Larry Gaynor has spent nearly four decades building an accomplished career as an entrepreneur and business coach. He founded TNG Worldwide in 1985 and has served as its CEO and president ever since. Larry Gaynor established the business as a beauty products distributor but has since helped it grow into a large manufacturer with product lines of its own. Under his leadership, TNG now manufactures and sells more than 2,000 beauty and wellness products such as shampoos and conditioners, manicure and pedicure products, soaps, moisturizers, and hair appliances and accessories. The company also pivoted during the pandemic to begin producing and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE). Mr. Gaynor has overseen the launch of several brands through TNG, including Amazon bestsellers Ginger Lily Farms and ForPro Professional Collection.
Mr. Gaynor’s leadership has seen the company open factories in over 10 countries and foster partnerships with major beauty brands like L’Oréal and Ulta. His dedication to the business has allowed it to win several accolades. Between 2013 and 2017, the Detroit Free Press named TNG as a Top Workplace. The company has also become a Top 200 Beauty Reseller on Amazon. Mr. Gaynor has earned his own recognition for his work at TNG, receiving the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1992.
Over the years, Mr. Gaynor has sought to share his expertise with other business leaders as a business coach. He also regularly shares what he knows about business and life with the public via his online blog at LarryGaynor.com. In addition, Mr. Gaynor has written Take a Chance! a forthcoming publication in which he leverages his own career experience to offer business advice.
Outside of his professional pursuits, Mr. Gaynor is a dedicated philanthropist. An alumnus of Michigan State University, he and his wife, Teresa, partnered with the school during the construction of the Entrepreneurial Lab in the Edward J. Minskoff Pavilion at the Eli Broad College of Business. He is also a supporter of the American Cancer Society, having secured TNG as a founding sponsor of the organization’s Making Strides Against Cancer event in Detroit.
What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?
I work out first thing for 90 minutes. Head to the office. Check Amazon sales and trends, review purchasing reports, connect with leaders on LinkedIn and visit with employees. I study Duolingo for 30 minutes and play on chess.com for an hour and do a 30-minute exercise when I get home.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I search for products on Amazon that fit into our wheelhouse; personal care, beauty and household cleaners. Then I develop the products and launch them.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The continued growth of Airbnb’s. People are travelling more than ever and value experiences over “things.” As the largest manufacture of gallon-sized personal care products with our Ginger Lily Farms brand, this presents huge opportunities for growth and customer delight.
What is one habit that helps you be productive?
My #2 CliftonStrengths is Focus. I know each and every day what I need to accomplish and I make sure that each and every day everything is accomplished sooner than later.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be more empathetic towards other.
Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you on?
I’m a black and white type of guy. If someone doesn’t agree with me, I will bet them $1.00. Why $1.00? Because people will pay off the bet. If the bet is bigger, they won’t. I have a thick envelope of $1.00 bills!
What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
I am lucky to say that I am never overwhelmed or unfocused. I think doing yoga three times a week and daily meditation is partly why this is. Also being married to a great partner helps too!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?
I wrote a book about this question and others like it and it’s being published by Forbes next spring. One strategy that I have always focused on is creating products that customers don’t even know they need but when they see them, they want them.
What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?
I’ve had many failures but it’s not how many times you fall down that is important, it’s how many times you get back up. I overcame each failure by learning my lesson and then moving forward with the next new idea. I have a saying: I either win or I learn; I never lose.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Our company motto is “100% customer success.” This means that we want our customers not only satisfied with our products but that they actually help them succeed. If for any reason a customer is not happy with a product, we instantly refund or exchange with no questions asked.
What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I have to say that SAP is the best ERP system for a growing business. Expensive but worth it.
Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?
I’ve read 1000’s of books and as a Gallup-trained organization, I recommend StrengthsFinder 2.0. It is fabulous to learn your top 5 Strengths and to focus on what you do best.
What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?
HBO’s Succession because we are a family business and it’s fascinating to watch the “behind the action scenes” in a very lucrative family business. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about be tossed out!
- One trait about being an entrepreneur is that one never stops learning. Unfortunately, most learning comes at great expense but it is from those life lessons that makes an entrepreneur even more successful.
- Another trait about being an entrepreneur is that one is always taking risks and must make crucial decisions. Mostly, these decisions are not in everyone’s best interest. You learn you must do what is best for the business, not your friends or associates.
- I cannot say enough about the importance of reading business books. Amazing business books offer a plentitude of advice, ideas and thoughts that help to make your business more successful. The main reason why I wrote a book is to help fellow entrepreneurs with their businesses and to help them avoid the life lessons that I learned.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.