Tom Rubens has founded, bought, sold, and managed businesses in industries as diverse as a commodity trading company, a real estate brokerage, investment groups, and minor league baseball and basketball franchises. His four decades in business have taught him the painful yet profitable lesson that you have to look beyond the balance sheet and address the big problems that drag down organizations including the health of those running it.
His book, Lifeness, is an Amazon #1 Bestseller and the foundation of building a bridge to a more harmonious life.
Tom Rubens – The Minor Leagues
Tom, like Jesse, has owned minor league baseball teams. He got started in the mid 80’s when he woke up one day and decided he wanted to own a minor league basketball team. At the time, Tom had lost almost everything he had and it didn’t seem particularly realistic but he made it his goal but he knew there was a team for sale in Rockford IL, in the CBA. Tom didn’t even know what that stood for.
“I am not afraid of failing. I am much more afraid of not trying.” – Tom Rubens
He was living in Chicago, earning his living as a commodities trader. It’s a great business but a roller coaster one. Tom knew you had to get out on a high and instead he got out in a low. Not only did it wipe him out financially, it wiped him out emotionally.
Building a Winning Team
Tom left that business basically broke and didn’t know what to do with himself. A year later he called information, at the time you actually talked to a human, there was no Google, and the operator gave him the number for the Rockford, IL minor league basketball team, the Lightning.
“The [business] tool I use the most is listening.” – Tom Rubens
The CBA commissioner actually answered the phone! They discussed the team and Tom’s interest in purchasing it. He found someone that owned an expansion franchise. with $25,000 in his pocket, he was a bit short of the $375,000 price tag.
At the end of August, Tom had negotiated a down-payment of $25,000 with the balance to be paid by the end of April. tom managed to put together a group of investors and it turned out to be so successful, he continued with the business model.
1. What have you done to stand out in business and in life?
“I have always had the confidence that even if I screw up, I could work my way out of it.”
2. What’s the best advice you would give to someone to stand out in business and in life?
“Do something you love. Make sure whatever you do in life, make sure you love it. ”
3. What’s the best advice you’ve received?
“Look at life like tomorrow is going to be a great day, every day.”
4. How do you want to be remembered in business and in life?
“I was totally clean and clear in all of my relationships.”
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Jesse Cole is a passionate and engaging business leader sharing other leaders messages, tips and fresh ideas on Business Done Differently. Subscribe to hear more front runners doing it differently and remember to leave him a rating and review on iTunes.