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Rick Platt

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Rick Platt is the founder of Sky Zone. He worked with his son to convert a research and development center for a new professional trampoline sport into the first Sky Zone location. He created Ultimate Trampoline Dodgeball (UTD), a variation of the sport where the players play on indoor courts where the floors and walls are covered with trampolines.

Sky Zone is the largest indoor trampoline park brand in the world. It now has more than 50 locations. Sky Zone was named one of Forbes' Most Promising Companies and was No. 180 on Inc.'s 500/5000 list.

Platt has invested millions of dollars creating 26 SkyZone trampoline parks in the US and Canada where people can jump around for fun and where serious UTD players can play.

Companies and Investments

Sky Zone (founder)

Lessons Learned

Rick Platt and his son, Jeff, offer four suggestions that have helped them manage the challenges of running a father-son business:

1. Establish a board to manage conflicts. "One of the smartest things we did is put a board in place," says Jeff. A board allows for an independent voice that puts the company ahead of pride when emotions between the father and son run high. "When we don't agree on something, we can trust and rely on their outside expertise to help us make informed, sound strategic decisions," says Jeff.

2. Play to your strengths. The Platt's credit their business success with knowing and respecting each others' strengths. "My dad is a visionary type. He can see where we should be going and where we want to take things in a couple of years, says Jeff. "But he's not necessarily the one who's going to be day to day executing the plan." Jeff's enthusiasm for sports and hands-on approach make him better equipped to handle the daily operations of the company.

3. Don't bring your family relationship into the office. Viewing each other as business partners instead of father and son may be uncomfortable at first, but Jeff argues removing relationship labels from the office is necessary to efficiently run a business. "We had to decide, do we want to run a 'family business' or do we want to run a business?" he says. Making decisions based on the best interests of the company, rather than what will make father or son happy is what has make Sky Zone successful.

4. Spend time together outside of the office. While the Platt's try to spend time together on off-business hours, avoiding work-related conversation is a challenge. To avoid talking shop, they play sports together. "[When you're playing], you're focused on the sport. Otherwise, if you're sitting having dinner, the conversation tends to turn to the business," says Rick.

Inspiring Quotes

Rick Platt's Quotes

There are certain liberties taken because hes my son. Hes going to go the extra mile because he considers it his business, too.

Rick Platt

The trampoline is the equalizer. Athleticism is important. Throwing the ball is half the game, but if you dont have agility, youre going to be knocked out.

Rick Platt

Influential Books