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Keys to success: commitment and persistence

Bo Bounds finds entrepreneurship the perfect lifestyle

Over the last five years, Bo Bounds has had a run that would be the envy of any entrepreneur. He has his own radio show, “Out of Bounds,” which continues to gain listeners. He has found success with his multiple-office advertising firm First Team Marketing, LLC. Bounds developed then sold a magazine after growing subscribers more than 100 fold. And, he has a new venture, Y’allSports.com, which has already exceeded expectations.

Bounds says the keys to success as an entrepreneur are commitment and persistence, as well as a lot of support from others, including his wife, Wendy.

“You have to be relentless,” he said, “and you can’t be in 90% — it’s 100% or nothing.” Bounds added that he knew full well the definition of entrepreneurship. “I’ll tell you, the first couple of years, I was scared. I really was. I finally got to where I could relax, quit worrying. I’m having a blast now.”

Childhood love

If Bounds is an over-the-top Southern Conference fan, he comes by it honestly. A Jackson native, Bound’s father, Woodie Bounds, served on the executive committee of the Bulldog Club, the Mississippi State University (MSU) booster organization, for 13 years.

“I grew up around MSU and SEC athletics from the time I can remember,” he said. “I didn’t know it then, but it prepared me for a life in sports and the Southern lifestyle. We, my family and I, were always around coaches, players and people involved in Division I sports. There’s no question that’s a lot of the reason for the success we’ve had on (‘Out of Bounds’).”

While studying at MSU (he holds a master’s degree in sports administration), Bounds started a campus radio show that quickly grew in popularity. From this experience evolved the fast-paced and sometimes irreverent “Out of Bounds,” which Bounds started in Jackson after graduating from MSU.

The show has adopted the slogan “It’s a Lifestyle,” which harkens back to Bounds’ childhood experience tagging along with his dad.

“The ‘It’s a Lifestyle’ part of ‘Out of Bounds’ really caught people’s attention, and has steamrolled the engine we needed to drive the show to another level,” Bounds said. What is the lifestyle? “The lifestyle is whatever you want it to be. I describe it as striving to be successful, embracing the Southern way of life, enjoying great food, beautiful Southern women, enjoying a cigar and a glass of wine on the water, a road trip to see your team play – the good life.”

“Out of Bounds” airs Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. on Supersport 930 AM in Jackson. The radio show, which has more than a dozen sponsors, is now heard in a 30- to 50-mile radius of Jackson, and has broadcast from all over the state as well as the NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Neb., SEC Championship Basketball Tournament in Atlanta and Talladega Motor Speedway, to name a few. His guests have run the gamut of former Southern Miss and Oakland Raider standout Ray Guy to Gov. Haley Barbour.

More risk

Bounds has continued to spread his entrepreneur’s wings. He once co-owned the Maroon and White Magazine. He had grown it from less than 100 subscribers to some 6,000 when it was sold.

Bounds principle reason for selling the publication was to make room for yet another venture, First Team Marketing. Founded in the summer of 2003, First Team started with three clients, but now counts more than 70 and has offices in Jackson and Starkville. Products include promotional items, corporate gifts, golf apparel and custom printing. Bounds talks about building relationships with clients and brand-building with the same enthusiasm than when he talks SEC sports.

Bounds’ newest venture is Y’allSports.com. (Bounds co-founded it, and is the site’s editor.) Launched May 1, the site bills itself as “Mississippi’s Sports Dashboard on the Web.” It utilizes technology that collects all Mississippi-related sports news, then gives it to users at one site. According to Bounds, the site is seeing 2,500-5,000 page view daily.

Bounds says the early response has exceeded forecasts, and has formed a symbiotic relationship with “Out of Bounds” — issues on Y’allSports.com becomes fodder for the radio show.

In March, “Out of Bounds” began broadcasting from its new studio located in the Alumni House Sports Grill on U.S. 51 in Ridgeland. Bounds says Alumni House with its recliners and wall-to-wall TVs, is the perfect fit for “Out of Bounds.” The new studio was operational in time for the NCAA Basketball Championship, but this will be the studio’s first collegiate football season, and Bounds is really expecting a great time.

Not scared of predictions, Bounds sees Florida and Auburn in the SEC Championship. He sees MSU winning seven games, and sharing the love with Ole Miss, sees a surprising seven wins possible in 2008. He did add, however, “When you go 0-8 (in the SEC), there’s nowhere to go but up.”

Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at wally.northway@msbusiness.com.


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