3 Business Lessons You Learn From Swimming With Sharks

Friday night's Shark Tank was a bloody one — only one pair of entrepreneurs walked away with cash in their pockets and a deal on the table. The rest of them, however, were not so fortuitous — their businesses, valuations, and even their personalities were chopped, sliced, diced, and tossed overboard as chum for the open waters. Their losses are our gains, though, because we can learn a lot of business lessons from their missteps. And why not take a bit of a shortcut on your own path to success? Take a juicy bite out of three important lessons from Friday night's episode below.

Shark Tank Recap

  1. Re-Imagine Your Marketing Strategy — While Jim Tselikins and Sabin Lomac of Cousin's Maine Lobster were the only team to get a deal, the one big complaint coming from investor Barbara Corcoran was the lack of smart marketing. Don't just plan your marketing strategy, set it, and forget it. Always be on the lookout for improvements. Whether it's a new angle on a product, seasonal refreshes, or a new social marketing initiative, keep your business from getting stale by updating your marketing materials, strategy, and ideas often.
  2. Be Yourself But Be Professional — Freaker USA? More like freak show. Bottle koozie crafter Zach Crane really lived up to his name — if the fedora, the beard, the cow skull bolo tie, and the shorts weren't enough, he went beyond kookie and made a bad impression by seeming halfway looped and 100 percent unprofessional. Question — would you give $250,000 to someone who rolls on the floor, makes beep-beep-bloop noises, and comes unprepared with hard numbers to back up his valuation? Probably not. There's something to be said about being yourself, but the next time you head into a client meeting, do the exact opposite of this clown and show your personality alongside some professionalism. Be prepared. Answer questions clearly. And please, be well groomed.
  3. Be Clear About Your Product and What It Is — Both Pro-NRG and Eco Nuts had products targeted at specific markets, but neither one got their message across; The Sharks kept asking "What is it?" and "What makes you different?" Guarantee that no one asks those questions of your product — spend some solid, soul-serching, and honest-with-yourself time looking at your products from an outsiders' perspective. From your target customers' perspective. Present your product to a potential customer and get their reactions. Then adjust, revise, update, and repeat.

Do you watch Shark Tank? What did you think of Friday night's episode?

Image courtesy of ABC