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This Entrepreneur Grew His Tow Boat Business by Sponsoring Little League Games Sometimes, to impress your target audience, you've got to spend a little where they spend their time.

By Kim Kavin

This story appears in the July 2022 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Maria Nesbit Photography

Justin Nesloney grew up on the southern coast of Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico, doing just about every job available — from cleaning up oil spills to being a fishing guide. That's why, when he started towing boats back in 2020, it seemed like just another gig. But in a surprisingly short time, it's transformed into something much bigger: This year, he's on track to make $1 million in annual revenue.

How'd he do it? By identifying future customers and meeting them where they were — which was not always on a boat, or even anywhere near the water. Because sometimes, the best way to grow a business is to focus on who will need your service later, rather than right now.

For Nesloney, it all started when he got a call from the local operator for TowBoatUS, which is like AAA for boats. "He had some guys stuck in a boat way back in a flat, so he asked if I could assist them," Nesloney says. That's a common problem in his area of the Gulf of Mexico, where motorboats get stuck in the shallow bays. Nesloney had an airboat that could navigate the shallows, so he hopped in to help.

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