11.01.18

4 Lessons from Shark Tank

KARL R. LAPAN, PRESIDENT & CEO, THE NIIC

Shows like “Shark Tank” have made the concept and discussion of angel investing more commonplace, but we should not forget that, at the end of the day, Shark Tank is about ratings. While the show premiered in the US nearly a decade ago, there are several worthwhile lessons the show offers business builders such as:

  1. Know your value: You won’t go far without knowing your benefit–and owning it. The sharks can sniff out when the entrepreneur doesn’t have a solid base. As a result, they can see reduced valuations, passing on attractive investments and strong insights of a fatal flaw in the business model requiring a pivot because the business builder doesn’t have a viable Plan B, or they often walk away empty-handed. The best business builders are contingency-minded.
  2. Show up prepared: Winning in business (and life) means putting in the time to do your homework – about customers, the market, your business model, the customer channels and the value proposition. The business builders who leave the show with an attractive deal usually have a substantial and validated pain/problem/opportunity and the tenacity and resilience to make things happen. They also have mastered the art of tailoring their message to the right audience. As a result, they anticipate the questions (and actively listen to them) the sharks might pose and are prepared to respond thoughtfully and intelligently. Even if they aren’t successful on the show, they can walk away knowing they did everything they could to make the best impression and have a better understanding of their business’ financial picture.
  3. Don’t take things personally: Business is business, and that means business builders need to learn how not to internalize criticism. One of the reasons the show had such high ratings (in the earlier seasons) is that it capitalized on the tension between the business builders and the sharks. These tensions are real in how business builders interact with angel investors every day. Put simply, “Shark Tank” has harnessed the power of suspense. As a professional, you have to learn to manage pressure and not let it get to you. You’ve heard the expression, “never let them see you sweat.” The business builders who go home with a deal know how to separate their ego from their idea (they demonstrate humility, grit, and passion in their interactions with others). They are mindful in their communications and look at situations objectively. Business owners who fold under pressure never come out winners.
  4. Think adaptively: Where do you stand in the proverbial food chain? In business, if you aren’t on top, you’ll be eaten by new disruptive thinkers or market smart competitors. In other words, think like a shark. Small or large, your business depends on sound judgment and prudence. No matter the industry, you’ll have a better chance of surviving if you set the terms of engagement, and don’t let anyone take advantage of you.

Who is your favorite “shark” and why?

Speaking of investment, our longstanding partnerships with banks, credit unions, institutional and angel investors make the continuum of capital more transparent and accessible for high-performance companies working with The NIIC.

For high-performance companies thinking about SBA-backed loans, private placement memorandums or dabbling in crowdfunding, The NIIC is your trusted advisor and financial expert.

Interested in learning more? Call one of our concierges for an appointment with a business coach at 260-407-6442.

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