The words of wisdom seen on the prime-time TV show can easily translate to the everyday business environment. Here are 15 great lessons an entrepreneur can learn from Shark Tank.
A Great Idea Is Everything
The ideas that immediately capture attention are those that promise to fill a widespread need. Those products appeal to both investors and customers.
An 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.
The Customer Is Top Priority
An entrepreneur must gear everything he does to his target audience. He must understand their spending habits and know the best way to reach those customers.
Results Get Results
When an entrepreneur steps in front of the sharks, one of the first questions often relates to past results. Before approaching potential investors, be sure you have hard sales data that demonstrates your product has a future.
Know Your Market
When an entrepreneur takes time to research the consumer market for his product, he shows that he is well prepared to tackle it.
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 shy away from an entrepreneur for personality reasons, even if his idea is the best to come across his desk in years.
Investors Have Egos
When an entrepreneur stalls too long on an offer, sharks have been known to retract their offers. Damage an investor's ego and you may as well pack up and go home.
Know Your Valuation
Entrepreneurs should be able to answer the question, "How much is your company worth?" before approaching investors.
Have a Growth Plan
Investors want to go beyond your business idea to learn how you plan to scale your manufacturing, distribution, and pricing as your company grows.
Hone Your Pitch
When you walk into a meeting with investors, your pitch should be perfect. You should deliver it with confidence and without faltering.
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.
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?" with confidence.
Know Your Audience
Before you approach an investor, spend time thoroughly researching the person and tailor your pitch to fit what you learn.
Investors Aren't the Only Option
As valuable as investment dollars can be, they aren't the only option. You could raise money through crowdfunding, take a business loan, or launch the business on your own, as many Shark Tank failures have done.
Investment Dollars Are Only the Beginning
Even if you do land the investment dollars you're seeking, you'll be required to put in years of hard work to point your business in the right direction.
Entrepreneurs can learn a great deal from watching the sharks interact with entrepreneurs. Whether they're approaching investors for funding or they're trying to build and grow things with their own funds, entrepreneurs can take lessons away that will help them launch a business that lasts.