Got ID?

Robert Tuchman, 31: TSE Sports and Entertainment

Robert Tuchman used to dream about turning his love of sports into a plum sports anchor job. But after college he couldn't break into TV, so he took a position selling advertising for a sports publication. "I was selling advertising, [but] what the client really wanted was these value-added programs and packages," says Tuchman. When he pitched the idea to his company, they weren't interested.

A story in Entrepreneur magazine about a woman who started a sports-related business gave him the urge to set out on his own, and in 1997, he started New York City-based TSE Sports and Entertainment. Self-funded without so much as a computer, and unable to use old contacts because of a two-year noncompete agreement he'd signed with his previous employer, Tuchman began cold-calling companies. "The two years helped me learn patience," says Tuchman. Today, TSE's clients include IBM, Nabisco, Pepsi and Procter & Gamble.

TSE offers travel arrangements and other packages for companies that want to take their clients to major sporting and entertainment events, even bringing in athletes to meet with the groups. The strategy has helped the company reach $10 million this year. And with plans to expand into consumer sweepstakes, sponsorship sales and celebrity and athlete marketing services, Tuchman shows no sign of taking his eye off the ball.

Success Secrets

What's the greatest hurdle you've faced as an entrepreneur?
Robert Tuchman: The constant rejection, whether it's selling rejection or it's hiring employees who leave. There's a lot of rejection from sales, and there's a lot of down periods. You just have to be optimistic and really be that positive person who knows that better things are going to come.

Was your age a factor in your success?
Tuchman: The older you get, the more you realize [what] you don't know. I realize [now] that someone looking at me at 25 may have not given me the opportunity. Now I realize that there were a lot of opportunities missed because of my age.

What aspect of your personality has helped you become successful with your business?
Tuchman: I'm creative, and I've got a great work ethic. That's really what it takes in this world.

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This article was originally published in the November 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Got ID?.

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