5 Business lessons you can learn from Shark Tank

Did you know Shark Tank started airing in 2009? Shark Tank has grown in popularity over the last 5 years and with it, we have gained some very valuable business lessons. Here are 5 lessons every business owner, entrepreneur, franchisor and franchisee can learn from the show.

Do your research

Before pitching a product, meeting with investors or potential business partners, do some basic research. You should find out as much as you can about potential business partners. If you are talking to investors: Who has he/she invested in before? Have they been successful? How well do they know your indsutry? If you are partnering with a business for the holiday season: What are some of the causes this business is currently interested in? What is their history of partnerships? Were they successful?

Often times on the show Mark Cuban will come out with his “final deal” and for those of you who watch the show you know what that means. Hint: it does not mean try and negotiate further. Learn all you can about the people before you set that lunch meeting. If you are entering the franchise market, research the history of the product or service you plan to sell. Are there certain atmospheres, shopping centers, business locations that succeed?

Create different presentations

After watching Shark Tank for so many seasons, you begin to realize each shark focuses on different aspects of the presentation. Some sharks may want your financial history, others just want your entire business summed up in 10 words or less. We suggest having 4 presentations ready.

This should come as no shock but we have to mention it all the same. Be ready to share your business ideas with everyone. You should have one business plan of no more than 50 pages. This is for your records, financial advisers and those serious investors. The second plan should be a condensed PowerPoint presentation with no more than 20 slides.  This is great to show at luncheons, seminars, startup conventions, etc. Your third presentation should be a 5 minute elevator pitch, perfect for the golf course or your next opportunity on Shark Tank! Lastly, be able to explain your business in 10 words or less. Simplicity to business partners means simplicity to clients. If you understand your business well enough, you should be able to pair it down to a one sentence statement that anyone could understand.

Networks matter

The Shark Tank investors bring huge value in their networks. Daymond John got the sticker guys distribution in Best Buy as well as retail distribution for Nubrella. Lori Greiner is the queen of QVC and is able to help businesses she invests in get on the network. When you’re looking for investors understand their circles and more importantly if they’re willing to leverage them for you. Ask about this before you sing a deal. Sometimes a deal with less lucrative financial terms is better if it brings the right network to the table.

Develop people skills

business lessons

If this is second nature to you, check this off your list and scroll down. This is so much more than being friendly and personable, but while we are on the subject: Investors buy into people as much as ideas. The Sharks get most excited about a passionate, likable entrepreneur. The same could be said in business. Now, if that’s not you, and you need good PR, consider finding someone to start making those connections.

Also you need to learn to listen! The Shark Tank investors offer great advice when they turn people down. If you’re told “no” don’t be so displeased that you can’t listen to the rationale. And, if they don’t tell you why, ask so you can leverage that advice moving forward. This is a chance for insight from experts.

The best business lesson … don’t be stupid

Don’t tell potential investors they’re wrong. When you tell Sharks they’re wrong – especially in front of other people (like the national TV audience of Shark Tank) they will naturally stop listening to you. Haven’t we learned this by now? No one wants be told they’re wrong in front of other people. Don’t respond to people you’re pitching with disdain or sarcasm, even if they say something nasty. Look for other ways to question their position but think before you speak. How you defend your own position makes a difference. How you act in a pitch will shape what potential partners think it would be like to work with you. In fact, maybe they’re pushing you just to see how you’ll react under pressure.



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