Building EliteFTS with Dave Tate

The struggles, successes, and untold stories that created EliteFTS

In school, Dave Tate wasn’t a gifted student or naturally athletic. He was labeled “learning disabled” from a young age, and when he started wrestling in junior high he was consistently beaten by his classmates. His wrestling coach told him he could be great if he worked harder than everyone else. His family had taught him the value of hard work, but it wasn’t until this point that it really connected in his mind as a method to achieve whatever he wanted. Around this time he started lifting weights. Wrestling became his sport of choice, and he excelled at it.

Dave attended college because he was recruited for football. Though he disliked school because of the difficulties he had experienced as a kid, he had worked a factory job long enough to know he wanted something else for himself. After initially flunking out of college, he realized several things:

  1. He wasn’t stupid, he was simply falling into a lazy work ethic.
  2. It was easy to learn about subjects that were interesting to him.
  3. He wanted to study strength and conditioning—something he was passionate about.

With this new focus, he graduated and then moved to Columbus, Ohio as a personal trainer. He was a veteran powerlifter at this point and started working with Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell. His total had stagnated for a while, but Louie’s programming approach allowed him to make progress again.

Working full-time as a personal trainer, while also maintaining his own training regimen was leaving no time for his family. It wasn’t sustainable. He considered opening his own training center, with online retail sales and a forum. This allowed him to transition away from coaching and establish a business—EliteFTS.

Dave dealt with the same hurdles every business owner has. He needed to hire technicians to handle forum questions so he could focus on running his business. He needed to juggle cash flow to purchase inventory before expenses were due. Lawsuits can be a nightmare of a problem. Recessions test every business, no matter how well structured. He figured these issues out as he went along. But, all the while the business really succeeded because it was based on providing value to its customers and fan base through excellent content and service.

The trust and brand loyalty this established took a long time to create, but steadily allowed him to build a revenue stream in online sales—and created a company that has reached a legendary status in the powerlifting community.

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