from Inc.com Zine 10/15 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Many entrepreneurs are attracted to “Shark Tank” as an entertainment & learning experience. The tips shared by some of business’s most successful investors can be invaluable to an entrepreneur launching a startup, seeking funding for his small business, or trying to find new ways to grow his company. The words of wisdom seen on this prime-time TV show, can easily translate to the typical everyday business environment. Here are 15 great lessons an entrepreneur can learn from “Shark Tank”.
1. A Great Idea is a “great” start. The ideas that immediately capture attention are those that promise to fill a strong, widespread need. Those products appeal to both investors & customers.
2. But a good Idea isn’t enough. There’s no shortage of great business ideas in this world. To take it to the next step, though, entrepreneurs must demonstrate that they have the specific expertise necessary to make it a success.
3. The Customer is #1. An entrepreneur must gear everything they do to the target market. He must understand their wants & needs + the best way to reach these customers.
4. Results get Results. When an entrepreneur steps in front of one of the Sharks, one of the first questions often relates to past results. Before approaching potential investors, be sure you have good sales data that demonstrates your product has a good future.
5. Know your Market. When an entrepreneur takes time to research the market for his product, then develops a plan to reach it, he shows that he is well prepared to be successful.
6. Investors buy People, not Products. Some of the most notorious failures in “Shark Tank” history, came as a result of the entrepreneur’s personality. An investor will stay away from an entrepreneur for this, even if his idea is one of the best.
7. Investors have Egos. When an entrepreneur stalls too long on an Offer, the Sharks have been known to with-draw their offer. Damage an investor’s ego and you may as well pack up and go home.
8. Know your Valuation, by using professional advisors, before approaching investors.
9. Have a Growth Plan. Investors want to go beyond your business idea, to learn how you plan to “scale” your manufacturing, distribution, & pricing – as your company grows.
10. Hone your Pitch. When you walk into a meeting with investors, your pitch should be perfect. You should deliver it with confidence without faltering.
11. Know your Weaknesses. As you’re pitching, you must be aware that investors could ask some fairly hard-hitting questions. Know your weaknesses and how you plan to overcome them, so you’ll be prepared to answer those questions.
12. Test the Market. Before you approach investors, you should already have tested your product with customers. This will allow you to answer the question, “How many have you sold so far?” & “How do your customers like it”, with confidence.
13. Research your Investor. Before you approach an Investor, spend time thoroughly researching the person and “tailor” your pitch to fit what you learned.
14.Investors aren’t the only Option. As valuable as investment dollars can be, they aren’t the only option. You could raise money through Crowd-Funding, take a Business Loan, or launch the business on your own – and Boot-strap it – as many “Shark Tank” successes have done.
15. Investment $$ is only the Beginning. Even if you do land the investment dollars you’re seeking, you’ll be required to put in a lot of hard work to grow your business.
What can you learn from Shark Tank? Entrepreneurs can learn a lot, from watching the Sharks inter-act with entrepreneurs. Whether they’re approaching investors for funding or you’re trying to build & grow things with their own funds, entrepreneurs can take lessons away that will help them launch & grow a business that succeeds.
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