of Minnesota’s WNBA and NBA basketball teams.

So how does being well-rounded and eclectic serve him well? He says he reinvests his profits back into marketing and learned to be conservative with money. He constantly takes risks and makes opportunities. And he knows how to distinguish his brand in the marketplace.

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His final word is a business tip: “In every company you have maybe five to 10 things that are really important…Figure out where you are most vulnerable. Is it your people? Is it your marketing? Is it your finance? Is it your technology? Hopefully you get at the worst and can move it up off the list. Then there will be another worst. It’s a very simple idea, but it’s been very helpful to me.”

Maybe I’ll give that a try. If you ever feel like you are too old to learn something, take a note from this guy. He never seems to stop adding to his bank of worldly knowledge, and tackles challenges head-on.


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