Shark Tank isn’t just good entertainment – there are business lessons you can learn from it too. Even if you aren’t seeking investors, these six lessons are worth studying.
Shark Tank is a reality TV show that airs on ABC once a week. Contestants are entrepreneurs seeking funding for their ideas and to help them grow their businesses to the next great milestone. The sharks are multi-millionaire and multi-billionaire angel investors who have made their marks and achieved their own brand celebrity. They include:
- Vocal Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
- Ex-journalist and software icon Kevin O’Leary, aka “Mr. Wonderful”
- Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran
- “Queen of QVC” Lori Greiner
- Internet entrepreneur Robert Herjavec
- Daymond John, founder, president, and CEO of FUBU
Even if you are not looking for venture capital, you can learn important business principles from the sharks and from watching contestants on Shark Tank. Here are 6 takeaway lessons any business owner can gain from the show.
- First and foremost, you won’t get anywhere in life or business if you don’t know your value. Just watch one episode and you’ll see at least one entrepreneur seeking capital who doesn’t understand how to judge the value of their business. As a result, they either get taken for a ride by the sharks and accept ridiculously control-losing offers just so they can partner with a big shot, or they walk away with nothing.
- The best way to win in business is to be prepared. The entrepreneurs who get a decent deal on Shark Tank are the ones who practice their presentation and polish it until it’s perfect. They tailor their presentation to their audience—the sharks. And they anticipate the questions they’ll be asked while in the hot seat. As a result, they respond intelligently without giving away too much information, and they just might walk away with a deal. Even if they don’t, they can be satisfied that they leave the show in a better position than when they went on.
- Appearing before an audience of millions while getting drilled by experts in their field with nothing to lose will force you to think on your feet. Business owners who can’t plan on the fly while the heat is rising will fall in the boiling water and drown.
- If you don’t like the offer you’ve been presented, make a counteroffer. What have you got to lose? The saddest thing that happens on Shark Tank is a business owner turning down lowball offers without countering. The worse that can happen is you end up with nothing, but you’ll probably do that anyway. Negotiation is a key part of any business. Learn to judge value and make offers/counteroffers that reflect your knowledge.
- The second saddest thing that happens on Shark Tank, and sometimes the funniest, is seeing an entrepreneur fall face first into the floor. Not literally, but just watch them stammer as they fall under the pressure of their idols drilling and grilling them in front of millions of TV viewers. Don’t let them ruffle your feathers or you’ll be tonight’s roast turkey.
- Seeing people under pressure is what makes Shark Tank an exciting, and educational, show to watch. However, as a professional, you’ve got to keep your cool. If you fail on that point, you’ll crumble under the pressure. Under no circumstances should you let the pressure win. If you’re feeling the heat and you think that taking the offer is your best plan, you’re probably wrong. Step back, take a deep breath, and then consider the offer soberly. What’s wrong with it? If you see any red flags at all, turn it down. Business owners who make a rash decision under pressure never come out winners. Don’t do it.
Always Think Like a Shark
In the world of business, it can be eat or be eaten. You may not be a predator, but if you don’t think like one, you’ll become the next predator’s meal. If you think like a shark, you’ll avoid these six mistakes and survive to conduct business another day. Small or large, your business deserves good judgment. No matter what sector you do business in, you’ll survive much longer if you sharpen your teeth (and your wits).