Swimming in the Shark Tank: Lessons Learned From ABC’s Reality Show

by on June 3, 2013

in Entertainment

shark tank reality TV series on ABC

There is a wealth of entrepreneurial advice to be gleaned by watching “Shark Tank” on ABC. The reality show pits fledgling entrepreneurs in a position to pitch their business and products to five angel investors, or sharks, to sell them a share of the company. Witnessing the entrepreneurs go up against the smarmy billionaire tycoons not only makes for great entertainment, but it’s also informative to burgeoning business leaders.

Even if you own one of the best business credit cards with truly awe-inspiring rewards points, you’ll still need funding. What better way to do that than by persuading a billionaire to contribute a fortune to your company? Even without landing a spot on “Shark Tank,” merely watching the show and its share of successes and failures can educate the eager CEOs of tomorrow.

Advice

In a slowly growing economy, in the middle of a dog-eat-dog world, listening to advice from auspicious businessmen and women is truly indispensable. They didn’t get to their positions of wealth and power from luck alone. An accomplished CEO’s suggestions are valuable and should be incorporated into your business strategy. Closely watch the pitches—pick them apart, see what works and what fails. Implement the advice into your own company by modifying your strategy, altering the product or even scrapping the business and starting from scratch. Find what relates to your business and your pitch and see how you can personalize it.

Free Advertising

Appearing on “Shark Tank” is incredibly advantageous to your company and product. Some will walk away without any backing after getting the boot from the judges, yet they realize the value of being broadcast to a national audience big-time brand exposure. Companies spend millions on televised advertising for what they’ve gained for free. Publicity can attract a large audience to your website and boost sales figures to an impressive degree. Outside of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms, national broadcast exposure sells products. On a local level, look for opportunities to give your brand exposure to big audiences. Sponsor sporting events and fundraisers, for example. Get your product into the hands of “influencers”—people who have high visibility and set trends.

Risks

If you want to take the bull by the horns, especially as an entrepreneur, taking risks are a vital part of the process, according to BusinessInsider.com. What are you willing to put on the line and sacrifice for the success of your company? Chances are, something of great value will have to be forfeited for the sake of your company’s growth. Retirement money or your entire savings account might undergo liquidation in order to fund your fledgling company. Without a discernible gamble, it will be a challenge to ride your company to the top.

Greater Than Money

Negotiating the price for selling a percentage of your company could move in your favor, but more importantly, take advantage of the shark’s connections. Can he or she introduce you to a powerhouse company for beneficial transactions? Can the shark promote your product or connect you to distributors to license the product to? Use this new contact to expand your professional network and expand your company’s visibility. Word-of-mouth is, hands down, the most powerful way to grow a business, and it starts with who you know.

Editorial guest piece by James Davis, who runs a small CPA firm for small and medium-size businesses, and in his spare time writes about money, investments and tax laws.

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