Business Lessons from the Shark Tank

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If you’ve never seen it, Shark Tank is where a bunch of entrepreneurs get to pitch their business or product ideas to billionaire and millionaire investors. It’s based off a UK series called Dragon’s Den, which is an entertaining show (and works quite well as a business guidebook), but the flashy American version is easier for American audiences to consume.

To commemorate the release of the new book based on the show, Shark Tank: Jump Start Your Business, I want to break down a few business tips you should be learning from the show. But first, here’s a break down of the investors dolling out the advice…

Shark Tank Investors:

 

Barbara Corcoran Shark Tank
Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran 

 

Barbara Corcoran – Barbara Corcoran made her fortune through a real estate company. She’s easily the most personable shark in the tank, normally providing compassionate advice to upcoming entrepreneurs. Barbara leans toward food and art businesses with her Shark Tank investments, and makes her business partners feel like they’re part of the family.

Daymond John Shark Tank
Shark Tank’s Daymond John

 

Daymond John – Daymond John made his fortune by popularizing the FUBU clothing brand. His branding and marketing genius landed him at the top of an empire. Daymond is the shark who always ends up having to give entrepreneurs the bad news about their marketing and distribution strategies. He’s a hard-nosed negotiator who’s not afraid to walk away from a deal on principle.

Mark Cuban Shark Tank
Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban

 

Mark Cuban – Unless you live under a rock, there’s a good chance you know who Mark Cuban is. After making his money in the tech sector, he bought the Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, and Magnolia Pictures. He’s also the chairman of AXS TV, a network dedicated to live music, sports, and a possible deal to air HuffPost Live. Mark has very little patience for lazy or uneducated entrepreneurs (which he likes to call “wantrepreneurs”).

Robert Herjavek Shark Tank
Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec

 

Robert Herjavec – After escaping the Communist bloc as a child, Robert Herjavec made his fortune in the Canadian tech sector. Not only is he a Shark Tank star, but he’s one of two sharks who also appear on Canada’s Dragon’s Den (along with Kevin O’Leary). Robert is one of the nicer sharks and will often try to comfort rejected entrepreneurs. Despite his soft heart, Robert Herjavec still has a killer instinct and will hold firm when necessary.

Kevin O'Leary Shark Tank
Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary

 

Kevin O’Leary – Affectionately known as Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary is the definition of a shark. Although he earned his fortune by selling The Learning Company to Mattel back in 1999, O’Leary isn’t exactly kid-friendly – he’s motivated by money, and money alone. Kevin is infamous for his royalty deals. He may not be the most lovable shark, but there’s no denying the man knows money. Despite his greed, Kevin O’Leary can always be counted on to dole out valuable gems of advice.

Lori Greiner Shark Tank
Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner

 

Lori Greiner – The Queen of QVC, Lori Greiner is always on the lookout for new products to showcase on the shopping network. Lori holds 111 US and international patents, making her one of the most successful QVC hosts in the network’s history. In the beginning, Lori and Barbara never appeared in the Shark Tank together, but this season they finally began showing everyone that more than one woman can exist on a team.

Shark Tank Business 101

 

Shark Tank Sharks
The Cast of Shark Tank…

 

Although every episode is edited to show different sections of the pitch meetings, Shark Tank has some general business tips that come up repeatedly. Before you start a business, heed the advice of the sharks:
Know your numbers – You need to know how many sales you’re making, who your customer is, and where you’re spending your money.
Know your competition – Knowledge of your own business is necessary, but you also need to know every other business in your market segment.
Manage your expectations – It’s ok to shoot for the moon, but you have to set realistic expectations.
It takes cash to expand – Don’t let investors drain the money out of your business early. The first few years are important, and you’ll need all the capital you can get.
Brian Penny Versability Whistleblower MIT Mala BeadsBrian Penny is a former business analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, consultant, troll doctor, and writer. He’s featured on The Huffington Post, MainstreetLifehackMoney Side of Life, Gaiam, HardcoreDroid, and more.

Versability

Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer.

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