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Growing Your Business The Playbook

Coca-Cola Exec Troy Taylor tells black business owner’s how to win.

Troy Taylor, head of Tampa, Florida-based Coca-Cola Beverages Florida L.L.C., recently sat down with Black Enterprise’s CEO at the recent Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Summit to offer advice and insight to black entrepreneurs about structuring deals, operating a business and building wealth.

Taylor, a seasoned finance vet, sought soft drink bottling opportunities after he left JPMorgan Chase where he counseled CEOs in the oil and gas industries. When he opened his investment advisory firm in 2002, Taylor served as a consultant to the soft drink giant as well as one of its largest independent bottlers in the world.

In May 2015, Taylor closed the deal on Coca-Cola Beverages Florida L.L.C., making it the first franchise awarded to a new owner in 60 years. Within three years, it has become the top-producing bottler in the system. And as part of Taylor’s focus is ensuring that he expands African American participation across the board: “The beauty of having larger black-owned businesses, you’re controlling cash flow where you can invest in black banks, black vendors, and other black entrepreneurs.” according to Black Enterprise.

During his fireside chat with Black Enterprise CEO Earl Graves Jr., Taylor shared some key pieces of game for Black business owners to flourish in the current business climate:

Build relationships and mentors before you pursue the deal

You got to have those people who are mentors, friends, advisers that you can share your ideas, your thoughts, your dreams and desires with people that are in a position to help. Those were just a number of the people that were there. I knew that the Coca-Cola Co. was going to re-franchise this. So I stayed close to it saying, “Hey remember, I’m interested. I want to purchase, want to be in the bottling industry.”

Bring other African Americans to the table at every point of the deal

Being an alum, JPMorgan led our first credit facility of $80 million. We increased it to $100 million in 2015. They did a really good job on the key things but not so good on building the relationship. I think part of it was because they didn’t have anybody across the table that looked like me and I told them about that. I said, “You guys got to put some black people on this team.” I was direct about it. Long story short, I fired JPMorgan as our agent and went to Citi because of Raymond McGuire [Global Head of Corporate and Investment Banking and one of BE’s Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America]. Ray was smart because he knew; he put a sister on the deal. You got to show some connectivity with me. I [also] feel it’s important that we not only have and make deposits in our black-owned institutions but more importantly, that we have loan facilities…that we have banking relationships because that’s how they make money at the end of the day.

What it takes to win in business

Day after day, the discipline to stick to it. Don’t worry about the obstacles, know they’re going to come and you just got to just keep getting through it, and it takes a high level of discipline. The other piece is, surround yourself with some really, really good people. People always ask me, how did you sleep at night while you were doing this? And I say, “By the grace of God and by the fact that I had some really, really good people around me that were working toward the same goal. They understood the vision, they bought into the vision, and they worked side by side.

Watch the full Fireside Chat below:

via: Black Enterprise

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