1Tell us a bit about your company Mission Elite Performance!
Mission Elite is a management, development, and consulting company overseeing many of the top tennis professionals, NCAA players, and juniors worldwide.
The organization consists of a tennis academy, tennis university, recruiting agency, analytics, consulting, events and prize money tournaments.
Mission Elite’s mission is to aid high performers and those aspiring through innovation, education, management, and development in the most effective of forms.
Their purpose is to help clients prepare for life’s challenges and position them for life’s victories.
2How have you taken your professional career from playing and coaching tennis to running your own business to help others?
The transition from a professional tennis player to the CEO of a company like Mission Elite required deep reflection, critical thinking, and bold action within my journey and surrounding the tennis/performance industries.
I needed to obsess over filling gaps and become an expert in as many fields in tennis, business, life, helping people, and the world as possible in order to thrive.
Listed below were some of the necessities in mine and the company's transition to where we are today.
As a Tennis Player:
Learning and applying what it takes to succeed inside a highly competitive structure.
While on the Professional Tour:
Using the opportunity to travel the world and indulge in areas of difficulty but also flourishment surrounding tennis and humanity.
As an NCAA Power 5 Player, Recruiter, and Coach:
Using the opportunity to study character, culture, leadership, tennis, and performance, in relation to individuals, teams, and athletic departments in various lights.
As a student at Indiana University:
Using this opportunity at an institution with one of the world's most exemplary business programs and some of the most brilliant entrepreneurial minds to access people and resources that would help me tackle crucial aspects of building a business that benefits the world.
As a humanitarian:
Using my thirst for optimizing competitive performance and progressing society to develop the reading, writing, speaking, technical, business, recruiting, and innovation skills to implement a vision and execute a mission along with our company's best minds.
Lastly, it was important for me to take smart and well-intended risks, question societal norms, commit to a meaningful life purpose, and believe in this organization's abilities. This was what was needed to make this transition and get to this point.
3As a tennis player yourself, share with us the inspiration behind your company and how you determined where it would fill the gap in the industry?
The company was initially intended to serve and focus on those competing in team tennis and within the NCAA.
However, when the pandemic hit, we realized that there were a multitude of areas where we at Mission Elite felt we could do better or provide something new than what was currently being provided.
It has always been about creating something special, helping people within their sport and life and improving the tennis industry and society as a whole.
4What did the process of starting your own company look like? Tell us about the struggles and how you overcame them.
When I first developed Mission Elite, I left coaching the men's team at the University of Oklahoma to make a comeback as a professional tennis player.
My initial struggles were not what you might think out of a typical company's struggles.
The utility of Mission Elite and what we provided were welcomed quite easily. We didn't disrupt the market because our service was so unique.
Our company's brand was also strong as a result of my reputation as a person, player and coach within the NCAA.
The company was also practically all bootstrapped initially, so there were no real overhead costs. Instead, in the very initial stages of Mission Elite, the issues mainly surrounded my schedule and time.
What I needed to do to overcome this struggle was find a way to automate my services, which I eventually did with the help of my team but hadn't back then.
Past our initial stage, I realized how large of a gap in tennis there was as a whole. We looked to expand Mission Elite to help more than just those in the NCAA, such as professionals, juniors, and even some athletes away from tennis through various new and different services.
With the expansions came having to grow our team of employees significantly.
This brought about our new main challenge being to ensure we had exceptional people that we trained and managed correctly to continue providing high-quality services within our values to every player or person we help as our clientele also grew quite significantly.
5You recently started your own podcast called “The Mission Elite Podcast”, what is the main takeaway you want athletes to gain from it?
Podcasts, when done correctly, have become a great form of media to teach others and share opinions.
Everything about Mission Elite, including the podcast, is to share with people, whether they play tennis or not, the values, tools, and mentality to become the ultimate person and competitor.
We work to execute this mission in as many ways as possible, and the podcast is just another one of them.
Jenna's Final Thoughts
Raheel Manji, Professional Tennis Player and Founder of Mission Elite Performance, has created a company that not only works to improve the tennis industry but also society. He knows the importance of sport and the power it can hold in influencing society for the better. Raheel has an impressive background in professional tennis, which I think gives him a unique ability to influence the next generation of tennis pros. His goal is to help aid athletes through innovation, education, management and development. By focusing on not only the technical skills of tennis, Raheel provides his clients the ability to succeed off the court too.