from Money Crashers.com 14 June 14 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
What can you learn? On ABC TV’s “Shark Tank,” five extremely successful millionaires & billionaires – the “sharks” – hear pitches from business owners and occasionally vie with each other to invest. If the business owners play their cards right, they can score much-needed Venture Capital Funding and strategic partners who practically guarantee them future success. If they’re weak, they’re sent packing with little fanfare and plenty of regrets. I probably have about six episodes of “Shark Tank” saved on my DVR at any given time – but it’s not purely for entertainment value. The show teaches us all a great deal about business subjects such as investing, royalties, & licensing. Now, I’m no venture capital expert, but I’ve definitely learned the basics from the Shark Tank and if I’ve learned a lot, think what small business owners can walk away with. If you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, you may not get to make a deal with the likes of Mark Cuban, Barbara, Robert or Kevin, but you can learn a lot from the hits and misses of those who brave the tank.
Small Business Tips from the Sharks
1. Ideas are not Businesses. Just because you have a great idea or product, it doesn’t mean you have a viable business. A thriving company has plans, goals, marketing techniques, an online presence, and, above all, a leader who is dedicated to success. While a number of good products have been showcased on “Shark Tank,” the sharks themselves don’t bite if they don’t believe in the business. To make your idea more than just a hobby, you’ve got to prove to investors that it can go the distance. Develop a solid, well-researched, & well-rounded business plan, and make sure you’re capable of executing it – the moment you get the necessary funding.
2. Go Proprietary or go Bust. On one episode of “Shark Tank,” a product called Elephant Chat was pitched. It’s essentially a stuffed elephant that a spouse can display at home, suggesting there’s an “elephant in the room” that requires discussion. It’s a cute enough idea, but the owners were practically laughed out of the tank when they revealed their price point was set at $60. Why? Because there’s nothing proprietary about a small stuffed elephant. It isn’t patent-able, which means – anyone could theoretically head to the dollar store, buy a cheaper one, & save $59. The sharks prefer patented [proprietary] products because that kind of protection makes it illegal for a competitor to replicate design and functionality. Not only does a proprietary idea help your chances of success in the market, it entices investors who understand the importance of exclusivity. While you can’t always patent a product, you can create a sense of propriety, by taking steps to ensure your small business is the absolute best at what it does. Another option is to offer services unique to your company that can make it stand out. For example, a photography company that specializes in capturing proposals pitched the sharks. While another photographer could always offer the same specialty, Paparazzi Proposals closed the deal with a proprietary service that was the first on the market – they scored $250K from Kevin & Lori.
[ 3. Ask for what you want; Stop when you get it, 4. Prep Beyond the Pitch, 5. Numbers aren’t Everything, 6. Be Open to “creative” Solutions, in Premium Content ]