What do Olympic medalists, the World Cup-winning German national soccer team, and roughly half of the NFL's first-round draft picks have in common?
They're all Mark Verstegen's clients.
As founder and president of the Phoenix-based EXOS, Verstegen is one of the world's most accomplished providers of elite-level performance training. But his influence extends well beyond the sports realm.
From military and paramilitary units to employees of over 150 global corporations, leaders and ass-kickers from all walks of life tap Verstegen for his counsel. "We help the best get better," he says.
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Verstegen is the go-to performance expert for the top 0.1 percent. Not bad for a Washington State grad who got his start as assistant director of player development at Georgia Tech.
Here's how Verstegen turned a passion for performance into a company that generated $50 million in revenue last year. Follow his lead.
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1. Start with a Problem
As an undergraduate football player at Washington State, Verstegen injured the cervical connections linking his neck to his left arm. That required a serious stint in rehab, but "it was probably the greatest thing that ever happened to me," he says.
The injury sharpened Verstegen's interest in performance training, nutrition, and conditioning. After earning a Master's in sports science and nutrition, he honed his expertise during stints at Georgia Tech and, afterward, at a sports science and training institute in Florida.
The problem he noticed was a lack of intimate, individualized training programs for both athletes and, more significantly, for those outside of pro and college sports.
While big-time athletes had access to the latest sports science and facilities, Verstegen wanted to bring those performance tools to neurosurgeons, pilots, and "everyone who must perform at the highest level day in and day out," he says.
So in 1999, he started Athletes' Performance, which he later renamed EXOS.