What you can learn about success inventing and launching products from the people who “swim” with the Sharks.
Since 2009, the television phenomenon that is Shark Tank has had innovators and dreamers clamoring for a chance to “be seen”, to share their brilliant ideas, and to leave the studio with a brighter future than which they arrived. The show is gritty, sometimes unfortunate, and always entertaining. The popularity is no surprise to me, given the rise in entrepreneurship and people starting their own part-time or full-time businesses over the past decade. And there is definitely a Shark Tank effect, where being associated with the show or one of the Sharks, provides businesses with massive sales boosts and opportunities of a lifetime.
Everyone Doesn’t Win
Sometimes when watching the show, I cringe, when I know a good business has been passed up. But I also secretly love the gritty aspect of the show. In a world where everyone expects to win, it’s a breath of fresh air to see business acumen and honesty pouring over one another. Speaking of winning and “losing”, I wanted to profile a few businesses who went on the show or worked directly with Sharks. Buckle up for the juicy details, real numbers, and challenges entrepreneurs have faced as a result of Business + Sharks.
Case Study #1: Third Wave Water on Shark Tank
Coffee shop owners Taylor Minor and Charles Nick of Third Wave Water wished they could make a concentrated version of the water Minor perfected, after extensive research and experimentation. His coffee customers weren’t having the same experience he was, and Nick knew water was the only changing variable. That’s when the idea of “dehydrated water” was born. Shark Tank sought these guys out, offering them the opportunity to be on the show, something they quickly jumped at.
They were asking for $100,000 for 10%, giving Third Wave Water a million-dollar valuation. They had a successful Kickstarter, $80,000 in sales, and were seeing 20-30% growth each month. For Shark Tank, they were a good deal. Once they made it on the show, they struck a deal with Barbara Corcoran, an entrepreneurs dream come true. Unfortunately, the deal fell through after the show because the limitations of the contract would hinder their business rather than help it with such a small deal. But they did not walk away empty handed. After the show aired, in the weeks to follow, they saw a sales boost that was five times their total sales-to-date. And each time their episode re-airs, they experience a similar boost.
Case Study #2: Marketing Partners with Kevin Harrington
Seth Greene of Market Domination found himself in a position to team up with original Shark Kevin Harrington. Teaming up with a Shark validates names and businesses, or in this case podcasts. Greene said, “My business has gone up 227% since working with Kevin. Social media following has increased 1,100%.” Those numbers definitely fall under the category of a Shark Effect of the best kind.
Case Study #3: One on One Mentorship with Daymond John
Raj Jana, a past Inc. feature, had the opportunity, by way of winning a competition, to experience a one-on-one mentorship with Daymond John. And while Jana didn’t experience the incredible sales boost that is synonymous with being on the show, his starstruck experience left him an even bigger fan. “Daymond John’s guidance was invaluable and the credibility of being associated with him has opened partner doors and made the work I’ve been doing faster and more effective. It has been helping me have an amplified impact.”
Is Shark Tank an absolute dream come true?
While I admittedly watch the show, and see the results of value each Shark brings to an entrepreneurs life when they make contact, viewers beware. For every single one of these business owners who found themselves reaping the benefits of swimming with Sharks, they have put in uncountable hours and immeasurable effort prior to the opportunity. It’s one thing to get a marketing, or sales, or connection boost… but it is still up to you to make something of it. The hard work puts you where the dreams + luck, and maybe a Shark or too, can find you.