As mentioned in our earlier post for this series, we know that sometimes the waters are rough for entrepreneurs. To more peacefully navigate them, we’ve compiled some key lessons for business owners from the hit show, Shark Tank:
Have a Strategy. It’s important to have strategic direction for your company—essentially, a vision of where you would like your company to go. We’ve seen the consequences of lacking direction play out in 2 ways detrimental to the entrepreneurs on Shark Tank. First, there are the entrepreneurs who go into the tank, don’t have a clear idea of who they want to work with, and are stymied by indecision when faced with comparable offers from multiple sharks.
Then, there are those business owners who throw their hands up and don’t really know the next step for their company; oftentimes, they have a lot of ideas but are overwhelmed by the thought of taking the company to the next level on their own. Basically, they seem to be looking for a shark to throw them a lifeline. By thinking about your goal—to be the number 1 retailer of widgets, for example—strategy becomes apparent. In the case of widgets, for example, you might ask yourself which steps someone would need to take to become the number 1 retailer of widgets. This type of reverse engineering can be a very successful way of developing your strategy.
Create a Great Pitch. At any moment, you should be able to sell yourself and your company. In fact, shark Mark Cuban says in his book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, that selling is one of the most important skills that an entrepreneur can have. Create an elevator pitch and practice it frequently. The more comfortable you feel giving it, the more impactful it will be.
Learn from Your Failures. Many people don’t receive an offer on Shark Tank. Those entrepreneurs typically handle rejection in one of two ways. There are some who remain determined but vow to address some of the issues that were raised by the sharks, deeming the advice to be invaluable. Those people have a great chance of making it.
The remaining entrepreneurs will categorically dismiss all of the feedback that they received from the sharks by saying things like, “They don’t really understand the market,” or “They weren’t able to see how great my product is.” These are the individuals who stand a greater likelihood of failing. If you receive critical feedback, consider the source and evaluate whether there is something to be gleaned from the advice that you’re getting. This can be an opportunity for tremendous growth.