Jesse Cole is the owner of the Savannah Bananas, Fans First Entertainment and author of the book Find Your Yellow Tux. Jesse was on his way to becoming a professional baseball player when he injured his shoulder. It was this adversity that spurred him in the direction where he has made more positive impact than he ever could have made as a pro baseball player.
As a business owner, I am always trying to learn what we can do to serve our customers better and better organize our business. I’ve joined masterminds, attended conferences and read books.
A few months back, I read the book Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz. It is a great book that challenges the reader to figure out what the most important thing is that their business does. This answer is harder than you might imagine.
To walk you through the process it gives you a couple examples and one example was the Savannah Bananas baseball team. They figured out that the most important thing that they do is not play baseball.
They place entertaining their fans ahead of playing baseball. The catalyst for this shift in thinking is owner Jesse Cole. Jesse is the owner of the Savannah Bananas, Fans First Entertainment, author of the book Find Your Yellow Tux and a true visionary.
That being said, his vision did not come easy. He had to face some adversity.
The adversity of running a baseball team first began when he was hired to manage the Gastonia Grizzlies. The team was broke. Jesse was not even getting paid to do the job. Barely any fans were coming to the games. He had to do something or he was going to be out of a job and the team would no longer be able to play. Jesse decided to begin with interviewing potential fans and ask what they thought was the problem.
The consistent feedback that he received was that baseball was too long and overall it was boring. Ultimately it was during this adversity that he realized he was not in the baseball business but rather the entertainment business.
I became so interested after reading the book Clockwork that I also read the book Find Your Yellow Tux. The book Find Your Yellow tux resonated even more with me than the book Clockwork and I honestly could not put it down.
Jesse was speaking my language. He has an intense focus on his customers and making the experience enjoyable for them . There were many similarities between his philosophies and the philosophy of Journey. We have always said things like “Great Fitness is Great Entertainment” and “We put the FUN in FUNctional fitness”. I felt connected to this guy and I wanted to connect more.
Cyndy surprised me for Valentines day with a trip to a Savannah Bananas baseball game and the experience was amazing. I not only got to meet Jesse but he agreed to be a guest on the Overcomer’s podcast.
Still, I don’t want you thinking that this episode is just for business owners because it is not. Jesse gives the secret to living with more energy and having more fun no matter what you do in life. He encourages that whatever is normal we should do the exact opposite. He shares wisdom from PT Barnum and Walt Disney. In my opinion, with regard to entertainment Jesse Cole is the PT Barnum of baseball and with regard to vision he is the Walt Disney of his industry.
5:48 - 6:30 - Jesse Cole gives the secret to living life with more energy. You must first realize what gives you energy. Then you must do what gives you energy and don’t do the things that don’t give you energy. Sometimes in life challenges and adversities might lead you in another direction that might be best for you.
7:14 - 9:52 - How Jesse Cole found his yellow Tux - From the adversity of having a struggling baseball team, Jesse begins speaking with potential fans and learns that they think baseball is too long and too boring. From there Jesse decided that baseball needed to become more entertaining. He advises everyone to ask what business they are in and what business they are really in. And he also recommends that everyone find their own version of a yellow tux.
13:02 - 15:13 - How can everyone put more fun in their life? Jesse Cole has the answer. You get what you give. When you give fun. You have fun. Consider creating a list of what gives you energy and try to spend your day doing more of those things. Look at those times in your day when you are lost in the moment. Do those things that give you energy and you will have fun doing it.
17:52 - 18:50 - Jesse tells our listeners what his motto of “Fans First. Entertainment Always” means to him. He says “Whatever is normal. Do the exact opposite.” He uses gyms for an example and points out all the similar options. He reminds us that people will come to us for how we make them feel.
19:00 - 22:21 - The definition of entertainment is to provide enjoyment and to provide amusement. Jesse asks “Aren’t we all in the entertainment business. PT Barnum said “The noblest art is that of making other people happy” He encourages businesses to focus on those entertaining touch points every step of the way.
23:21 - 24:53 - Jesse encourages us to look at everything that we do as just an “At-bat” and not to focus too much on your last “At-bat” The player in major league baseball who had the most hits is also the one who had the most “At-bat” which by the way is the legendary Pete Rose. Don’t look back. Look toward your next “At-bat”
32:50 33:32 - Jesse is a bold, authentic genuine leader and when I asked if he had anything else to share with our listeners he shared this quote from the back of his Fan’s First playbook. “Be patient in what you want for yourself but be impatient in what you give to others.” Great words to live by!
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ABOUT TRAVIS BARNES
Before Travis Barnes became a best-selling author, international presenter, founder and franchisor of Journey Fitness 333 he spent a decade of his life in prison for a nonviolent drug offense. Upon returning home to his wife and daughter he worked hard to grow himself in the fitness industry so he could buy his family a home of their own. 2 months after buying their home Tropical Storm Lee caused it to be flooded to the second floor. Approximately 1 year after the flood while still rebuilding their home and during the Christmas holiday season Travis was let go from his employment as COO for a local fitness company. After he and his wife spent 6 months as traveling trainers and while still living on an unemployment check and in a FEMA trailer, they began what is now a fitness franchise . Most recently and with the rest of the industry Travis has overcome the obstacles of the pandemic by redesigning his business. Travis has used the pandemic as an opportunity to instead of returning to business as normal, he has returned to business as better than normal. Travis is an Overcomer.
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