In October 2004, Major League Soccer came to Utah with the Real Salt Lake team. And in 2008, Bill Manning was named president of Real Salt Lake, giving him responsibility over all team and venue operations. Under his leadership, the franchise quadrupled its worth, and both ticket sales and sponsorships tripled. Additionally, he’s received numerous awards and accolades, being named Major League Soccer’s Executive of the Year in 2012 and 2014, and twice earning the Doug Hamilton Award in recognition of his team’s growth.
A native of New York, Bill earned his undergraduate and MBA degrees in marketing from the University of Bridgeport, and he began his career in professional sports at the age of 28, working in professional soccer, basketball and football. He brings a track record of success, decades of experience and tremendous vision to his position.
Have a Team of Believers
A key to business success for Bill is building a strong team of talented individuals around you. “It’s important to have a team of believers,” he says, “Those who share your vision and believe that positive outcomes can happen.” Selecting people with talent, drive and passion for your business means building a high performing team, one that gets things done. Knowing you can trust your team to make things happen leaves you free to deal less with employee issues and more with overall vision and strategy.
React As Needed
There’s a lot of emphasis put on strategy in business, and Bill believes that’s an important aspect to success. But another is being proactive and reacting as needed to stay flexible. “It’s important to move forward and spend more time doing than thinking,” Bill says.
When ticket sales for games were low, Bill quickly reacted by lowering prices–and ticket sales now sell out. “When we realized prices were too high, we reacted and made a change,” he notes. “If you’re dialed into your business, you can spend more time reacting and changing to circumstances quickly and appropriately.”
Don’t Repeat Mistakes
It’s inevitable that you’ll make mistakes along the way in business, but learning from them is what makes the difference between floundering in business and being successful. Quickly ascertain where things went wrong and take steps to correct them so the company stays as much on track as possible. Stay true to your standards, and “don’t ever make the same mistake twice,” Bill cautions.