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FEATURE:Jesse Cole publishes first book, "Find Your Yellow Tux" on how to stand out in business ...and life

Category: Retail & Shopping Centers

PHOTO:  Jesse Cole, founder and CEO of Fans First Entertainment, and owner of the Savannah Bananas in Savannah, Georgia, taking a selfie with fans at another sold-out game in Historic Grayson Stadium during the the summer of 2017.  

By Lou Phelps, Coastal Empire News

January 9, 2018 – When the Savannah business community first met him during the fall of 2015, this guy in his early 30's dressed from head to toe in a yellow tuxedo – a BRIGHT yellow tux – our first reaction was, ‘This guy seems to have no compunction about embarrassing himself.’

Our second thought was, ‘Is his self-confidence in the business model he's explaining to the city, to bring a highly successful college summer league baseball team to Savannah where people will scramble for tickets - for real?'

And, then he announced that the name of the team was to be the Savannah Bananas. Let's just say, there were doubters.

Savannah quickly learned, however, that Jesse Cole's ideas were based on a solid vision:  a reality of sold-out games, enthusiastic crowds, and fans having fun at Historic Grayson Stadium in Daffin Park, night after night, as he  entertained the fans, yellow tux and all, and brought a Coastal Plains League (CPL) expansion team to Coastal Georgia.  

Every night at the ballpark, he stood out.  You couldn't miss him.

And, in that first season of the Savannah Bananas from May through August of 2016, he delivered on the business promise of a ‘100% fan-based experience.’ 

The baseball players performed dance routines between innings; and a former State Senator joined the chorus line of senior citizen ladies who had their dance act, too.  The fans were engaged, they invited their friends and business associates to attend, and they purchased tons of food, which Cole significantly improved from the fare that the prior minor league team had offered.

And, Savannahnians began to talk again about meeting their friends at a baseball game, no matter the heat, humidity or threat of a shower.

After a second equally successful year in 2017, interest has grown around the country in Cole, in the business model of the Bananas, and in his company, Fans First Entertainment.   People want to know how he’s packing them in every game?  And, so Cole has written a book that is being released today for a national audience, “Find Your Yellow Tux - How to Be Successful by Standing Out.”  

But, the book is about far more than running a baseball team and engaging fans; it’s about marketing any business, about breaking out from the competition, about how to ‘stand out’ as a business owner, as a business executive, and an individual.

“It was time to write it,” explained Cole in an exclusive interview with the Savannah Business Journal last week. “I sat back and thought about why it had worked, and about all the interest we were getting from around the country. It was clear. What we’ve been able to see in the past few summers, was about how to be able to stand out.”

“To sell out every game, that is unprecedented in sports. So many people in business are trying to fight against ‘the noise’ in life, as well. The whole premise is how to stand out,” he explains.  Hence, the yellow tuxedo.

Cole also owns the Gastonia Grizzlies, in Gastonia, NC, where the yellow tux was invented, and where he began to perfect what he calls ‘the total fan experience,’ of baseball.   

His book is about how to get out through the noise of competition which every business faces, no matter the industry, and he’s synthesized his thinking into six steps to stand out. 

“In Charlotte one day, I noticed very single day … people stuck in traffic. So many people are just doing the same thing – stuck – and people shouldn’t have to live that way,” he says, taking his thinking about business marketing to a large vision – how to make a better life for one’s self.

“It’s a small percentage of businesses that make it; 96% of businesses don’t make it after 10 years.  It’s because they’re not standing out,” he believes. 

“And, in our lives today, there are more people who are unfulfilled,” he believes, seeing this in many of his 30-something year old friends.

But, it also takes hard work to succeed.  It takes long days, and a 150% commitment to build a company. It’s isn’t just about the gimmick of a ’yellow tux.’  “You have to patient, perseverant and persistent.  Be patient in what you want for yourself," he states.  

The first five months he launched his business, there was no money, he rememberes. “We had to sell our house.  We had to empty out our savings account.  Me and Emily (his wife), we had to go all in,” to get through the launch.

He has approached marketing the book in the same manner - working hard, handing the marketing himself, and watching his overhead.  Published by Lioncrest Publishing of Austin, TX, and working with a professional team, “Find Your Yellow Tux,” was also improved by a professional editor, he acknowledges, to get the book ready for market.

“The editor really helped.  It’s now a quick read, using storytelling,” to share his ideas for how any business can succeed.

Cole has already being called ‘the P.T. Barnum of Baseball’ in the industry, and Cole and his teams have been featured on MSNBC, CNN, and multiple times on ESPN.

The Savannah Bananas have sold out 32 straight games, broken the league attendance record, Savannah attendance record, and have a waiting list in the thousands for tickets for the 2018 season, with the first game already sold out – even though the season doesn’t open until May 31 this year. 

The Bananas have already been recognized by the CPL as ‘Organization of the Year’ back to back years; Cole was named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year;' and the Bananas were CPL Champions in their first season in 2016.

In addition to running the company, Jesse Cole writes a blog, hosts a ‘Business Done Differently’ podcast and is releasing a series of videos on FindYourYellowTux.com.  His beliefs are shared in the book, where he explains that business success comes from loving your customers, believing in your product, and loving your employees even more than your customers.

Cole’s mantra is “Whatever’s normal, do the exact opposite.”

His starting point in writing the book was a question to himself:  ‘How do you want to be remembered?’  It has become a foundation for his approach to business and his family.  

His publishing process was assisted by Dan Miller, the author of “48 Days To the Work You Love,” who wrote the Forward for “Find Your Yellow Tux.”

Cole’s book is now available for sale on Amazon. Click here for a link:  http://amzn.to/2ACDDHc

And Savannah will again be watching the success of the guy in the yellow tux.

© Copyright 2018 Coastal Empire News, publisher of SavannahBusinessJournal.com, DublinBusinessJournal.com and BrunswickBusinessJournal.net. All Rights Reserved. www.CoastalEmpireNews.com

 

 

 

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