From the Court to the Sky: How Basketball Taught Two Brothers Entrepreneurial Success

By: Sunnie Dawn Baker

Basketball is about more than just dribbling, shooting, and passing the ball. It teaches lessons that can be applied to all aspects of life, including entrepreneurship. Tyler and Gary Raney are an excellent example of this. Tyler, a junior at Byng, and his brother Gary, a senior at Byng, have played basketball for as long as they can remember, starting competitively in the second grade. Basketball practices keep them busy, but not too busy to start their own business: T&G Drone Services.

Their journey started one day in early October of 2023. Tyler was sitting in class talking to his friend. His friend had bought a drone and was taking pictures with it. He told Tyler about all the cool things his drone could do, and Tyler thought it sounded pretty fun. As the day progressed, Tyler kept pondering what his friend had said. He went to his older brother, Gary, and told him, “I think we can do this. I think we can make a business out of this.” That day, Tyler and Gary found a drone and split the costs. Tyler took the steps to take the tests and get his commercial drone license and then they were ready to go. Similar to basketball, the Raney brothers came to understand that unless you attempt the shot, you cannot score.. So when they saw an opportunity, they went for it.

While Tyler and Gary excitedly embarked on starting their own business, they lacked training as photographers and aimed to use their drone for real estate photography. They knew having the perfect picture would be important. In selling real estate, the right image can catch a possible buyer’s attention and interest. However, their lack of experience did not deter them. If basketball had taught the Raney brothers anything, it is that practice is both important and necessary. Tyler immediately started researching drone photography and just started doing it. He spent hours flying his drone over his own house, trying to get the perfect shot. Before he even approached a realtor, Tyler wanted to make sure that he knew what he was doing and would be able to provide a good, polished product. After investing time and effort, T&G Drone Service was ready to soar.

The Raney brothers had their drone, they had the skills, but now they had to find the customers and get them to trust them with their business. This posed one of the biggest challenges in the beginning. They needed to get their name out there so that people would want to work with them. Despite juggling their school and sports schedules, they persistently worked on building their client base. Tyler says, “At first, I thought, ‘We got this!’ But then a couple weeks went by and nobody was calling. We started messaging people and sending them flyers. We realized we had to make it happen ourselves and that’s just what we did.” Eventually, they got a commission from Home Place Real Estate. After working with them, they also began collaborating with McGraw Realtors, who have also assisted them in promoting their business.

While the Raney brothers have already started their business as high schoolers, they are not content to stop there. Both plan to pursue business degrees in college while continuing to play basketball. These young tech entrepreneurs also have sights on expanding their business in the future. One idea they have is to develop a drone brokerage, where they own the drones and have employees who would fly the drones for them, fulfilling commissions that T&G Drone Services provides, but also finding their own clients to help further expand their reach into the world of drone photography. This stems from yet another lesson they learned from their long hours in the gym. It isn’t enough to be content with where you are, you can always push to be better.

These two Byng high schoolers credit the lessons from the basketball court with giving them an edge as tech entrepreneurs. Tyler says, “You reap what you sow. If you work hard in the gym you are going to do better on the floor. If you work hard at your business and put in the hours, time, and effort you are going to get something out of it.” His brother Gary adds, “If you are practicing basketball you are going to do good in games and it is the same with drones. It is a constant grind at trying to get better at what you are doing.”

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