COLLECT CALLING: THIS CEO TURNED A COMMON HOBBY INTO A BIG BUSINESS.

Author:Sullivan, Jeff
Position:CORNER OFFICE
 
FREE EXCERPT

Brandon Steiner is telling the story about how he invented the everything bagel when he was 14 years old. Well, actually, he's telling the story about his paper route. He earned 8 cents per copy delivered, and business wasn't great with just 34 daily customers.

"What else could you do for them?" his mother asked.

That's when he decided to start bringing each customer a bagel with their morning paper. Within a month he was making his deliveries in a shopping cart because 250 papers were too much for his bike.

That's what led to the gig at the bagel store, making $1.50 an hour, starting at 3:30 in the morning--pretty good dough for a kid in 1973. One morning, Steiner decided to sprinkle a little of this and a little of that on a bagel and voila. Without even a pause after finishing this story, Steiner adds, "You know, bagels are hard to digest, better off staying away from them."

It's a typical conversation with Steiner: invaluable life lessons, a little of this and a little of that, with a somewhat unknowable direction. His mind is seemingly in constant motion.

Steiner is an incredibly successful entrepreneur who revolutionized the sports memorabilia industry, turning a venture that began in 1987 with "$4,000, a Mac computer and an intern" into Steiner Sports, specializing in helping companies use the power of sports to grow their businesses. Steiner Sports has spent over 25 years building relationships with more than 2,000 athletes, as well as the nation's major sports leagues and teams. Steiner Sports is also the leading producer of authentic hand-signed collectibles from athletic heroes like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Peyton Manning. Steiner has traded countless baseballs and football helmets, signed jerseys, and even the infield dirt from the old Yankee Stadium.

After identifying a need for professional athletes to have representation for corporate endorsements and appearances, he quickly grew his company to become an industry leader representing the top sports stars in New York.

And as one might guess, there are a million stories to go with Steiner's success. In his third book, Living On Purpose, which released late in 2018, he opens up about hitting rock bottom after selling Steiner Sports to Omnicom Group for a reported $25 million in 2000. The lowest point came in the aftermath of what should have been the highest point.

"After putting in relentless effort and long hours to build a company and, frankly, an industry, for close to...

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