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How Jason Kyle Found a New Path With Entrepreneurship

After over a decade in the NFL, long snapper Jason Kyle was ready for the next phase of his career. The only question was what that step would be.

Jason Kyle running onto the field during Super Bowl XXXVIII.

“After 16 years, I was happy with my football career and ready for something new. I didn’t have a clear direction when I retired, but over my time playing I found areas of business that interested me.”

“After 16 years, I was happy with my football career and ready for something new.”

FINDING HIS PATH

Kyle’s journey to discovering his career path post-NFL took him down several different avenues. First he started with real estate development and then a technology startup, but neither provided the fit he was looking for in a job.

“After taking my lumps investing in the 2008 real estate market, I decided to go in to the tech world with a true startup," Kyle said. "Although it was a lot of fun and moved very fast, it had a lot of challenges. I also found myself missing the local and community aspects of growing a business. So, when I phased out of that I wanted something in my backyard, where I could move the needle and see the growth.”

That opportunity would come in the form of buying, selling, and holding onto small businesses, which gave Kyle the chance to work with companies that he was familiar with in his hometown of Tempe, AZ. Two brands, Over Easy and Press Coffee Roasters, launched the 16-year NFL veteran’s foray into franchising.

HONING HIS SKILLS WITH THE EXPERTS

Shortly after purchasing the two brands, Kyle attended Babson 301: Growing My Business, a week-long entrepreneurship workshop provided through The Trust. His experience there helped pave the way for success.

"Babson 301 is designed for former players who have stable existing businesses and are looking to take them to the next level," said Fred Nanni, Professor of Management Accounting and lead facilitator of The Trust's workshops at Babson College. The workshops are intentionally small – 12 to 24 guys – so that we can focus on their specific businesses. Everyone leaves with some specific ideas to try in their business, but each year it seems that one man closes a big deal during the workshop, itself. In 2016, that guy was Jason."

“The Babson 301 session was an amazing program," Kyle said. "Aside from the connections and resources, their process really forced me to refine and define the customer experience in my businesses.”

Jason was one of 13 players in his session of Babson 301: Growing My Business.

“It's easy to get down in the weeds running a business," Kyle said. "The staff at Babson did a great job of reminding me to focus on growth and working on my business rather than in my business. They helped me to create a bigger picture strategy and identify my competitive advantages.”

“They helped me to create a bigger picture strategy and identify my competitive advantages."

A NEW SUCCESS STORY

Nearly a year later, Kyle has seen his Over Easy brand expand from one to four franchises, and expects to have several more coming in the near future. Press Coffee Roasters has expanded to six locations as well, with sales going from 800,000 to nearly $5 million between retail and wholesale.

“Jason has established himself as an entrepreneur in his community, but also recognizes that there’s always more to learn,” said Miritte Steinberg, Kyle’s Program Manager at The Trust. “When Jason and I had the opportunity to meet in person at the Former Players Convention in Arizona this past year, it was apparent that he is a lifelong learner and remains actively involved in his community. It has been great watching Jason utilize The Trust resources to further both his personal and professional growth.”

While Kyle has been extremely successful, the reality is that many former NFL players struggle to find that next career move after their time in the league is up. Kyle’s advice: Have a game plan.

“Always continue to define and evaluate exactly where your business is and exactly where you want it to go."

“Always continue to define and evaluate exactly where your business is and exactly where you want it to go," Kyle said. "Nothing is set in stone and the plan will always change.”

READY TO MAKE YOUR NEXT CAREER MOVE?

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