Shark Tank Lesson: Don’t Be A Know-It-All

By Tom Grandy, Founder

Most reading this article are familiar with the TV show called “Shark Tank”.  It features five self-made multi-millionaires (some billionaires) that listen to individuals pitch their products in quest of receiving funding for their business for a portion of ownership.  If a Shark makes an offer and the entrepreneur accepts it, the individual also receives personal guidance from the same Shark.  However, between the individual’s presentation and the possible acceptance of funds, the process can be brutal.  Questions are coming in rapid fire procession from all of the Sharks.  They question everything from how/why they developed the product, to challenging them on their business plans and how they would utilize the requested funds.  If you are a business owner the show can be both entertaining and informative.

A specific segment of the show I want to focus on involved two Harvard graduates who believed they had created the world’s best underwear.  Their presentation was excellent.  Their product was well accepted with amazing sales.  When they described their marketing program, it was both unique and effective.  What did the bottom-line net profit look like?  Again, outstanding.  They earned an A+ for presentation, products, marketing and profits.  It was seemingly the perfect company for one of the Sharks to invest in.

Now it was time for the young entrepreneurs to be questioned by the Sharks.  It was ugly.  Every time one of the Sharks asked a question our two “prideful” Harvard graduates snapped back with responses of how great “they were”.  The “we are the best” attitude came through loud and clear, no matter the question.

After the frustrated Sharks listened for a while, each one verbally told the two entrepreneurs that they were not willing to invest in their company, each for a variety of surface reasons.  Finally, the two Harvard graduates left the stage without an offer.  The Sharks then explained, in private, their REAL reason for not investing.  The unanimous bottom line was clear.  The two young entrepreneurs were arrogant and unwilling to listen to anyone’s advice, even when it was coming from men and women who had “been there and done that”.  All Sharks are multi-millionaires.  They explained how they had been open to suggestions throughout their careers which was partially why they were so successful. 

What’s the point?  The point is that few contractors within the Trades industry know it all, especially from the “business” side of the business.  Let’s face it, most company owners used to be a technician, not a business person.  There is no shame in that statement, it is simply who we are as an industry.  However, armed with that knowledge, I want to strongly encourage you to join a mixed group.  A mixed group is composed of 5-10 contractors that do similar types of work, but are in non-completing geographic territories.  Like being on Shark Tank, the process can sometimes be a bit brutal, but if you have thick skin it is well worth the temporary pain.  If you are interested in finding out more about the details of how mixed groups are formed, structured, the KPI’s that are reviewed and the potential investment, I have a suggestion.  Check the November Profit University Audio Series program entitled Benefits of a Peer Group”.  You can purchase this month’s featured program for $9.95

Each of my three daughters played tennis in high school.  I always encouraged them to practice and play against more skilled players.  They normally got beat but an amazing thing was happening in the midst of the stiffer competition.  My daughters were not only getting better at tennis each week, they also learned to be a bit more humble. Joining a mixed group will accomplish the same objectives.

Grandy & Associates has two great Website Specials this month.  The first is our Why Do We Need To Charge So Much? streaming version.  This is a wonderful way to help all employees (including techs) understand why the company needs to charge what it charges.  It normally costs $114.95 but this month it’s only $99.95Order today!

The other featured product is the streaming version of our popular two-day Planning For Profit program.  If you are interested in learning the business side of the business, this program is for you.  The live, in person, course is $2,650.  The streaming version is normally $1,496.  This month, however, the streaming version is only $1,295.  This offer will not come around often.  Order today!

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