I’m OUT! For those of you who are not familiar with the best reality TV show to ever exist let me introduce you to Shark Tank. The show features 5 investors, also referred to as the sharks, who have already made a name for themselves and are worth millions. The sharks hear business pitch from entrepreneurs who are hoping to secure an investment. The show has been wildly successful having over 6 seasons aired. I’m a pretty big fan and wanted to share some things that I learned from the show.
1.Everyone has a shot. The vast majority of business owners who walk into the tank are just regular people. They didn’t have some kind of amazing education or incredible advantage that made them successful. This is one of the reasons why I love the show so much. Because the majority of business owners are just regular people. They simply identified a problem, innovated, and found a solution. There are tons of examples of simple innovation on shark tank put my favorite has to be the Scrub Daddy sponge. Created by Aaron Krause, who worked in the automotive industry, the sponge was originally used to detail cars. However one day Krause used the sponge to clean his lawn furniture and was blown away by how well the sponge worked that he used it to wash his dishes. He modified the design to be more face like, adding a “smile” and invested $75,000 for a patent, package design and a first shipment. The Scrub Daddy has sold more than 10 million units and made over $50 million in sales. It’s by far the most successful company that secured a deal on Shark Tank. Anyone can be a successful entrepreneur. When there’s a will there’s a way- you have as much of an opportunity as anyone else.
2.Know your product. How much demand is there for your product? Do you know what the size of your market is? Who is your target market? Is your idea proprietary? Knowing the ins and outs of your business is crucial. You would be surprised at the number of people who go on the show and don’t know their business. Having the numbers and facts on hand are vital to prove your credibility and be a successful business owner. And don’t try to present your company as something it’s not. Be honest and people will have much more respect for you. Even outside of Shark Tank this is applicable. Even if you aren’t a business owner knowing your personal brand, what you want to represent and stand for will add clarity and direction to your endeavors.
3.Be likable. It’s often forgotten that when the sharks invest, they are investing in not just the companies but investing in the people as well. This is a mindset that is critical to marketing, sales, operations, and communication. How you present yourself matters. If you are a bad communicator people are unlikely to exchange in conversations with you. If you have a wonderful idea but you appear stuck up or difficult to work with, you won’t have much luck finding help. In everything, you do be authentic. People want to see and get to know you, not a facade. Work on showcasing your best qualities to win people to your side. It’s not infrequent on Shark Tank that there will be a mediocre business but since the entrepreneurs are so passionate and driven they get a deal anyway.
4.Know your limits. High-stress situations are not good for decision making. That is why it is so important that before going into a negotiation on Shark Tank you have already determined how much equity you are willing to give up of your company and at what price. This will serve to prevent making decisions you will regret because you were in the heat of the moment. Often in my daily life, I will see this rash decision making that leads to regret. The most prevalent example of people not knowing their limits is when they are unable to say no. If you have a lot on your plate and are feeling overwhelmed it’s probably not a good idea to volunteer to plan your neighborhood picnic. Knowing your limits relationally, financially and physically are all important.
5.Be open to learning. You will have success and failures. What matters is that you are able to learn from each experience. Shark Tank is a great example to learn this from. Often the sharks give advice that is applicable to not just entrepreneurs but the average person. On the way forward, learn from what went wrong and what you can change to improve. Be open to listening to those around you and don’t give up.
I hope you were able to gain some insight from this summary and will check out the show if you haven’t already.