The popular TV show, “Shark Tank” offers valuable lessons about entrepreneurship’s fundamentals to entrepreneurs and viewers. Sharks provide feedback to show participants what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, how to create a sustainable business, and how to hone the message to communicate a value proposition while ensuring sound business finances.
One thing that Sharks have in common is overcoming adversities through having a broad vision, grit, and perseverance to stay the course to realize their dreams. It’s not about the bite; it’s about the fight of turning thoughts and ideas into real results.
Dive deep as we swim with the Sharks, consume their teachings, and face what it takes to thrive as an entrepreneur.
Here is what I know: Sharks’ journeys were wrought with challenges, overcoming adversities, and stepping into success. Let’s learn from six mighty Sharks on how to create a resilient and entrepreneurial mindset to build a successful business.
1) Is now the time to act?
Daymond John is the fashion expert and best known for being the CEO of FUBU, a 1990s popular fashion line. Daymond started his business in his mother’s basement and did not wait until the time was right. He went for his passion and created opportunities. His advice, “Don’t wait for the perfect time, you will wait forever. Always take advantage of the time that you’re given and make it perfect,” captures his endeavors.
Interpretation: Don’t let the need for perfection get in the way of progress.
2) Do failures enhance life experiences?
Kevin O Leary, the true capitalist, is an entrepreneur who views adversity as an opportunity and carves a confident path through the financial rubble. The quote, “When you’ve stared down that black pit of financial failure and have found the strength to leap over it to the security of the other side, it gives depth to your experience,” comes from his story of losing a couple of million dollars in a failed partnership with a massive corporation because progress got stalled in bureaucracy. In this case, the idea was a good one, but the collaboration with a large corporation did not yield results. The experience resulted in Kevin’s preference for partnering with small businesses instead of large corporations.
Interpretation: Face your fear and push yourself beyond the edge of darkness, knowing that failures become the stepping stone to success.
3) Are you all in?
Although Barbara Corcoran, a highly successful entrepreneur, experienced failures in high school and college, she did not let the failures discourage or define her. She says, “When you’re building a business, you’re either all in, or you’re not.”
Interpretation: When you believe in yourself and work on the purpose that you are passionate about, no matter what challenges come your way, you will succeed.
4) Is it a brilliant idea?
Lori Greiner, a master inventor and investor in the “Shark Tank” family, shares that “A brilliant idea doesn’t guarantee a successful invention. The real magic comes from a brilliant idea combined with willpower, tenacity, and a willingness to make mistakes.” The idea by itself will not go anywhere unless you are open to learning from your mistakes.
Sometimes a brilliant idea may face rejection from investors. After the refusal, it is essential to evaluate what went wrong thoroughly. Either you did not effectively communicate the idea’s value proposition, or there is something wrong with the business fundamentals. After finding out what’s wrong, fix it, adjust, and adapt and go for the next step.
Interpretation: Pepper your creative genius with intellectual humility to be able to learn from mistakes. Add a touch of grit and discipline to achieve your vision.
5) Take action or not?
Robert Herjavec, a risk-taker and dream maker, takes action and makes big things happen. His desire to make things better for his family led him to accomplish success in the cybersecurity and entrepreneurial fields. He started his journey by working at menial jobs, such as delivering newspapers and waiting tables. His philosophy, “The best way to get past doubt and inexperience is simply action,” makes sense because, without action, there is neither failure nor success.
Interpretation: It is critical to understand that you decide whether you take action or don’t take action. The choice is yours.
6) Are you willing to outlearn everyone?
Mark Cuban, a serial entrepreneur, scrambled at a carpentry job, failed to pay his electric bills, didn’t make a success of his milk-product venture, and got fired from his software job. His principle is, “It’s not about money or connections. It’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.” This philosophy worked well for him, as he learned from every challenge he faced. Moving through hurdles, he became the successful owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and an active investor.
Interpretation: Continuous learning and improvement are the keys to success and staying at the top of your game.